Hola from day two in Cuba,
We hit the ground running this morning. Following a delicious breakfast, I am finding that all the food we have eaten here is delicious, we started on a hike led by some of our lovely Cuban friends–Carlos, Maria-Lousia, and Liz–to La Loma de la Cruz (the hill of the cross). I would describe the hike as short but painful. We walked up about dozen flights of some of the steepest stairs I have ever encountered in my life. Everyone successfully made it to the top, where we were greeted by the most amazing view of the city of Holguin. It made me realize that Holguin was much larger than expected. At the top we encountered a lovely women named Dahlia . She gifted the group with beaded necklaces in remembrance of her three daughters, who had sadly passed away.
On our way back to the church we walked around the base of the mountain, through an area of town that we will not get to spend much time in, and in that walk I realized I had quickly grown accostomed to the stares our group gets wherever we go. For me it is humbling, in that it reminds me I am not just representing myself, but my group, and the whole George School school community.
After returning to the church, we had a brief period of rest, followed by lunch. Lunch, similiar to breakfast, was incredible. It included, pork burgers, rice (one of the staples of our meals here), lentils, a variety of prepared salads, and two types of plantains–mashed, and my personal favorite fried. After lunch, we had a little bit of free time, during this time I played a rousing game of cards with Tatiana, Natasja, Katie, Skylar, Lizzy, Emily, and Maria-Louisa, while some of the other members of the group rested, or played volleyball. Then began easily the most challeging part of a day, practice for the church on Sunday.
We first learned the chorus of a hymn, which I have to say went very well, and then we learned a “dance”routine to perform during the special fathers’ day service. It was challenging to learn a routine, taught mostly in Spanish for those who do not have the best grip on the language, or in my case almost no comprehension. Even though it was challenging, those teaching us always managed to find a way to get their point across , whether through pointing and other body langauge directions, or through translating. We spent three hours practicing this routine, and by the end we were all completely exhausted, but feeling accomplished.
In the time before dinner, the group just hung out and relaxed. Some including myself got involved in a game of volleyball, which for the record is not something I find myself especially skilled at. We also started sharing some of the photo albums most of us brought with us. Following dinner, which was Italian themed, the group settled into some quiet time to work on our journals.
I thought I would conclude with some of things I learned today.
First, do not trust Tatiana with water bottles, because she will knock them off the ledge of summit of La Loma de la Cruz and cause Alex to go save the water bottle for Fritz.
Second, for a 6-ft tall guy, Matt Simon is rather skilled at limboing.
Third playing volleyball with our group will lead to being hit in the face.
And finally, that this group has the best attitude of a group of teenagers that I have ever seen. Even after three hours of practicing our routine in a hot sweaty church, not a single person complained.
That is all from me. Goodnight y’all.’