A Family of Farmers in Cuba

In western Cuba lays the valley of Viñales, one of the most fertile and beautiful places in the country. The family of Nuñez have farmed here for generations. They are poor but content with life.

I remember the first time I came across the resilient family of farmers living off the land in Viñales, overlooking a shimmering pond beneath the small farmhouse and mountains hoisting in the horizon. I didn’t know then, but the elderly, dignified lady turned out to be Catalina Nuñez. She was mopping the ground in front of the house she shared with her husband Miguel. This was in 1993. I took a photo of Catalina and a little later the same day a photo of her brother-in-law out in the fields. He was wearing worn out and punched clothes and no shoes. That was it for a first encounter.

When I returned the next year I met Miguel and eventually the rest of the family living on the farm, included three sons and a daughter and their spouses. The family of hardworking farmers somehow touched me deeply. Since then I have pretty much returned every year. The Nuñez have become like a second family to me. I have followed their development for more than 30 years. Seen family members die and new generations emerge. In 2008, Miguel passed away to cancer and not long ago also Catarina took her last breath. Now it’s the next generation taking over the farm.