World News

Inventive Cubans beat infernal heat with mobile pool

The Associated Press
Posted: Aug. 27, 2019 7:00 am Updated: Aug. 27, 2019 11:48 am

EL INFERNAL, Cuba (AP) — Children play wildly around a tractor in the El Infernal neighborhood in the province of Pinar del Rio, part of Cuba's renowned tobacco-growing zone.

The moment that everyone is waiting for arrives as tractor driver Osniel Hernandez appears with a trailer covered in a blue tarp, creating a mobile pool that will travel through the dirt streets of the neighborhood.

The idea for the mobile tractor-pool was hatched by local parents Mariset Martinez and Yamian Válido on July 26, to make their kids happy and fight the harsh Caribbean heat in the aptly named settlement. In a neighborhood far from recreation centers, community members helped to make the idea of the tractor-pool a reality, lending tarps, providing water and paying for the tractor's gasoline.

"We want to keep the kids happy in our community and this costs nothing." said Hipolito Marraron, the president of the cooperative that lent the tractor, with the condition that it could only be used if it wasn't needed by the agricultural workers.

The tractor in El Infernal also is occasionally pressed into service as an ambulance in an area with few motor vehicles.

After operators explained some rules to the swimmers, the tractor-pool made its first successful trip, as children splashed their neighbors to encourage them to join the party — a party that became the main attraction in a poor but resourceful neighborhood.