Cuba – Tuesday – 3.27.18

Happy Tuesday everyone! We woke up a little earlier this morning to get on the road to Havana. Breakfast today was great…fresh rolls, fish patties, coffee, and hot chocolate. As one of the kids pointed out..it’s definitely not Swiss Miss, this cocoa is the real thing. We loaded the bus ready for a day of exploring. Once we got down the road, we passed out the money that the kids were able to exchange last night. Exchanging money has proven to be a practical use of our math skills and teamwork!

The bus ride to Havana took around 2 hours and we were fortunate that it was fairly cloudy so it wasn’t too hot. As usual the kids passed the time listening to music, talking, and enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Cuban countryside. When we arrived in Havana, we toured Old Havana first and learned about the history of the four main squares. We bumped into a cart where a man was making fresh churros. I think we helped him cover his normal day’s sales pretty easily! Everyone was excited to try some.

After walking around, we took a bus to a really nice restaurant for lunch. Some of the kids ordered pizza and were surprised it was less than $3 for what would be a large pizza back home. Some folks were more adventurous…and others were excited about hamburgers and fries. I chose spaghetti and it was quite good! From there we headed to modern Havana with a quick stop on the way to see two military buildings from the era of the Revolution. One building was used in peace time and one was for times of war. There were some funny stories about the sayings on the buildings. We took the bus a few more blocks and then walked to see some of the newer buildings including the Cuba Capitol Building which looks like a twin of the US Capitol Building. We also saw the National Theater of Cathedral and the restaurant where Hemingway wrote many of his great works including “The Old Man and the Sea”.

Our last stop in Havana was the Market. The kids were excited to look around and try their bartering skills. A few kids got braids in their hair and most of them found some fun souvenirs to bring home. We loaded up the bus and began the 2 hour drive back to Matanzas. The ride was fairly easy and fun save for a few brush fires we passed along the way. Our guide said that was fairly common here since everything is so dry. The views were beautiful along the coast and we had lots of fun singing and hanging out.

We stopped at El Bolazo near the Faran House (our homebase for the week) to get ice cream on the way back. Our American mindset was that we could all grab a cone and eat walking back to the house. In Cuba…they truly enjoy their ice cream. El Bolazo ended up being a really cute ice cream parlor where they served everyone individually. It proved to be a great way to chat about what all we enjoyed about Havana to wrap up our day. Many of the kids seemed to really enjoy the history of Old Havana while others appreciated learning more about the progression of the government over the last hundred years. It was a treat to hear everyone attempt to order their ice cream in Spanish. As the ice cream came out, it was clear that some did better than others…and many of us just tried new things 🙂

We walked back to the Fargan House in time to wash up and drop off our stuff before dinner. Yes…we had the ice cream before dinner. It’s always a good strategy! Dinner tonight was fried fish, mashed potatoes, rice, garbanzo bean soup, and homemade cakes. As you can tell, this is not a “lose weight” mission trip!

After dinner, Nicholas Byrd led us in a devotion from James 1 focusing on being steadfast in the Lord and being doers rather than just hearers. The students had a lot to share about his devotion and how it relates to how our week is unfolding as a team. We reviewed the plans for tomorrow when we will be serving with the children with disabilities. Our Bible School teams split up into their round and practiced what they have planned for this time. That led to Uno and more hairbraiding before everyone headed to their own rooms a little before 10. We have had a full day! Can’t wait for tomorrow!

Megan Strange, Cuba Team Leader

Tuesday was really cool because we were able to learn so much about Cuban history and Cuban landmarks. Seeing the revolution square and talking about all the amazing things that took place there was very interesting. The market was a very unique experience because we had to negotiate our own prices and see so many different people and shops. My favorite thing I saw yesterday was the Alicia Alonso Theatre of Havana because of the architectural expertise and details. Overall it was a great day where we saw so many different places and cool people.

K.P. Pierre, 12th grade

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