Cuba Global Volunteer

How to volunteer in Cuba? For Roberta, Cuba had long been on her bucket list, so she took the leap and became a Cuba Global Volunteer. It turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences. Read about her journey:

I first learned about Global Volunteers on Facebook, and I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba, so when I heard that they had an opening in their January 2018 volunteer program, I thought that would be a great way for me to combine my two passions – volunteering and photography. So I went to Cuba for two weeks with Global Volunteers to tutor English and learn about the Cuban culture, and I was amazed, enlightened, fulfilled, and rewarded beyond words with my experience there. I was able to capture some wonderful, colorful and touching photographs while gaining knowledge about the Cuban culture and giving back through teaching English.

Global Volunteers is very organized, the cultural activities were excellent, the local contacts were brilliant, the students I tutored were wonderful and grateful, and the people of Cuba were warm and more than welcoming.

Roberta Kayne with some students in Cuba

Staying in a Casa Particular with a lovely woman from Seattle as my roommate was a delightful way to share the experience of Cuba. Our hosts were a wonderful and friendly Cuban family who made sure that we were comfortable in our room and that we had a positive experience in their home. Staying in the casa was a brilliant way to integrate us into the culture.

A normal day, for the 8 “work” days went something like this: Every day our hostess Fefi would make a bountiful breakfast – enough for an army to eat. Then my roommate and I would walk ten minutes to the community center to begin our volunteer duties for the day. I would work in the kitchen for a short time until my first students would arrive for tutoring in English, and then I would tutor a few students for about two hours.

While we were tutoring, the other volunteers were working in the local community garden and working on light construction at the community center.

Volunteers working at the community garden. (Photo by Roberta Kayne)

After “working” which was fun and didn’t feel like work, we all gathered in the community center for lunch and then a Team Meeting to review our quote of the day and our reading of the previous day’s journal entry by each team member.

Then, more fun – each day we had a “cultural experience” which included visiting a cigar shop, visiting local crafts shops like a silver shop where the artists used old flatware to make lovely silver sculptures and jewelry for sale; Spanish lessons, Salsa lessons, a performance by a local award-winning dance and bongo troupe, and much more.

Cuba Global Volunteer free time

Volunteers during salsa dancing. (Photo by Roberta Kayne)

At around 6pm we would gather for a dinner together and enjoy the local cuisine prepared by a small restaurant.  And then from 7-9pm we would be at the community center again tutoring English to kids, teens, and adults.

On our free, non-work days, we were treated to more people to people cultural activities including a tour of Moron with a performance by a mime troupe, a visit with a local well-known author, a visit to an aquarium, and finally a trip to and tour of Old Havana.

My experience in Cuba was wonderful and I would do it again in a minute…  Actually, I am doing it again in September – this time in Beja, Portugal – with Global Volunteers.  Thanks Global Volunteers for the opportunity to change the world and change my life!

Catch a glimpse of what Roberta saw as a Cuba Global Volunteer.

(Visit Roberta’s website to view more of her breathtaking pictures from Cuba here.)

Visit our Cuba page to learn more about becoming a Cuba Global Volunteer. The time is now!

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