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enterprise in habana vieja

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posted by alias ana_lee_smith on Wednesday 11th of March 2009 04:12:36 PM

New reforms allow some self employment in Cuba now, much of it related to tourism. Adeline is 67 years old. She has 8 living adult children. One daughter died age 16, in a car accident (the father being the driver) and a son, at age 9, of gastrointeritis. She told me she worked as a maid, in the hotel I stayed in, for 10 years after her children were grown. Now she has successfully applied for a license to "busk" the tourist industry & has 3 state-assigned street locations in Habana Vieja. Though her dress is extremely eccentric, its purpose, and all the paraphenalia she has with her, including the cigars, is to encourage the tourists to want to pose with her for a photo...for which she hopes for the generosity of a small payment. She works her "spots" from 10am to 10 pm, most often 7 days a week. On a good day she can perhaps make the equivalent of $10. Some days she makes nothing but must pay the almost $5 daily licensing fee regardless. And pay taxes on her earnings. She'd probably do better if she were more gregerious but, belieing her physical appearance, she's actually a quiet gentle soul, even shy. She will also read your tarot cards but as she can only read in spanish, non-spanish speaking tourists have no interest in this aspect of her business. Adeline became a friend. Some evenings I'd seek her out and just sit with her awhile. I came to appreciate both how easy I've had it in life and the resilience of the female spirit . Hasta la vista, Adeline! Be well. View Large On Black Many thanks to dear flickrfriend Ronaldo for his most generous testimonial. Ronaldo's wonderful photostream can be seen here

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