At their February meeting, XYZ welcomed St. Michael’s own Sandra Phaup who spoke on her recent trip to Havana and nearby areas in Cuba. Sandra, who traveled with an education and culture tour, especially enjoyed the art and architecture of the areas she saw.
Sandra found that, though the people were quite poor, they were friendly and happy to share their stories with the tourists. Walking around the city, Sandra noticed a lot of dogs roaming the streets. Each had its own nametag. She explained that dogs were sacred to one of the local religious groups so they had no specific owners; everyone fed them.
Her first visit was to the Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Havana, a building situated among residences on a side street. The church’s guide spoke both English and Spanish but preferred Spanish. He told her, “I do not believe in churches; I believe in God and love.” Sandra was particularly impressed with the architecture of the lovely old buildings, but noted that most buildings were in great need of maintenance. She explained that although people owned individual apartments within the old buildings, no one owned the buildings so no one maintained them.
Sandra’s group also visited an organic farm which displayed luscious fruits and vegetables and was managed by a family who worked the farm. She also visited a doctor’s office which was very austere and lacked many of the usual medical devices we see in similar offices here. Other trips included a walk on the beach, a literacy museum, and a lovely interdenominational seminary.
Thanks to Sandra for taking us along on a “virtual” tour!