by Anna ’17
The day started with the usual array of fresh fruit, bread, and eggs for breakfast. After breakfast, the group and Pastor Maria went into a camion (which is an older bus from around 1960) and drove over to The International Committee for Friendship with the People (ICAP). When we arrived we were greeted with songs and dances which were performed by young girls from the local art school. After the introduction we started to learn about the history of ICAP. The group shared that their main purpose was to get others to learn about Cuban history through art. After showing us a few dances, Sydney sang the song “Hallelujah” with Holdyn on the guitar for the entire group.
It was interesting to hear about Cuba from different perspectives, one from Jenna who visited Cuba in 1978 and from the Cuban teachers themselves, who were born after Jenna’s visit. After talking for a little bit, we went back into our camion, drove around, and saw two hydroponic gardens. Also on the bus ride home, Owen, Brayden, and Jake decided to play guitar and sing songs by Kesha, Katy Perry, and Kanye West, which was fun for the rest of the group to listen to.
When we arrived home, we were greeted with another marvelous meal of pork, lentils, rice, and tomatoes. Once our stomachs were satisfied, Owen, Jake and Brayden made a friend named Plank (who is a plank of wood with a face drawn on). Plank helped the boys in their service, which included cleaning the windows and carrying metal scraps from the first to third floor. Anna C, Sydney, Selah, and Isaiah, and Setareh all cleaned the windows, whiteboard and did some other sweeping and organizing in the church. They each worked very hard and earned their stay with the Cubans. Thomas also helped with the window washing, and continued to look good.
At around 6:00 pm., Owen, Tom, and I went to the Mass service at the Catholic church across the street. It was interesting for me to see the differences between the Mass services in America and Cuba, but (although in Spanish) both services had the presence of the “Our Father” and the peace.
After we arrived back home and ate a dinner of pizza and spaghetti we went to Pastor Maria’s house for dessert. What Maria did not tell us was that there was a surprise singer who was coming to the house a little bit later. The woman sang traditional Spanish songs which Roxy, Setareh, and Selah added their own twist to. After the woman sang a few songs, Holdyn and Sydney sang “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse. Richard then sang his grandfather’s favorite song–which was quite moving. Then finally, to close out the musical filled day, Anna C, Tom, and Isaiah sang “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel.
Once we got home for good, everyone was exhausted and immediately hopped into their freshly made beds, and got their rest for the next exciting day to come.