Nuestra Casa home, Madrid

Benjamín Barrios, Resident

“It is very good for all of us, how much they care for us”.


Nuestra Casa home, Madrid
How old are you?

I am 81 years old.


What did you do before you retired?

Lots of things. I worked in the fields from the age of 8, I went to primary school but in those years of hunger it was hard to keep going. Then I made holes for planting vines and olive trees. After that I was a builder for a few years.

At the same time I worked in a distillery making alcohol, aguardiente and mistela. Finally I was an estate guard for 42 years. Apart from typing, I've done everything. 


How many years have you been in the home?

Six years.


What do you like to do?

Most of all looking after my kitchen garden and going for walks. I go out every morning for the paper and I bring things back for some of my friends if they ask for anything. 
I help however I can. I water my kitchen garden every three days and take care of it so it is tidy.



How did the idea of the kitchen garden come about?

I suggested it because the plot of land was abandoned and I have liked looking after the land since I was little. The manager liked the idea and so I started with it.


What do you plant in the garden?

Tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, aubergines, courgettes, sunflowers and this year I will plant pumpkins to see how they do. But above all it depends on the time of year. I've got some garlic growing that I'll pick in June.


How do you look after a kitchen garden?

With hard work.  First you have to prepare the soil, plant the seeds and put fertiliser on them. You have to take care to water it when it needs it and keep the ground clean. The main thing is to make sure there aren't any weeds. 

You also have to be very careful that the plants don't catch any diseases. The tomatoes get red spider mites and then all the tomatoes dry out.


What do you think of the contribution by the Fundación de Esther Koplowitz to this project?

It is very good for all of us, how much they care for us. I like the lectures, especially when they are on subjects I know a bit about.


Do you have any stories you would like to share?

I could tell stories from every day because we enjoy ourselves which is what matters, we get together, someone says something, someone else says something different and we all laugh together.