Saturday in Cuba

To whom it may concern,

Richard Norris here. My heart is overflowing with joy at this moment, and it is very difficult to explain it all, but for your sake, I will try. Today, my friends and I had the opportunity to glimpse into the lives of young people just like us, as we all enjoyed the pleasantries of a warm Saturday. While the majority of us are either seventeen or eighteen years old, the ages of the young people of the church ranged from twelve to nineteen. We all traveled from the church to an amusement park that challenged what most of us (the Americans, I speak of) thought about amusement parks. Imagine going to a Six Flags amusement park on a random Saturday during the summer. That is NOT at all what this was like. Now, of course, it had rides that you could expect to see at an amusement park and place where you could sit and eat with your friends, but one of the things that really stood out to me was that there were many open fields of grass where people could play soccer or toss a Frisbee. Also, there was a great structure that appeared to be what we would call a roller coaster, but it had no cars that operated on electricity, but rather seats and wheels like a bicycle where you had to pedal in order to move forward. Roxy said that it was an enjoyable experience, but many of my friends did not share her opinion.

Owen, Thomas, and I did not really care for the rides. We tossed our Frisbee around instead. Afterwards, Jake, Anna C., Anna P., Brayden, Isaiah, Owen, and Thomas invited some of our Cuban hosts to a friendly game of soccer. I do not play soccer, and I surely did not want to start today, so Selah, Setareh, and I sat and conversed with Roxy’s mother, Jenna, and Molly.
What really warmed my heart was the ability to connect with other young people, even in the presence of a language barrier. I had the privilege of meeting a young girl who was very inquisitive of American life. She happily engaged Selah, Sydney, and I in conversation. Selah and Sydney do not speak Spanish, so I had to translate everything, which helped them understand, and gave me a chance to practice my Spanish. The young girl, Yasmeen, spoke how she curious she was about life in the United States and how she really wanted to visit other countries. We talked about of our favorite singers and sports teams and players. It was in this moment that it became clear to me that even though she comes from a different way of life, she still has some of the same aspirations, the same hopes, and the same desires as me. That moment was priceless, and I hope that one day her curiosity will lead her to a wonderful life of travel.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring…

With Peace, Love, and Soul,

Richard Norris, III ‘17

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