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Excursions in La Picadora

Although we spent most of our time in Havana, we did travel to a small agricultural community about 6 hours away. We stayed with our host Tete and his family on their farm. When you think of agritourism in the United States, this is exactly what this was like. Tete built several houses for students and families to come live in so they can get the full experience of what it’s like to live the way that Cubans who live outside of the city live. We had no air conditioning and we even had to sleep with mosquito nets. Tete was a part of a Coop farm. All of the farmers that are a member of the Coop produce their own crops and then get paid according to what their crops bring in, but they share tools and machines. As a part of this coop, they also have a Lime Mill where they take limestone from the mountains and make it into lime for their crops. They had a brick-making machine to build their houses with if they could not obtain wood or if they wanted their house to be stronger than wood for weather purposes. Tete has also created a library on his property where students and professors from the university come and study and do research. While visiting with Tete we cut sweet potato vines to be planted, sorted rice and beans, toured a coffee and fruit farm, hiked an old road that is mostly used to transport cattle from the north to the south of the country, drank fresh coconut milk, and watched a man harvest the fruit from a royal palm tree. While we were in La Picadora, the power went out. This was because the island was so hot and everyone was using the electricity that it caused a blackout across the country. This is very common for them there. Our time spent with Tete and his was family was very informative. They got a local band to come and play a show for us the last night we were there and invited some of the community members to come celebrate with us. We had the best time!