by Selah ’17
We began our day with a lovely breakfast including: mangoes, bananas, pineapples, eggs and my personal favorite, bread with Cuban honey and butter. After our delicious breakfast, we went aboard the bus excited to see the “world-class” beach that we have been notified about many times throughout this trip and even before we arrived. As I approached the bus I noticed that it was the same bus that we had taken on past trips, which worried me because a majority of these buses have a tour guide on them and all of the tour guides deliver the same spiel. However, I was happy to find out that there was no tour guide on the bus, and the bus was much larger, had (better) air-conditioning and more comfortable seats. All of us boarded the bus along with some of the Cuban members of the church including Ruben’s family, Elizabeth, Roxy and more.
After about an hour of riding on the bus, we arrived at a destination, which many of us had not expected. We discovered that Maria, the pastor at the church, had arranged for us to visit a national park, which included a beach package and many other activities. Our group was given the opportunity to go horseback riding, but everyone declined due to our having had the same opportunity yesterday. Instead, we all went to a mini-zoo, which I was excited for at first, but after seeing the conditions of the zoo I grew weary.
Thomas, Anna C, Anna P, Sydney, Molly and I were all shocked to see the conditions the animals were placed in, and how small the cages were. We saw ostriches, monkeys, alligators, a turtle, a variety of bird species and some rodent species, but we were all unable to admire the exoticism and array of animals due to the inhumane conditions we were all facing. At the same time though, it wasn’t that surprising to see animals in conditions like that in Cuba, because Cuba has a lack of space to hold the animals, and money to give them a proper area so that they can live sustainably and healthfully.
Then we all walked to a place to have lunch and we felt better when we saw a bunch of goat-like creatures running freely and looking happy.
When we finally sat down to eat lunch, we were shocked to find out that it was only 10:00 a.m. because we had just eaten breakfast at 7:00 a.m. Jake, Owen, Brayden, and Anna P played B.S. with Star Wars cards while we all patiently waited for the food. We had chicken, rice, and banana chips for lunch. We were greeted by a puppy and cat who were patiently waiting under the table to grab hold of any chicken falling from our plates. Sydney and I took selfies with the puppy because it was extremely cute and tiny.
Then we hopped on the bus again, finally heading for the beach. I played peek-a-boo with Ruben’s adorably-cute daughter, Ana Abril, and taught her how to “whip” and “dab” while we were on the bus. We held hands and walked to the beach while she occasionally would look up at me and smile at me with her dimples.
Thankfully, the beach did live up to my expectations and my suspicions were terminated. The sand on the beach was a white-ish-tan color and as soft as a marshmallow. The sky was very blue and it was very hot, which made us all excited because many of our previous water activities had been rained out. The water was turquoise, crystal clear, and the perfect temperature. The waves were also tiny, but perfect. I played with Ana Abril again in the water and she finally learned my name. I learned that she can say colors and parts of the body in English.
When we got home there were visitors from all over in the church. Many of them wanted to use the showers, so Anna C, Anna P, Tom and I all took bucket showers, which were surprisingly refreshing. We ate chicken, rice, and corn for dinner and afterwards we went to a two-hour church service filled with lots of singing, dancing, and prayers. Richard sang “How Great Thou Art”, Sydney sang “Hallelujah” with the church choir and one of the church members sitting in front of us said that Owen looked like a shrimp because he was sunburned from the beach.
Father’s Day Messages From Us:
Holdyn: Happy Father’s Day. I love you. Miss you. Will see you soon. The 7 P’s are working… lol
Selah: Happy Dad’s day, Dad!! I love you and miss you very much and can’t wait to see you on Thursday…lotz of love ❤ ❤ ❤
Richard: Schmedly! Happy Father’s Day. Oh, and by the way, did you get a church on Saturday?
Brayden: Happy father’s Day, Gary! I love you and hope you shot a birdie on the golf course.
Owen: happy father’s day, I do not say this enough, but everything you do for me is truly wonderful, thank you
Thomas: I already texted you, but Happy Father’s day.
Anna P.: Happy Father’s Day, dad! I miss you so so much (mom, I miss you too) and wish that I could have spent this day with you. Can’t wait to see you Thursday!!
Anna C.: Happy Father’s Day, father! There is a Tom Waits drawing to the right of my bed for you. Miss you lots and see you very soon.
Jake: Happy father’s day, father you are the best and I can’t wait to come home and eat actual chicken and rice and beans.
Isaiah: hey dad. Happy father’s day. I miss u
Sydney: Happy father’s day, Pops! I’ve been missing you a ton, and I’ve decided that were gonna busk the heck out of MV in August. Let’s both make song lists. Love you!!!