Gretchen’s 7th Birthday, Havana, Cuba

December 24, 2014

Last January, after attending an Afro-Cuban dance rehearsal amidst the ruins of two dilapidated buildings in Havana, my friends from the Santa Fe workshop and I wandered down the narrow pot-holed street. A few blocks away I caught sight of a girl waving to us from her 2nd floor balcony. I waved back and asked how old she was.  She said 7, that today was her birthday. Her mother came down the stairs and invited us up. Their apartment consisted of one cramped room with a tiny stove and refrigerator at the entrance. The birthday girl,  Gretchen, was having cookies and milk for her birthday and there was a little pink plastic birthday bouquet in top of the ancient TV set. We spent an hour talking to Gretchen and her family and decided to return the next day with Barbie doll presents for her birthday. Not so easy to shop for dolls in Havana! We found a dilapidated toy store on one of the main tourist streets that looked like it had been forgotten in time since the 1950’s. So little inventory in the glass display cases, and what was there seemed to all be imported from Taiwan. We bought two dolls and carried them back to Gretchen’s room.

See more images from Cuba at my photography site

Gretchen's 7th Birthday

Gretchen’s 7th Birthday


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