Hostel Mango– the place to be in Habana – is one of the few hostels in the old town.
Merle and I met Carlos, the owner and soul of the hostel, because Mauro had told us about this amazing place. Even though all the beds were occupied for many weeks, Carlos stopped working and tryed really hard to help us find a room in the neighbourhood. He is a cool guy who loves to help, has interesting ideas and does a good job running the hostel. We talked for a long time about his plans to create a chill out area on the roof top terasse before we left.
One week later, drawn by my interest in the project, I returned to the hostel. Hostel Mango has a roof top terrace with a lot of free space. Carlos already got one hammock. A traveller brought it from Peru. So we planned to build a big, strong construction for 4-5 hammocks for the hostel guests to use. Firstly Carlos and I helped in the neighbours house to take down an old wooden roof construction which has been demolished by insects.
In the meantime Armado, a neighbourhood worker who does all kinds of jobs, finished painting the front wall of the Hostel. He is a very hard and fast working Cuban. His house has turned into a work shop since he quit his crane steering job and started to work privately. In their normal jobs, Cubans can earn 10 – 60$ per month. A licence for private work makes it possible to earn this and more in only one week.
The wood of the big working construction was not needed anymore. Strong, dry but bent pieces of wood were free for us to use. I started to evaluate the material, the available tools and found out which ones we could borrow from neighbours.
Here in Cuba everything is rare. People spend a lot of time trying to find things, help each other and become very creative using whatever they can find!
After defining the most practical measurements of the construction, figuring out detail solutions and sketching a rough draft, I started to work.
This project was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the time staying here in the hostel, sleeping in my hammock and eating Cuban food together with Carlos and Carlos. The stepfather of Carlos is also named Carlos. We worked together as a good team. Being given all the necessary tools, wood and freedom, I applyed the skills I had learned back in Germany. Now the last 3 years of hard Carpenter Training pay off and I am happy for everything I got tought during this time. For the last bit of nailing all the pieces together and erecting the construction Armado came over to have a look. He lent a helping hand and gave usefull advice.
Two days of sweat and hard labour later we hung the first hammocks. My Ticket To The Moon Hammock fits perfectly and will be my bed under the stars of Cuba. This is the start of the first Hamaca Hostal Habana. It is a great feeling to have accomplished this interesting project and to leave my footprint on the path of this rapidly changing city Habana.