First Days in Cuba Set Expectations for Student Volunteer
Most volunteers abroad discover that the first days in the partner community is a time to settle in learn the day-to-day routine of service work. Some insights by a recent Cuba volunteer:
By Becca, University of Central Missouri student and Cuba Volunteer.
This morning we loaded all of our luggage into vintage 1950s cars, which were driven to our hotel here in Sancti Spíritus, Cuba. The Presbyterian pastor, Global Volunteers’ host, is a wonderful Cuban native from Havana who has been the pastor for two years, and actually celebrated her 2nd anniversary today!
After a delicious lunch of white rice, a Cuban black bean dish, chicken, pineapple, mango, and yucca, we began our orientation on health and safety, work projects and more. We learned that we must fill up our water bottles with filtered water provided at the church water station. Sancti Spíritus has the most polluted water in all of Cuba so the filters must be changed every 2 months or so. Our Cuban project leaders are wonderful guides and help us out a lot. We also signed up for the first week of volunteer projects which include the water project, gardening, cooking for elders, pottery production, and painting.
Our Cuban drivers are sources of cultural information, and explain the different things we had questions about. My driver stopped and picked up a loaf of bread at a shop downtown and then stopped on the side of the road to pick up his windshield wiper he lost earlier! The Cuban music at the hotel started at 9:00 pm and some of the group went to enjoy. There was a large projector and screen that played Cuban music videos which people danced to. Day two of our Cuban adventure in service is complete!
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