In a small valley in rural Cuba exists a community of farmers that have lived without any modern conveniences, until 2016, when the government provided electricity to the area. Known as campesinos, the community has lived off the land, finding innovative ways to survive and stay entertained. Meals were cooked on wood fires. A used car battery powered a television that could last around 28 days, depending on usage.
Less than 10kms from Viñales, the tourism boom has created new opportunities, allowing the farmers to live a modern lifestyle filled with refrigerators, electric burners, crock-pots, DVD players, radios, televisions, cell phones and even iPhones. In an area that used to not see foreigners, it is common to see tourists exploring the dirt roads on bikes, horses, or walking tours, dinning at a newly built restaurant, or snapping photos of the campesinos living their daily lives.
Traditional ways are not fully forgotten, coffee is roasted and ground by hand, as are animals slaughtered. Horseback is the main way of transportation, fields are plowed by oxen, and for those who can’t afford the CUC$10 for home delivery, water is fetched from a nearby well.
The campesinos daily lives became an art form, refined and perfected over decades, that may soon fade away.