Hello again all!
As our last final days here in Havana come to an end and we reflect on our visit here, I can’t help but feel both happy and sad to go; happy because we will see you all very soon and have missed you all very much, and of course, sad to leave such a beautiful place. Additionally, thank you to all of you, parents and staff, who made this trip possible for us. We acknowledge and appreciate your hard work and have so much gratitude for allowing us this enriching experience. With that, here is my final blog post/weekly Cuba Update!
This last week in Havana, we concluded our volunteering, working at 2 primary locations here in “the old city”. The first place we volunteered was called “Barrio Havana” a local organization that focuses on providing a safe and clean place for the local kids to play after school sports. Our end of work however focused more on painting the interior walls of where Barrio Havana’s future greenhouse stands. The main intention for the greenhouse is to to introduce more energy efficient options to locals, as they value all things “green”. The greenhouse will be self sustaining, have all clean energy systems, will hold a vertical garden, solar panels, and possibly even a small cafe. Their vision is truly remarkable, especially for a country that is more often than not, thought of to be rural and underdeveloped. Aside from the struggle and lack of recourses in Cuba, the dream for Bario Havana sounds beautiful and we feel so lucky to have been able to make even a small difference in its progress. The second location we volunteered at was at another organization called “Arco Iris”. There, the owners provide another “safe haven” for the children to retreat to after school, as many times, these children come from households that unfortunately cannot do the same. At Arco Iris, they focus on the arts, and they teach dance classes, singing classes, and art classes to the children as well. Our group organized and taught an English lesson that aimed to introduce different emotions to the kids.. We then on our final day at Arco Iris, held a cooking class where we taught the kids the importance of healthy foods. We made American Chilly and garlic bread for a treat, and had the kids help us cut up all the veggies and stir. The kids all expressed their love for the chilly and were really happy to have tried a quintessential American dish. They were all so sweet, appreciative and incredibly eager to learn. Once we were all finished eating, the kids bid us farewell with a kiss on the cheek for each of us. For me, this was my favorite volunteering experience and I know that I’ll remember those kids forever.
All in all, our last week in Havana has truly started to feel like home. Since returning here for our final week, we already felt familiar with the local restaurants, streets, and were even able to see some of the locals we had become acquainted with before we went traveling to other cities. Habana Vieja has been our home away from home for the weeks we have been away from you all, and I for one can say with utmost certainty and sincerity that I eagerly await returning to this beloved city. For now though, we are all so excited to see you very soon for the upcoming holidays and want to remind you all of how much we love and appreciate you for making this experience possible. ¡Gracias por todo! ❤️💙 Besitos y abrazos.