Several months ago or maybe a year ago I contemplated writing a story about the famous and popular Malecon of Cuba. Because in my opinion it is the life blood of Havana or maybe,more appropriately, it Havana's lifeline. Maybe I should explain more. A substantial part of the Malecon exists close to poor neighbourhoods and you can find the poor on the "streets" for many obvious reasons-they have to look:- "for food, for work,for money and for pleasure and relaxation". You may say you should be able to obtain some or most of these at home.
No,you are not "thinking" poor people. Home,for the poor, is just a place where they sleep,if they are not sick or bedridden. Homes in very poor neighboorhoods are depressing-we don't spend time there (I say "we" because I grew up in a poor neighbourhood in the main city area of my country and it was no accident that I spent most of my time at school-even on non school days). And ,again you may also say I am talking of the past like if it is the present. But this is not a question of reliving it or glorifying it, but understanding it,resolving,refining and reinterpreting ideas and issues to gain insights to assist your own existence here on this earth and to help others going through the process ,now . Many of us who have gone through poverty and have "made it" disgrace their past by either wiping it completly out of their minds-never wanting to have anything to do with their old neighbourhoods or become "benefactors" from their "ivory towers" never really interacting with the people or returning to the place. I am in neither category hence I can understand why the Malecon has this importance to Cubans.
So instead of the planned grandiose project I decided to give you snippets of some of the images that I captured over the years on the Malecon. The ones to be shown will be in the gallery "Documentary" under the group "Street".
I am beginning with this one because of of its varying informational and instructive dimensions. Mind you, if I had looked at what I had captured on the camera screen I might have deleted it. And even when first viewing them after the initial download the idea of deleting was up most in my mind. But I am happy,now,that I did not go with my initial decision.
I saw this chap coming to the Seawall from a distance. Yes ,I was already there "liming" as we Trinidadians would say it or "hanging out" as the North Americans would. I was out there to capture "street stuff" and also waiting for a sunset from the Malecon.
From the time I saw him I felt that he had a problem and that he came to the Malecon for "free therapy"-or if you like "solace" or "to communicate with his Master". Or maybe to "cast his burdens to the Gods".
I have attempted to the best of my ability to conceal his identity by reducing the clarity of the image-making it close to silhouette-yet creating it in a way to reveal a bit of why it was significant. There were several varying contortions of the face. Suffice it to say that this one which is shown here was the one easiest on the eyes, and to show to a lay audience.
I am concluding by again saying that the Malecon is the number 1 social spot because 1) it is open 24-7 ,2) it is open to almost all activities that have psycho-social import, 3) it offers mental ,physical and spiritual therapy ,4) and all this is of no cost, free,"gratis".
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