Tuesday, August 29, 2023


Betty's hard work and fruits.

Cienfuegos -The Santa Barbara farm on the outskirts of Lajas buzzing with summer greenery.

Julio Martinez Molina, Granma Cuba, August 23, 2023

Photo by Juan C Dorado.

LAJAS, Cienfuegos - The Santa Bárbara farm, on the outskirts of Lajas, has large plots of land that are buzzing with summer greenery. Its crops, trees and furrows have been bathed with the sweat and hard work of Ana “Betty” Beatriz Ponce Mora, a farmer who has earned the esteem of all those who have come to know her or shared her work in the fields.

She says that everything there was full of sicklebush, practically uninhabitable, and she took on the task, together with her son Pedro, of starting to clear the idle vegetation. The first thing she planted were banana trees, and the only way to make them prosper was to water them daily by carrying buckets, since she had no hydraulic installations.

Little by little her farm thrived. She cleaned and claimed every corner of her farm, until she thought about expanding his house in 2018, with various spaces: a garden, the plantations and the small pens. All this while working with his son, whom she guided step by step, this 60-year old woman said while adjusting her traditional scarf on her head.

As she said, the close presence of her first-born son Pedro Miguel Nodal Ponce has been the beacon of her life. Today, the industrious young man is 33 years old, but he still needs his mother's tutelage due to his special condition.

Both she and his son have not only succeeded in raising the Santa Bárbara farm with food production, but their motto is to share everything that is done there with the community.

Today they help, for example, with the delivery of compotes to the children's circles, to the two senior citizens’ homes in Lajas and, by Pedro's decision, they directly assist four vulnerable people, among them a disabled woman, an elderly person and two children who are bedridden. They even deliver the yogurt, milk, juices and fruits they produce to them, he says.

Betty reveals that she prays every day to Shangó for the health of her son, her godchildren, her people and for the progress of the farm.

She also prays daily for her President, Miguel Díaz-Canel, so that the light may always guide him on the right path of the Revolution, as she likes to say.

Her greatest dream, she confesses, is to run a mini-industry one day; to develop and be able to optimally offer the fruits they produce.

Betty claims to have a strong affinity with the elderly, and has been able to strengthen that bond through the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC by its Spanish initials), of which she has been a member since she was 14 years old. She says that her work is part of the Abel Santamaría credit and service cooperative in the territory, which has gone through a very difficult period, and they have been her main help, especially with the boom in sales.

Between the Abel Santamaría and the Federation, they make the neighborhood known as El Guayabal function properly. For years, a project on aging that she herself directed has had an impact there. Many of the adults who are sheltered in the senor citizens’ homes were cared for through these ties, she says.

Likewise, the FMC has empowered her in such a way that she is sure she doesn't need to depend on anyone to keep going.

If a 60-year-old woman and a young man with disabilities were able to build a farm like hers, and accomplish these goals, then the country's desire is perfectly possible for many.

Translated by ESTI