Memories intertwined: Revisiting David Alan Harvey´s Trinidad (Cuba)

Rosa Orbea and her niece Annalien Santander Orbea, who appeared in National Geographic Magazine´s article “Cuba’s Colonial Treasure,” October 1999. Photograph © KIKE CALVO.

For those of you who have been readers of National Geographic for years now, you may remember a beautiful and visually captivating article on Trinidad, Cuba, with images by David Alan Harvey, published 14 years ago.

In one of the photographs, Rosa Orbea was combing the hair of her niece, Annalien Santander Orbea. Annalien was wearing a crisp, bright white dress, and getting ready to celebrate her ¨quinces¨, a very meaningful celebration that occurs when a girl becomes a young lady, turning 15 years old.

As an expert for National Geographic Expeditions, I join our travelers in a search for unique places around the destination country. On this occasion, we went to visit the home of horse whisperer Julio Muñoz, who is none other than Rosa´s husband.

To say the least, luck was on my side when I found out the Annalien, now a mother, was visiting for a couple of days from Miami. As a photographer, I was thrilled by the opportunity, so I inquired the location of that white, now less sparkly, ¨quinceañera¨ dress. Sure enough, they found it.

Thanks to David for allowing me include his original photograph on my article. Photograph © David Alan Harvey


The room in which the photograph was taken years ago, is now being refurbished as part of the the family’s new project, a bed and breakfast. We sat together in the living room, a beautiful colonial space with high ceilings mosaic tiles. As we spoke about their appearance in National Geographic magazine and how that influenced their lives, I took some photographs to immortalize such a unique coincidence. These images of past and present display a perfect picture of change.

Award-winning photographer, journalist, and author Kike Calvo (pronounced key-keh) specializes in culture and environment. He has been on assignment in more than 90 countries, working on stories ranging from belugas in the Arctic to traditional Hmong costumes in Laos. Kike is pioneering in using small unmanned aerial systems to produce aerial photography as art, and as a tool for research and conservation. He is also known for his iconic photographic project, World of Dances, on the intersection of dance, nature, and architecture. His work has been published in National Geographic, New York Times, Time, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair, among others. Kike teaches photography workshops and has been a guest lecturer at leading institutions like the School of Visual Arts and Yale University. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic blog Voices. He has authored nine books, including Drones for Conservation; So You Want to Create Maps Using Drones?; Staten Island: A Visual Journey to the Lighthouse at the End of the World; and Habitats, with forewords by David Doubilet and Jean-Michel Cousteau. Kike’s images have been exhibited around the world, and are represented by the National Geographic Image Collection. Kike was born in Spain and is based in New York. When he is not on assignment, he is making gazpacho following his grandmother’s Andalusian recipe. You can travel to Colombia with Kike: www.colombiaphotoexpeditions.com
  • Julio Munoz

    Hi Kike:
    Great article !!
    Here is Casa Muñoz web site:
    Greeting to David A. Harvey

  • Julie Hunter

    my daughter is travelling in the Trinidad area right now and was riding in the nearby countryside yesterday. She texted me that there has been 4 months of drought in the area and that the cattle are suffering loss of both food and water. Do you know of anyone, or any way in which foreigners such as myself in Canada, could help these animals? It seems to be an urgent situation.

  • Gil Montano

    Genial esto amigo. saludos

  • Fiona

    Love this article! Brought back many happy memories of our stay at Casa Munoz in December 2012. This is the only place to stay in Trinidad but I should keep it a secret! If visiting make sure you spend time with Julio learning street documentary photography – we learnt so much that our friends want our photos! Not to mention that breakfast is the best meal in town. Thanks Julio and Rosa! Best wishes Fiona and Ninian

  • Amanda cordova

    Wow , what a coincidence that I ran into this article….just 5 years ago or so I had the pleasure knowing about Annalien Santander and Eddy figuerdero Groning the father of her children ….didn’t think that I would ever get to comment on what they did to one of my family members. Obviously they loved eachother from a long time ago but Annalien came to the united states from cuba first…and poor Eddy he couldn’t come he needed to find a way to get here…So her comes my family member visiting from usa with other students and they start talking and talking and talking … Im pretty sure it was about a year later talking and talking and writing he reals her in well of course wants to marry her….my family member pays a lot of money to bring him to the united states the funny thing is is that all his family agrees to this marriage all….finally after a lot of paperwork and lots of money I mean lots he finally arrives in the united states…..when he arrives he is using my family member and talking to Annalien like she was his cousin then one day he gets his visa in the mail and then he decides he needs to visit family in tampa florida and never comes back leaving my family in utter confusion. We read about how common this is especially in Cuba but one never knows…. Well its been a long time now and all is normal again but I will never forget this feeling of violation from all of his and her family….
    Best Wishes to both you Annalien and Eddy the world is round and everything we do in life comes back to us in one way or another……..Good luck

  • Isaac Freijo

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