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Cleaning Out Wells

Cleaning Out Wells image
Parent Issue
Day
17
Month
February
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

Secoud Lientenant John W. Haarer, of Co. A, 31st Michigan, writes f rom Amaro, Cuba, under dato of Feb. 8, giviug the followiug entertaiuing description of Cuba, starting with a description of the land locked harbor of Cienfuegos, where the troops first lapded : The eiitraiice to the harbor, aloiig the neck, is very beautifv.l and picturesque. There are several httle yillages which with theirquaint houses with red-tiled roofs, palm trees, and pavilions, look more like a scène from a. picture book than a glimpse of reality. The first battalion was the only one to land and proceeded at once fco Rodrigo. The secoud and third battalions landed the next day, the second following the first on Friday 'morning. Our battalion was the only pjie to remain and we pitched our shelter tents on an open square near the harbor and about sis or eight blocks from the center of the city, so we had plnty opportunities to see tbe place. Cieufuegos has somewhat over 20,000 inhabitants. I did not see a uew building in the place and the style of architecture is eutirely different from anything seen at home. Very few buildings are over two stories high. JViany have a nice colonade in front. All come right to the edge of the gidewalk and there is no garden, each building adjoining the other. The windows aie all barred, which gives it the appearance as if everybody lived in jails. There are no window panes, onl curtains and shutters. ., In the center of the city is the plaz around whieh tbe leading building are located. As a rule the city is ver dïr,ty, the streets along the outskirt bdng extremely filthy. In fact a stat of affairs exista in some portion which I can not describe on paper There is no system of sewerage, th only scavengers being the countles thonsands of buzzards. As no on molests them they are very tam and are ween everywhere. Tbough onr Spanish is somewha limited we know enough to ask fo all the ordinary necessities. If we re mained in a city I dare say the most o tis would be able to acquire a fai knowledge of the language. Amon the ignorant Cubans though one ca never learn it as they cannot speak i qorrectly.. themselves. None of u iiave auy love for the Cuban. Th Cuban has no distinct type, but is mixture of Spanish, Indiau and Negr blqod, the one or tbe other as a rul predoininatiug more or less, so tha wbile some are nearly white, othei are coal black. The more Spauiarc there is about him, the better. Th majority of the Cubans are a lazy dirty, good-for-uotbing lot, and w are all sorry that Spain could no rid the place of them. Arme Cubans, soldiers and guerillas are me all over. They prefer that life as i is so much easier thau working. In Cienfuegos there were hundreds of Spanish soldiers ready to embark. We were on the most friendly and sociable terms with them. The Spanish residents were also very agreeable and seem to be glad that American troops are here for it assures business stabilitv. Our battalion left Cienfngeos for Rodrigo on Sunday. It is about fiO miles by rail, and consists of about 30 thatched huts. Tuesday morning onr company left the regiment at Rodrigo and inarcbed three miles to Amaro where we set tip camp. You will fine Amaro ou the map but there is noth ing here but the ruins of a few build ings and a hut inhabited by a Cuban vvho takes care of the plantation here. At one time this was a health resort, wta.ere the wealthier class carne to take baths and drink mineral water. I The baths in the bath house are stil ïu a .good state of preservation ant yesterday we cleaned them out anc haye three in working order. There is qne large beautiful bathing tank linee yfith colored and figured porcelan tiles. We also emptied and cleaned out a wel! 40 fet deep and about sis feet in diameter. It is hewn out of the solid rock and had 30 feet of water in it. There are at least a dozen fine wells here. Only the reiunants of what was formerly a fine plantation still exist. There are orange, lime and cocoanut trees and banana, and pine apple plants. Soine of the fruit is ripe but the inajority still green. The soil is very rich and eerything grows in rank profu-sion. The climate is fine, for though it is bot during the day it is never sultry, while the nights are cool. The only drawbacks are the bugs and mosquitoes, but I suppose we will soon get used to them. This morning Co. B joined us and the rest of the regiment will follow as soon as a camp is staked out and the water supply is sufficient. With the exception of a few of the !xys everyone seems to be feeling fine ind in the best of health. All are enoyirig themselves. If we are not kept :oo long and remain in good health :his will be a great experience. After we are thoronghly settlcd I tbiuk the regiment will be split up' aud dètachments isent around iu tbe adjacenfc conntry. All seem to be of tlie opinión tluit the time will come when there will be trotible with some of tbe Cubans We are certaiu that they ■vatch our every move aud at uight we eau bear their whistlesiguals. We have seéu uo sigiis of any starving Cnbaiis, tor all that we have met neem well fed, especially the little children, the majority of vrhom are a great deal fatter thau the American children.