by Jayde Dieu ’20
Yesterday we got to enjoy the beauty of the city of Havana by visiting El Muraleando, a museum of murals, and the national aquarium. We danced with Cubans of all ages, and we tried our best to match their skill and passion. We found, however, that theirs is unparalleled. We also got to experience Quakerism through a foreign yet familiar lens. Through those experiences, we were able to learn so much about the people of Cuba and their culture. We shared a lot of our own as well.
Today, we participated in some service for a Senior Living Home in La Habana. The residents and staff of the home were so kind, and they welcomed us with open arms and lots of tasks to fulfill. We began to paint in different spaces of the home, and we interacted with all of the members while doing so. We met a man named Antonio who worked at the home and directed our service for the day. He had the best sense of humor, and he was very patient with us as we worked through painting the spaces. Along with our brushes and gloves for the day, we brought a speaker to make our work more exciting for ourselves and our new friends. One of my favorite moments of the day was when we played Como La Flor by Selena on the speaker. Immediately, the staff and residents of the home were delighted by our love for her music, and they taught us a few new moves as well. Seeing the smiles of many different people from different walks of life connecting through music and dance was beautiful. It is a moment I will never forget.
After our work, we took a trip to a local park that was full of teens, adults, and beyond that were exercising, practicing, and having fun. We brought a few soccer and basketballs, and we joined in. We got to interact with many kids, and they taught us a thing or two about soccer, baseball, and having fun. Spending the evening in the sun with familiar and new friends was the best way to end such an incredible day.
Tomorrow, we will be returning to the senior home to continue painting, and I am excited for the new memories that we are going to make.