Team Reflections on Cuba Volunteer Projects

Ciego de Ávila

By Michele & Chris, Cuba Volunteers.

We continue to be blessed with new Cuban friends at our volunteer project sites and enjoy deeper conversations with our teammates.  It’s an abundance of talk, experience, laughter, sweat and takeaways from the Cuban life experience. Following are a few team members’ small, impactful memories.  Thanks for sharing:

  • Renee was impressed by the passengers’ applause when our charter flight touched down in Santa Clara, Cuba. Bravo for the families reuniting at the airport. Bravo for the arrival of gifts, comforts and goodies from America. And bravo for the change that has permitted this progress.
  • Kayla recalls the shoulder-to-shoulder knitting circle with Cuban women of all generations represented…plus Juan Carlos, of course. The laughter was constant, despite most translations being missed – the tone and smiles speak volumes.
  • The 26-year-old Cuban builder/mason on Chris’ volunteer project would like to travel to America for a very important reason….to use a PlayStation 4. Video games are now the universal language…forget about “love”.

    Cuban park near volunteer project.

    A walk in the park turns into a cultural event.

  • As Marva exchanged “holas” with a younger Cuban gentleman on the lakeside path near our hotel, he passed by and moments later returned with a flower plucked especially for her. Cuban generosity is a beautiful thing.
  • Linda received a mango for her marvelous, meaningful conversations with her Cuban student at the English tutoring volunteer project.
  • A 23-year-old grateful Cuban student loaned to Ben a thumb drive with the recent episode of Game of Thrones…. so now Ben can catch up.
  • John has been schooled on Cuban society by a 20-year-old Cuban man who could run a country given his level of knowledge and world politics.

For me, the impact is endless. As an example, Janel talked to me about the Cuban economy as we sat and pulled weeds from a plentiful bed of chives at our volunteer gardening project. He said, “I LOVE my country, but we need improvement.  Cuban people don’t want too much, just to live a comfortable life – more food for our tables, more money to support our families, and maybe to travel to another country for a vacation.  We want to live a really good life.” Bravo Janel.

And to all of the hard-working, fun-loving, generous Cuban people… We’re rooting for you.

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