Our last day in Ciego de Avila – Thursday – was spent in the heart of the city. We met Eduardo at his church where we gave all the donations we carried with us – toys, fabric, toothpaste and brushes. Zoe led us on a short walking tour of the shopping area of Ciego.

Michelle with Eduardo and Tury in Ciego

Michelle with Eduardo and Tury in Ciego

When we arrived back at the church the elders were waiting for us. Every Thursday this large group of elders meet to talk about life, to socialize, to sing, to share stories, to eat, to worship. They each bring a little something from home, like rice or beans or oil or eggs and make a little basket with these items. Someone always goes home with this basket, a little something to help get them through the week.

We learned that there is a seamstress group that meets weekly as well. Together they make pajamas for people who are in the hospital or knit baby clothes for new moms that don’t have anything.

There was a great exchange this morning between our group and theirs. We felt free to ask each other questions, to share stories, ideas and feelings like how the embargo is such a problem for Cuba.

At the end of our exchange, the retired pastor, Noel said “let’s not get tired of this type of interchange. We are breaking down barriers that separate us, one person at a time. We are making history with this conversation, that we are getting to know one another, to know and understand the real Cubans and the real Americans. Please keep coming back and bring your friends. I couldn’t agree more.

Michelle with new Cuban friends in Ciego

Ne Cuban Friends in Ciego de Avila

After a pizza lunch and after saying our goodbyes to our church friends we piled onto the bus for our drive back to Havana. Our trip is more than half over and I’m starting to feel a little sad. This week has gone by so fast. We have one more day in Havana…. Stay tuned for Friday’s adventurous day in La Habana.