First Day in Cuba


Dear loved ones,

I am writing to you from the Quaker Church in Holguin at the end of our first day in Cuba. We have just had a lovely walk into town, led by GS alumna Roxana (a member of this church) followed by our evening circle, at which everyone shared about something that surprised them today. It was a delightful end to a great day. Students shared about the sweet, warm reception they have received, the fact that somehow they feel comfortable despite not speaking any Spanish, their appreciation for the physical beauty they have seen, and their joy at being part of this wonderful group. 

If you are on the Facebook page for our trip (Cuba GS 2016), by now you may have seen the posting of our group photo from the plaza a few blocks from the church. It is mind-blowing to me that there is wi-fi access in Cuba. Wow. We have learned that we may purchase wi-fi access for a few dollars per hour. We will permit students to do that beginning on Monday. Nonetheless, it is our intention to continue the practice of writing and sending one blog post per day, separate from whatever people choose to do via wi-fi.

Highlights from Day One include:

  • Richard got through Cuban customs beautifully, after a hiccup involving the paperwork. (Phew)
  • Setareh was visibly thrilled to be reunited with Roxana, her junior year roommate at George School.
  • Selah appreciated the wonderful diversity of people in the park during our stroll.
  • Anna P. was quite impressed by the impressive quality and quantity of old American cars.
  • Anna C. worked with Sydney on drawing a leprechaun for tonight’s church service. She appreciates the way in which the church interior and exterior flow together so seamlessly.
  • Isaiah got an opportunity (with Holdyn) to explore a bit of Holguin, joining Carlos (church music director). They got to see a community garden and beautiful cakes!
  • Holdyn entertained the group with some beautiful guitar playing and singing before dinner.
  • Jake enjoyed taking photos on our walk through Holguin.
  • Brayden enjoyed all the food he was served today; he had not expected that!
  • Sydney noted her surprise at how comfortable she feels here, despite not sharing the language nor the religion of our hosts.
  • Owen enjoyed the ride from the airport, which took us through the outskirts of Holguin.
  • Thomas acknowledged that our driver did, indeed, drive like a former ambulance driver. (Which he was.)
  • Molly, Jenna, and I are all thrilled with how positive, friendly and helpful your children have been. We are looking forward to tomorrow!

Good night!

Tom Hoopes

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Filed under Faculty and Staff, Service, Students

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