Impressions

Six Descriptive words

Beautiful- It doesn’t matter where you look while you’re in Cuba.

Boat ride out of the caveDominique Lawson

Boat ride out of the cave
Dominique Lawson

There’s beauty everywhere. Whether it be in the faces of the habaneros, the view of the ocean, or the architecture and art, there’s always something to appreciate. It’s understandable why our group couldn’t keep up with our guide, there’s so much to enjoy that you want to capture it and share.

Kind- The people of Cuba are all very kind and loving. I don’t think I encountered one hostile person in the entire time that I was there. Everywhere that you turn in the US there’s a foul face or attitude. It was refreshing to be somewhere that is generally happy.

 Feminine- Cuba idolizes the woman. Her body is appreciated, her ethic is uplifted,

ella cubana

Ella Cubana, 1978 Ruperto Jay Matamoros

her choices are respected. It’s a country that has machismo present but that truly finds a balance between machismo and uplifting women. I experienced a lot of the Cuban appreciation from the males there but outside of that it was present in a vast majority of the art that I saw.

 Isolated- Although Cuba has connections all over the world it’s like being in a completely new world there. By isolated I do not mean cut off. I mean that while I was there, I felt separated from almost everything that I had known back home. It was very refreshing.

ocean drop

The side of the fortress, the blue ocean
Dominique Lawson

 Energized- The city of Havana was always lively. It did not matter the hour, there were always people out. Anytime we ate out there were live bands filled with energy and talent. The way that the people talk to each other and treat one another with respect and love, even if they are strangers.

 Interesting- This word just covers everything else that I saw. The country is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The old cars make you feel like you’re back in time but visiting the university shows that the technology is still present. There are massive differences between our culture and theirs and yet relationships are formed that we’ll never forget. The ocean taunted us the entire time with its smell and beauty yet we were able to appreciate it from afar even if we wanted to just jump in. The differences between each building that you pass in architecture and color was crazy. Finally, there’s always something to catch your eye. The billboards are all political, the graffiti has a story, the posters inform you. Every day was a new experience.

from the lighthouse Dominique Lawson

from the lighthouse
Dominique Lawson

“Enjoy our country, but try not to understand it.”

At the beginning of the week, the most difficult thing to do was to adjust to the language and culture. It was difficult to understand people. Once you understood what they were saying the forwardness of the culture would take you by surprise. There were a lot of catcalls, which was expected but they were never disrespectful or too pushing. Just appreciation, which is not what I’m used to based on the states. Toward the end It was mainly just trying to take everything in. The stories that we would gather from our tour guide about how people pass time together were not what I expected. The hardest thing was to adjust to the lifestyle. People are happy, they have very little but they’re happy. They get paid what they can live off of. It seems like so little to us but to them it’s not a worry. They’re always working to get more even if their work day is done. They maximize their talents and work with them to form careers.

Cuba vs. everywhere else

As I stated earlier, Cuba is truly like no other country that I’ve ever been to. In the Bahamas I could see a similar work ethic but it wasn’t from as many people. There were a few there, hundreds in Cuba. The political presence is very high. It was almost as if everything had a political undertone. Every country has something that they truly fight for. It was really off-putting to find out that one of those things for Cuba is 5 people in our jails here that most of us don’t even know about.

the afro-cuban experience Dominique Lawson

the afro-cuban experience
Dominique Lawson

What I found completely unique to Cuba was the sheer happiness that they express. It doesn’t matter the fatigue, it doesn’t matter the time of day, the Cubans are just happy to be alive and thriving. They are a breath of fresh air. I miss it already.

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