Many members of this family took part in the main work that took place in Jandía toward the end of the 1940’s and the 1950’s.
This text broadly highlights the magnificent work carried out by Maestro Villalba, building the foundation of the house in Cofete, and sorting out the stumbling blocks that came their way, since iron and concrete were scarce. In addition, in those days there was none of the machinery currently used in construction, or electricity or vehicles for transport. Everything was done using tools by hand.
Besides the construction of the house, he managed all sorts of works: water galleries, construction of canals, roads, etc. Some of his children helped him out (Juan, Evaristo). The only one who ended up staying in Jandía was his son José Concepción Hernández (1931 – 2019), known as “Pepe Concepción”. Him and his wife, Mrs. Catalina Rodríguez, were interviewed for the programme “Gente Nuestra” (Our People), for a local TV, Sur FM (available on Facebook), him and his wife Mrs. Catalina Rodríguez, at a restaurant called Tenderete that they used to go to in Puertito de la Cruz, in Punta de Jandía. During the interview he explained that his family came from Lanzarote and that his father was the main person in charge of the construction of the house of Cofete, from the very foundation. Three of his brothers also worked with them. Back then, I was “embarked on coastal boats” in Lanzarote, “my father needed me and I came over in 1950” –when I was 19-, and then worked building the house and the stretch of road between Caserío de Cofete and Degollada de Agua Ovejas. He then met Mrs. Catalina, who later became his wife.
The van was then needed in Cofete, for instance, to go down to Roque del Moro to fetch brosa (sand and gravel: “washed” sand from the ravine), that was used to madrecillar the roofs (filling or topping the ceilings) in 1951. However, since there was no access road to Cofete, the van had to be taken there unassembled. Once they got to the end of the Gran Valle ravine, the mechanic pulled the Opel Blitz van apart, and the different parts were carried by donkeys and camels all the way through Degollada de Gran Valle; several workers carried the frame on their shoulders. Once in Cofete, the van was put together again bit by bit, to bring it on the stretch of road there was back then in Cofete. Some months later, the van had to be taken apart again to be returned to Gran Valle.
During that interview, he refers to Gustav Winter as “the German” or “the old man”. Once they had fallen out (July 1953), Pepe left and went to Ayoun to work for a year. GW “asked for me” and he became one of his most highly trusted people for years. He had many skills: he learnt building skills from his father, and GW asked him to make “La Gaviota” (the Seafull’s House) in 1962, in Piedras Caídas (for the Kissachs), as well as the beach house in Esquinzo (for Mr. Kensley). He was a great carpenter. When our parents purchased the house in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 1965, Pepe and his brother Juan worked in it for a couple of months. Pepe put the kitchen together, he made the cupboards, the doors, etc. He was also a brilliant fisherman: out mother enjoyed fishing on a small boat with Pepe and some of us. In 1968, he started to work for one of the first hotels that opened on the island. He was also a great chef: once he retired, he run the aforementioned restaurant “Tenderete” with his wife and some of his children in El Puertito.
Other relatives of Maestro Villalba also worked in Cofete: his brother in law Mr. Manuel Afonso and his nephews and niece Manuel, José, Juan and María Afonso Concepción. When the Maestro left Jandía in 1952, his brother Victorino stayed in charge of the work, whose son Ramón, also worked in the house for several years. On letter numbered 138, from AK to GW, dated 24/08/49, there is reference being made to Maestro Victorino Concepción Villalba, who seemed to have come to LP due to some illness: “he had already recovered and was expected to embark the Guanchinerfe toward the beginning of September” (1949.4). He is also mentioned on a letter dated 1952.