Friday, September 7, 2012

El Trabajador, On the Road to Pinar del Rio, Cuba, July of 2008



In my last few days on the island I decided to head out on my own to Pinar Del Rio. It seemed easy enough, nicely paved roads and neatly placed signs. Heading west from the hotel and without a map, the feeling was a mix of anxiety and excitement.

After getting out of the city, everything cleared up... the skies, the roads and the air. Every now and then I would stop and speak to a few men, ask their permission to make images. Without exception everyone agreed regardless of my limited Spanish at the time. On this occasion a group of workers were cutting the grass manually.

For a monthly salary equal to an average pair of pants, they are responsible for the grass on this stretch of highway. In addition to the work accomplished on their farms, they would come out in groups on certain times of the month and cut the grass. This of course is done under the grueling sun and during the hot months of the Caribbean, when the grass grows most quickly.

We went on to collaborate for perhaps thirty minutes, after which time I bid farewell to them and continued west. For me the rest of that day was easy, driving around in a car with the wind blowing, keeping me cool. I drove for a few more hours and then turned around to head back to the city.

All the time I couldn't help thinking that these men continued their work until the sun went down, then returned to their farms to do more of the same. I have a deep respect for these men and others like them, men toiling under the sun without rest and only with the hope of providing for their families.

For more of my work, please visit the newly designed website below, courtesy of Patrick Luu.

Halim Ina Photography