We start the day with an early breakfast (7:30 am). Eduardo and “Tury” join us.
We then drove into the town center of Ciego de Avila. The word Ciego, means a clearing in a wooded area.
We were greeted in the town plaza by the Mayor of Ciego de Avila who is a history professor! He tells us about the town itself, including the size, its history and the revolutionary hero, Jose Marti.We present a wreathe of flowers at the Jose Marti statue in the center of the main square. We then walked to the town’s museums, which included historical artifacts from the African cultures, the revolutionary history and some archeological information. There are some significant pre-columbian sites that are being excavated in the area complete with pottery, stones and weapons. We took many photos.
We then drove to Moron and saw a large sculpture of a rooster. A kind of “emblem “ for the area and for Cuba, borrowed from Spain.Lunch was out of doors Rancho Palma Restaurant. The area was well known for Sugar cane plantations. We saw sugar cane juice being pressed from a cane stalk, some 2 -2.5 inches in diameter. This was a hand pressed machine that to me looked like the technology of early washing machines in the U.S. We tasted the juice with a bit of rum!
In Moron, the buildings and streets were picturesque and there were horse-drawn carriages and bicycles, pedicabs with very few cars to be seen; there were more trucks than cars in the streets!
Then we went to the D’Moron Theatre Company. This seemed like a more intimate meeting with the Cuban players. The theatre was an old restored, movie house. Small. Felt like it was built in the 50s?. It had been trashed over the years. There was a move by the theatre manager to clean and restore the theatre with the help of locals. The whole theatre has been painted and restored, but to a live theatre setting.
The company is excellent. Their disciplines include, gymnasts, stilt walkers, mimes, dances and jugglers and very astute improvisation. The performers presented their work and were excellent and thoroughly enjoyable. It was followed with audience participation. It was very funny (and personally embarrassing) . The cast then taught us salsa dancing. We learned how the troupe serves the community through performing for the community: children’s theatre, theatre for young adults. It was extremely informative.
Then Tony, our bus driver, took us to the Nicholas Guillen Foundation House. This is a Poetry, music Arts
Center. We were treated to a jazz Concert with American and Cuban music. We danced and the cultural impact of these Cubans musicians in a town of 6000 is truly exceptional. Christine was given the spotlight for a moment and the honor of sitting on the “hammock”. A symbol of the many nights where soldiers slept and rested in anticipation of the next day’s battle. A brief question and answer period followed. Christine talked about her life in the theatre and education in the United States. Christine’s parents migrated during the Mexican Revolution to the U.S.