Cuba

Cuba became part of my life since my first visit 1997.

My travels to Cuba gave birth to the project “My Street” – with photographer Babak Salari in 2009 we collected stories and photos of Cubans about their streets and published them in the book “My Street. Cuban Stories”. Joseph Scarpaci wrote a review about the book  in Journal of Latinamerican Geography calling it “a delightful portal to the human condition in Cuba”.

In 2012 a second book was published – “Behind Doors” – with stories  suggested and collected by Cubans in 2011. 2017 some of those stories have been published by Philip Graham in the prestigious US-Magazine NINTH LETTER.

Both books were designed by Raycho Stanev. Martin Dietrich and Valia Carvalho from Germany contributed to the second book.

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Para vivir con paz interior hay que ser un imbecil. O no?
Pedro Juan Gutierrez
“Trilogia sucia de La Habana”

I have been to Cuba many times – first in 1997, and again and again in the years after. On each of these visits, unexpected encounters occurred and baffled me. Once in Havana I told a woman I was Bulgarian, and she gave me a blessing. She told me a Bulgarian family saved her from starvation in the early 90s.
Another time in Santiago, on hearing I was Bulgarian, a man told me about the woman of his life, also Bulgarian, then bent, and kissed my hand.
An old man I met in Santiago street joked to me in Bulgarian, using old-fashioned slang (“Na baba ti hvarchiloto”). Finally, an opposition leader asked me when I visited him in Havana: “Why did you, Bulgarians, forget you are now free and we are not yet free?”

Each time I’ve ended up going away bewildered – I didn’t’t know what to do with these stories and questions.They stirred with the sounds of Havana and Santiago, and alarmed me. There is something truly alarming in discovering that your own past and your own memories matter to someone living far away.

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