Site Links










Top Posters
Dotsie 23647
chatty lady 20267
jawjaw 12025
jabber 10032
Dianne 6123
Latest Photos
car
Useable gifts!
Winter wonderland/fantasy for real
The Soap lady meets the Senator
baby chicks
Angel
Quilted Christmas Stocking
Latest Quilt
Shelter from the storm
A new life
Who's Online
0 Registered (), 63 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
3239 Members
63 Forums
16332 Topics
210704 Posts

Max Online: 409 @ 01/17/20 03:33 AM
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
#176938 - 03/13/09 02:09 PM Back From Cuba
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
Well, Buenas Dias everyone! We just got back just after midnight...80F degrees yesterday, barely 14F (or -10C) this morning. We're still not home yet. Hubby is driving his brother and sister-in-law to Quebec City today, I'm in Montreal, we'll head home tomorrow.

Our time in Cuba was amazing. So much to tell...when we get back home, I'd love to share some of the stories here. Before we left in January, we had not been able to get much information on the area on Cuba we were going to, in terms of post-hurricane damage. So we weren't prepared for the extent of the devastation. Many of our friends' houses just disappeared, and any that were left behind had been damaged by flooding. So many people lost everything. Many of the roofs were caved in, but people are still living in the houses (the mosquito nets we brought were definitely a much-appreciated gift this year!)

It was so sad, especially since we hadn't come prepared for that level of neediness and could have brought so much more if we had known. We brought so much stuff, but it was like a drop in the bucket compared to what they needed.

But what was so amazing was the spirit of sharing that permeated the hotels. Most of the tourists are repeat tourists, people who keep coming back every year, not so much for the sun-and-sand, but to help the people. This year the weather was actually the worst we've ever seen, to the point where everyone was wishing we had brought winter coats. But despite the weather, so many people kept coming up to us, giving us bags of clothing and money and other stuff to distribute to the people who needed it. Many tourists went home with just the clothes on their backs. It was humbling and wonderful...truly amazing.

More to tell, but I'll leave it at that for now. Still acclimatizing...my head's still a bit scrambled...I've been totally immersed in Spanish for six weeks...hard to get my brain back this morning!

I'm REALLY glad to be back here at BWS - the Internet connection in Cuba is so unreliable - it took me 20 minutes just to check my email! And it was too expensive to indulge in spending any time at BWS while down there!!!)

As for being back home, I'm not sure how I feel...we really enjoyed our time with our friends there this year, and I miss them already. So much devastation and need, and yet so much generosity of love and friendship everywhere we went. Hubby and I both delighted in the depth of connection...we have a better social life there than we do here!

Anyway, I'm going to go and read through other topics and catch up with everyone.


Edited by Eagle Heart (03/13/09 02:11 PM)
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

Top
#176944 - 03/13/09 03:15 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Eagle Heart]
orchid Offline


Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3675
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Buenas Dias, bonjour Eagle-Heart! smile I saw a travel show on Cuba. If it weren't for the disaster prone areas, Cuba looks like a good country to go cycling. It looks quite untouristy compared to other islands and relatively clean, even if more basic.

Guess it's true that there are still alot of older cars being used there?

When I saw the show, I couldn't help but think that after Fidel dies, things might change ...alot later. For reasons I can't explain but as I saw the images I kept on comparing it against China before China went onto its present post pseudo economic liberation of urban expansion...and now pollution.

Glad that you are enjoying Cuba as much as you have over the last few years, since things could change drastically in the next few decades.
_________________________
http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/ (How cycling leads to other types of adventures, thoughts)
http://velourbansism.wordpress.com


Top
#176948 - 03/13/09 04:19 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: orchid]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
Thanks Orchid. We have the same feeling, about impending changes...while they will hopefully bring better employment possibilities and improve the lives of the Cubans, the changes will also bring side effects. Hopefully it won't spoil the the generosity-of-heart of the Cuban people which is what most tourists see as the real beauty of Cuba.

Cuba is still very much a 3rd-world country. Most of the people in the area where we go don't have running water, intermittent electricity, only the most basic of food staples (this year, since the hurricane, they can't even get bananas or potatoes until the new crops start yielding - everything was destroyed in the hurricane). The only meat most people there have access to is fish or chicken (and the chickens are quite scrawny, so not much meat on the bones!) Most of the Cubans we know eat rice, beans, tomatoes and fish. But I only know first-hand about the specific area we travel to.

You only see older cars...and it's amazing and mind-boggling how ingenious these people are at keeping those cars running! Our area had its annual festival while we were there in February. It was a trip back in time to see all the old cars cruising by. Gasoline is very expensive, and most people can't afford cars or gas, so many of these cars only come out on special occasions, like the festival. Most people travel by bicycle or foot, or hitch rides on the backs of trucks.

I think Cuba would be an amazing place for cycling...you could spend a couple of weeks cycling from hotel to hotel...I think there might be special cycling tours in place, but we've seen many tourists venture out on their own...fly into Havana and then make their own arrangements as they go (which can be risky at the height of the tourist season, since many of the hotels would be full).
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

Top
#176954 - 03/13/09 05:25 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Eagle Heart]
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
Just wanted to pop in and say welcome home, Eagle....you and hubby are such wonderful people to do this for the people there. God love you!

Top
#176975 - 03/13/09 09:15 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: jawjaw]
Edelweiss3 Offline


Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 1758
Loc: American living in Germany
Hola Senora! Now our Boomer site is complete. Eagle heart is back!

Looking forward to reading about your stay. After such a long time, home sweet home will seem very quiet.

What a great idea to bring mosquito nets! Sounds like you got back as much as you gave. What a wonderful experience. And it is fantastic that you and your husband are so passionate about helping your Cuban friends. Can't wait to hear more!
_________________________
As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
Goethe

Top
#176982 - 03/13/09 09:55 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Edelweiss3]
Anno Offline
Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 4434
Loc: Minneapolis Minnesota
Hola, mi amiga!
A friend and I were just talking about Cuba, and wondering if we would like to go, once we are legally allowed entry and exit.

I am happy to see you back here, safe and sound and happy.
_________________________
Follow our story of living, loving and laughing with a debilitating disease:

http://www.multiplesystematrophyandshy-drager.blogspot.com

Top
#176995 - 03/13/09 10:48 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Anno]
chatty lady Offline
Writer

Registered: 02/24/04
Posts: 20267
Loc: Nevada
WELCOME HOME EAGLE HEART...
You were missed by us all.
_________________________
Take a peek at my BLOG:

http://charleen-micheles.blogspot.com/


Top
#177015 - 03/14/09 12:19 AM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: chatty lady]
humlan Offline


Registered: 04/15/07
Posts: 1341
Loc: Sweden
Hi there!!!

It´s been awhile since I have checked in here..and here you are!!!

I am sooo glad that your trip was productive and wonderful!!!

Lots of hugs!!!
_________________________
"some sacred place.."

Top
#177059 - 03/14/09 02:00 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: humlan]
celtic_flame Offline


Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 2930
Loc: Belfast/Northern Ireland
good to have ya back eagle and can't waite to hear all your news.
_________________________
"Our attitude either gets in the way or creates a way," Sam Glenn

Top
#177372 - 03/17/09 07:59 AM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: celtic_flame]
meredithbead Offline
The Divine Ms M

Registered: 07/07/03
Posts: 4894
Loc: Orange County, California
EagleHeart, you were greatly missed here but it was for the best of causes. It's really inspirational how you and your Hubby have taken these people into your hearts, and help them to the best of your ability. I'm looking forward to hearing your stories!
_________________________
My handcrafted jewelry:
limited edition designs
more jewelry, plus bead supplies

Poet and essayist

Top
#177377 - 03/17/09 01:26 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: meredithbead]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
Thanks everyone. It's been a whirlwind of unpacking, laundry and restocking the pantries here.

The spirit of generosity continues! Out of many stories of giving, this one amazed me. It was our last week there and we were out of almost everything by then, except the clothes that we had been wearing and would be giving away before leaving Cuba. When we put together all the bags for our family in the village for our last visit, we didn't have enough to give something to everyone who would be there. So I prayed for the "multiplication" of whatever we needed.

Then hubby met a group of older women who were avid bridge players, but there were only 7 of them and they always needed an eighth person, so hubby often filled in. This was their first time in that part of Cuba, so they asked him lots of questions about our experiences. They were quite sparked by his stories, and began to give us bags of stuff to give away to our family in the village. Everything they gave us was exactly what we needed to ensure that everyone in the village received a little something, even if it was a pair of socks or toothbrush. (Because it was so cold there this year, socks were surprisingly popular! When we gave the old grandmother a pair of socks, she immediately put them on and then gave us a huge toothless grin and big sigh of relief. It was too funny!)

Then the next day, we went to a Cuban friend's house to play dominoes. We'd been there many times before and had noticed the poverty of the older woman living next door. So we brought a few little things for her granddaughter who lives with her. You would have thought we brought her a million dollars by her reaction. So when we got back to our hotel, we desperately went through all of our bags to see what was left (not much) and put together a little package for her and took it to her the next day. She was crying as she carefully took out each item, saying "angels of God" over and over.

So later, hubby was telling these women, and well, they all went back to their rooms and came back loaded with bags of more stuff!! And money to give to her. So we went back to her house on the last morning with all of that stuff, plus what amounted to $240 of her Cuban pesos - you cannot even imagine the reaction. She couldn't believe it. She had never held that much money in her hand at one time. It was heartwrenching.

[And this particular story continues...one of the women emailed me and told me that her group is going to be collecting items for us to bring back next year...especially underwear (all sizes) and toothbrushes, two of the things we never seem to bring enough of.]

This is just one story of this amazing spirit of generosity that we saw at the resorts this year; we kept seeing it over and over again throughout our six weeks there.

And I learned that God doesn't just multiply bread and fishes...we definitely gave away more toothbrushes than we brought!!!


Edited by Eagle Heart (03/17/09 01:28 PM)
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

Top
#177388 - 03/17/09 02:31 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Eagle Heart]
orchid Offline


Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3675
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
A wonderful story of giving and glad that you were there to witness the recipients' gratefulness.
_________________________
http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/ (How cycling leads to other types of adventures, thoughts)
http://velourbansism.wordpress.com


Top
#177391 - 03/17/09 03:04 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: orchid]
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Oh Eagle, it's so good to hear your voice again, and with such great stories. Love that last one.

I'd love to send you something to take too. Please tell me needed items, or if I should send cash - whichever would work out best.

MInd telling us aobut your very first trip and how this got started? I'd love to hear. Also, wehre in Cuba? I'd like to Google it.
_________________________
Founder Emeritus of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com


Top
#177394 - 03/17/09 04:38 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Dotsie]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
Our adventures in Cuba began with hubby's two brothers. They first traveled there for vacation about 20 years ago. They were staying in a resort in Playa Santa Lucia, in Camaguey province of Cuba. One day, bored with sitting around the resort, they ventured out in a car...I can't remember if it was a taxi or if they rented a car. Anyway, they took the car way off the paved roads, along an old dirt road that led them along the coastline and eventually into a tiny village called Punta Gunado. It hardly looked like a village because most of the houses just looked like stacks of sticks with thatched roofs. But they continued along the dusty road until they saw an old man sitting in a backless rocking chair out on the front "porch" (a slab of cement). They stopped, got out of the car, and went and sat with him. They only spoke French, the old man and the people who began to gather around him only spoke Spanish. But somehow they managed to communicate. My BIL's soon realized how impoverished these people were, and more importantly how utterly cold the old man was. So the BIL's went back to resort and the next day returned with a bag of clothes - sweaters, pants, even used underwear (I know, it sounds gross, but believe me, it was much appreciated!) By the time the BIL's left Cuba, they left with only the clothes on their backs, they had given everything else away to this family.

That was the beginning. Our family has adopted their family, and over the 20 years since, we have all seen firsthand the great improvements in their lives. Now all the chairs have backs, most people have new underwear every year, and we speak more Spanish and they speak more English (some even speak a bit of French). The original BIL has since passed away, as has the old man. The old man had been on his death-bed for many weeks, but the story goes that he knew our family were coming and waited. My BIL's (and my hubby on that trip) arrived and went to visit him the next day and the day after, the old man died, asking to be buried in the first sweater my BIL had brought him all those years ago. The family still tells the story to this day of how he waited to see them before dying.

Hubby started going in 1994 after retiring from the military (before that, he wasn't allowed to go to Cuba). I started going in 2003, because hubby's family always went in Jan/Feb and I could never get the time off work. And since I was working for National Defence as well, I wasn't allowed to go to Cuba either until I retired.

So that's how it started. There's a very strong bond between our families. A few years ago, when my BIL was there on what would be his last visit, he was visiting the family when he had an accident, didn't make it to the bathroom in time. Our Cuban family all gathered around him, every single woman, man and child, tenderly undressed him, filled a tub with all of their precious (rationed) water, carefully and lovingly bathed him, washed all of his clothes and shoes, redressed him in some of their clothes (most of which he had given to them over the years) and took amazing care of him. Never wrinkled their noses, never blinked an eye at the mess or the stench...pure loving kindness.

Our family will NEVER forget that kindness or the love those people showed him that day. That forever cemented the bonds.


Edited by Eagle Heart (03/17/09 04:40 PM)
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

Top
#177418 - 03/17/09 08:35 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Eagle Heart]
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
This is an amazing story. Has anyone journaled about this through the years? Is there a way for you all to communicate during the year? I'm guessing not. Can't believe what a little boredom led to. It sounds liek you've adopted a village, not just a family.
_________________________
Founder Emeritus of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com


Top
#177425 - 03/17/09 09:30 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Dotsie]
Edelweiss3 Offline


Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 1758
Loc: American living in Germany
You know what I thought while reading your post, Eagle? I thought what an amazing husband you have, and how wonderful you compliment each other. The joy of giving; - it’s more than special to be able to share something like that.

Will you be posting photos?
_________________________
As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
Goethe

Top
#177434 - 03/17/09 10:14 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Dotsie]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Dotsie
This is an amazing story. Has anyone journaled about this through the years?
Nobody has written anything down, but everyone in our Cuban family knows the history; just this year, one of the women retold the story about the first meeting while everyone was gathered in the house. I guess that's how it's all kept alive.

Quote:
Is there a way for you all to communicate during the year? I'm guessing not.
We all write letters back and forth, but they take 6 weeks to get through - that makes it about 3-4 months before the original writer receives a response. And we have to be careful what we write, because censorship is still alive. We always have to be careful not to inadvertently endanger our friends with what we write. One of the saddest realities in terms of communication is that they think they can email us, but very rarely do the emails make it through, and our emails back to them rarely make it through to them, but they don't know that (and we can't discuss the "why" of that with them), so they think we're just not answering them when they write to us. We do send Christmas cards back and forth.

Quote:
Can't believe what a little boredom led to. It sounds liek you've adopted a village, not just a family.
That's why it gets harder and harder every year to make sure everyone gets a little gift - every time we go back there are more people there! There are about 30 people in our "core" family, but when you add cousins, fiancees and new babies, it's more like 45-50. Plus we also try to share stuff with the hotel staff and their families, as well as other people in another village we go to frequently to play dominoes with other friends. I would say that altogether, we doled out well over 125 gift-bags this year. In each bag we try to put toothbrushes, emery boards, nail polish, needles & thread, medicine (Tylenol or Aspirin sample packs that have been donated to us for the trip), a skipping rope for girls and either a hot wheel car or frisbee for the boys, hair scrunchies, combs, pens, pencils, erasers, underwear for the children, socks and at least one specialty gift like a crank flashlight, stove lighter and/or Swiss Army knife (I buy them in lots on eBay). We also bring mosquito nets, and other various things that we use during our time there and then leave behind (swim goggles, towels, clothespins, etc.)

It's fun shopping around for bargains. I look all year for one extra-special gift to bring to Sarah, my adopted abuela (grandmother). Usually something like a beautifully boxed soap, special linens...this year I brought her a beautiful fan we bought in Madrid and a flowery pillow sham for her bed. Simple, lightweight, but she loves these silly frilly things. A couple of years ago we brought her a Spanish Bible - it's still her most prized possession and something she could never have afforded to buy on her own - as far as we know, you still can't even buy Bibles in Cuba.

Anyway, sorry for rambling. It's our passion, and it's hard to stop!
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

Top
#177437 - 03/17/09 10:20 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Eagle Heart]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
Edelweiss, I'll post some photos, probably next week. I used to put together a webpage with pictures and stories, until we realized that we were inadvertently putting our friends at risk by putting their faces and names in public like that. So I'll just post a few fun pictures here once I sort through the hundreds we took!
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

Top
#177442 - 03/17/09 10:50 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Eagle Heart]
chatty lady Offline
Writer

Registered: 02/24/04
Posts: 20267
Loc: Nevada
Eagle please correct me if this next thought is wrong on my part BUT when I once offered to send along some items with you didn't you say, "no" because it was too difficult to carry too much stuff? I would love to send you a check so you can give them money or buy whatever else they might need. Would that be all right?Your stories are so touching and its hard to imagine the poverty unless seen first hand. YOU need to write a book about this one day when and if things change in the Cuban government.
_________________________
Take a peek at my BLOG:

http://charleen-micheles.blogspot.com/


Top
#177466 - 03/18/09 12:06 AM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: chatty lady]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
Chatty, to be honest, I just don't know what to say when people offer to send stuff for Cuba. At the top of my reasons why is that we just don't have the time, energy or mental resources to provide accountability or even reasonably accurate feedback to anyone who donates. In the past people have donated stuff that's too heavy or difficult to pack, and then have been upset/disappointed when we told them we couldn't take those items. We know the people we're buying for, we customize much of our shopping to the specific people on our list. If something someone sends us doesn't match anyone on the list, we can't afford to waste precious weight/space restrictions on stuff we can't use.

Weight restriction is a constant barrier to taking more stuff. We've discovered that by going first class (not as expensive as it sounds) our weight allowance doubles, so it ends up being cheaper to fly first class than to pay hundreds of dollars for extra weight, which is what we used to do. We also have restrictions on the Cuba end as to what we're allowed to take in. If we take too much of one thing, they notice and stop us.

The other concern I have is that Cuba is the spark of passion that God has put in our hearts...but I believe that God gives everyone a different spark of passion for different causes to each person. Yours is for animals and strays and volunteer work in various areas of your own community. Others here have a passion for other causes...I don't want to take money or energy away from THOSE passions. I celebrate and prefer that people channel that money and passion into whatever area they feel most drawn to.

In large part, I share our experiences here, not only because this is my second home and it's natural to want to share my heart and adventures with my sisters, but also in part to show how easy it can be to change people's lives. A pair of socks, a toothbrush, a package of needles, a new pair of underwear, a skipping rope...such simple things, yet they bring such joy.

So I don't know what to say in response to kind offers like yours. I honestly don't want to seem ungrateful, but I also don't want to make anyone feel obligated or to draw resources away from your own neighbourhoods and passion-areas. Does that make any sense? By the time you would send a check to me, we would lose money to banking administrative services, then more in the exchange to Cuban pesos - and I would not be able to keep accurate records to provide accountability for every cent. That alone would bother me. I would be able to tell you that it went to someone who needed it, but not exactly who or exactly how much of it ended up in their hands after all the service charges and exchange fees.

But your offer touches my heart and I thank you.
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

Top
#177473 - 03/18/09 12:54 AM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Eagle Heart]
chickadee Offline
Member

Registered: 09/26/04
Posts: 3910
Loc: Alabama
Chatty you have such a giving and sharing soul. Welcome back Eagle who also has a giving and sharing soul. I missed ya big time.
Now I have a question. Is it possible to get cuban exchange at a bank in the US in the form of a cheque and forward it to someone in Cuba? I am curious. What about mailing something light? Let us know what you think Eagle.
_________________________
chick
~ Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you're alive, it isn't ~
~ Prayer is the most we can do for another human being ~

Top
#177477 - 03/18/09 02:24 AM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: chickadee]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
Chick, not a simple answer. First, many of the neediest Cubans we know don't have bank accounts so would not be able to cash a cheque. There is a way to put money directly into a Cuban bank account if you have their bank info and their personal ID #, but the admin and exchange fees are high. I'm not sure what the percentage is, but I'll wager a guess that after all of the fees, they would get about 75-80% of the cheque or money order.

Secondly, mail still gets opened en route...i.e., not everything we send makes it to the people we send it to. In fact, we've stopped sending care packages in the mail because the rates have gone way up and because the packages either don't make it intact or don't make it at all. That's expensive for us and disappointing to the people at the other end. We've been to the Cuban embassy to complain, and there have been improvements - my BIL still sends out about 40 packages a year and most of them make it, albeit usually with something missing. I think something gets removed in lieu of custom tax (which most of our Cuban friends wouldn't be able to pay, so perhaps they offer one of the items in the package as a bartering chip?)

At this time, if someone really wanted to get money into the hands of the people who need it, the best way would be to give it someone who's going there. If anyone really wants to contribute, I would make sure that any money sent to me would go in a special envelope and all contents of that envelope would make it directly into the hands of someone who desperately needs it, remembering that the bank and exchange rates will each take some of it.

I don't think you can exchange US dollars directly into Cuban pesos outside of Cuba. Cuba has two currencies, the tourist pesos for tourists and regular pesos for Cubans. Cubans cannot officially use the tourist pesos in most stores (but can and do use it on the black market).

As for mailing something light, do you mean to Cuba or to me? Mailing anything to Cuba is risky. If someone really wanted to mail something for us to take, here would be a few light ideas: packages of needles, thread (e.g., white, black, denim blue), underwear (all sizes), socks (all sizes, even toddler), safety pins, emery boards, disposable razors (men's and women's), small frisbees and hair thingies (scrungies, butterfly clips, etc). These are all things that we try to put in every bag, so need dozens of but rarely ever bring enough.

I just want to add that these are are the same sorts of things that are desperately needed in women's shelters and homeless shelters in everyone's own communities...it's okay to put together a bag or two of these things and take them to your nearest shelter instead of sending them to Cuba...


Edited by Eagle Heart (03/18/09 02:36 AM)
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

Top
#177513 - 03/18/09 02:38 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Eagle Heart]
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
Eagle, you are a fount of info...can you tell me how you and hubby got started doing this? I'm sure you've given this info before, but I don't recall reading it. I would love to know. And why Cuba? I'm just curious...and hope I'm not overstepping my boundaries with the questions....no?

Oh and thank you so much for including the part about the shelters. I know I forget myself sometimes that the needs of others is staring me in the face right here at home. Oh boy...I need to get back on track and see what the Children's Advocacy Center needs right now. Thanks gal!

Top
#177532 - 03/18/09 06:03 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: jawjaw]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
JJ, hubby got involved through his two brothers (who originally went there for vacation about 20 years ago and met the old man on the front porch - that's how it all began.) His brothers (and their families) went every year, so when hubby retired from the military, he went with them. I couldn't go because I was still working with the military (as a civvie). Then after switching jobs, I was able to go to Cuba, but we went to Havana and other parts. Hubby's family always went in the winter and I could never get time off work to go at that time.

Hubby's brother still goes every year, as well as the other BIL's widow, and hubby's sister and her husband (though they didn't go this year). Most years there are 8 or 9 of us there.

I don't know why Cuba. In those days, it was very cheap. My BIL's probably chose there because it was the cheapest and safest. Cuba is still one of the safest places on earth for tourists. It's customary in Cuba for tourists from all four hotels to take an after-supper stroll along the street, even to go stroll through the other hotels to see what's going on and who's there. Since many of the tourists in that area are return-guests who come back year after year, it becomes like a big family reunion out on the street!

The biggest attraction for us in Cuba are the people, the Cubans. Very happy, kind, lovely people who have nothing and yet would still gladly give you the shirt off their backs. We've traveled a lot but have never met friendlier or kinder people anywhere else in the world. They know how to live, I mean, really live. Family, music, dancing, laughter are all the mainstays of their lives. It's infectious. Some of the most pleasant moments we've ever had on vacation are the times we've spent with our friends, simply sitting in rocking chairs and chatting, or playing dominoes with the family.
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

Top
#177569 - 03/18/09 09:28 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Eagle Heart]
chatty lady Offline
Writer

Registered: 02/24/04
Posts: 20267
Loc: Nevada
I understand and now remember that was the same way you explained before when I asked. Thanks for being patient with my failing memory. Oh and rest assured that I would neither need or expect an accounting of any funds sent to you for the people in Cuba. You are the expert and beyond question. I may go to my bank and see if I can change some American money into Cuban money and send you the proper Cuban currency. That should eleviate any problem, what do you think?
_________________________
Take a peek at my BLOG:

http://charleen-micheles.blogspot.com/


Top
#177575 - 03/18/09 10:00 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: chatty lady]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
Chatty, you really are one of the kindest souls in the universe! Your light shines so bright!

I'm not sure you can send money through the mail...it's illegal here in Canada, to the point that Canada Post is authorized to open the envelope and change the cash into a money order (keeping some to cover fees, of course).

I'm not sure what's the best option to suggest. You don't happen to have PayPal, do you?
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

Top
#177631 - 03/19/09 11:39 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Eagle Heart]
chatty lady Offline
Writer

Registered: 02/24/04
Posts: 20267
Loc: Nevada
No, but not a problem, I will have it when it comes time to send something. Will PM you later in the month.
_________________________
Take a peek at my BLOG:

http://charleen-micheles.blogspot.com/


Top
#178859 - 04/01/09 12:06 AM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: chatty lady]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
After wading through almost 700 pictures, here are a few:

This is actually a carpenter's workshop, and a barbershop.


This shows some of the hurricane damage. Somebody still lives in this house! Some of our friends lost their entire house and/or all of their belongings.



I love this picture of the Old Abuela in the village where we go to visit our "adopted" family.


Chuppa Tongues!
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

Top
#178875 - 04/01/09 07:45 AM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Eagle Heart]
Edelweiss3 Offline


Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 1758
Loc: American living in Germany
Kids...love them. They are great all around the world. Good shots, Eagle!
_________________________
As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
Goethe

Top
#178996 - 04/02/09 06:31 AM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Edelweiss3]
orchid Offline


Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3675
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Great to see the photos, Eagle. It would be nice that one of the children or two will be able to travel or do something that meets their dreams.

This is an Irish female travel writer (Dervla Murphy) who just had a travel book released this year: http://www.amazon.ca/Island-That-Dared-J...3290&sr=8-1

She has a long personal history of amazing travel around the world and writing travelogue books. Earlier she used to cycle right up to her 70's. But now, she has modified her travel.

She tries to research about the places to give some context to what she sees and learns. There aren't many travel writers who can travel and write deeply to explain about places with difficult complex but rich histories. And most likely, Cuba is one of them.
_________________________
http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/ (How cycling leads to other types of adventures, thoughts)
http://velourbansism.wordpress.com


Top
#179384 - 04/06/09 04:23 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: orchid]
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
I can't quite imagine a life like that. I hear over and over from the people in our church who take mission trips to Honduras, that the people are the most delightful you'd ever want to meet. We're so spoiled.
_________________________
Founder Emeritus of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com


Top
#181368 - 05/03/09 11:34 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Dotsie]
orchid Offline


Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3675
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Eagle, I'm reading a travelogue book by David McFadden, An Innocent in Cuba. He's Canadian. Book covers approx. 2004 time period.

It will be interesting ..for the whole world to understand what life is truly like /will be like under Fidel and later on, when he isn't in power. There seems to be so much unreleased /undiscovered creativity there. We need to hear more from so much more Cuban writers/residents.

Or maybe many of us (like myself) don't know the good internal authors living in Cuba.
_________________________
http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/ (How cycling leads to other types of adventures, thoughts)
http://velourbansism.wordpress.com


Top
#181376 - 05/04/09 02:24 AM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: orchid]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
Orchid, the reason why you wouldn't be able to hear the "real story" from within Cuba is because they're not allowed to speak or write the truth without risking their lives and the lives of their families. When we visit our friends, we are very careful not to get into any political discussions, because we know how dangerous it is for them if they say anything against the regime. We have often had to beg our Cuban friends to stop talking about these things because we know better than they do that the walls have ears and that as soon as we leave, our friends will get a visit. We cannot trust ANYONE there (in terms of being able to talk politics), because there is no way to know who's a government informant because they are everywhere. It's the ideal place for anyone with paranoia to feel right at home, because it's probably the one place where paranoid is the safest way to be.

The reason we keep going back is because we know that until the system changes (and it will and has already begun to change for the better), the people need help to get through to the other side of these changes...I believe that everyone's heart is sparked with a passion for something, right now ours is helping these people. But we can't ever talk about the "why" of it all with them, for their safety. It's also why I don't post too many pictures of their faces online anymore, because we found out that it also puts them at risk.
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

Top
#181405 - 05/04/09 02:57 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Eagle Heart]
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
How scary. Never thought of posting their photos. What time frame do you see for their best change?
_________________________
Founder Emeritus of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com


Top
#181445 - 05/05/09 01:01 AM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Dotsie]
orchid Offline


Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3675
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Eagle, that type of political sensitive environment and monitoring in Cuba, sounds like what it was in mainland China before the 1990's, in East Germany and the former Soviet Union. As a teenager, we got letters from relatives in mainland China, with stamps bearing Mao Tse-Tung's portrait. Now he's out of fashion.

It'll be interesting to see how the Cubans deal with the future. I only hope that it is the Cubans that determine their country's political, economic and social destiny. It is not necessary for any political invasion from any other foreign country to 'save'/liberate Cuba. As soon as that happens, the political-economic scapegoating and blaming of the invading/colonizing country starts. Doesn't help either country in the long run.


_________________________
http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/ (How cycling leads to other types of adventures, thoughts)
http://velourbansism.wordpress.com


Top
#181446 - 05/05/09 01:54 AM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: orchid]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
I agree, Orchid. Repression is still repression whoever is pulling the strings. Cuba is on its way to freedom, but IMO it has to come slowly and carefully, to avoid the whole scapegoating thing, which could emerge out of any attempts to "quick-fix" the country. It's a beautiful country with beautiful, highly-educated people who are more than capable of bringing the country up to world standards given the chance - and resources - to shine.

Dotsie, I'm not even remotely politically-savvy...I couldn't even guess at timelines. Cuba is one of the few situations that I can deal with best in a "here and now" focus. I put political blinders on while there and just love the people stuck in the fallout.
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

Top
#181492 - 05/05/09 02:39 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Eagle Heart]
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Eagle, we should all wear political blinders. I love that term.
_________________________
Founder Emeritus of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com


Top
#181503 - 05/05/09 03:43 PM Re: Back From Cuba [Re: Dotsie]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4876
Loc: Canada
I just received an email from a woman (another tourist) we met while in Cuba. She's managed to collect 44lbs of donations for Cuba...underwear, toothbrushes, needles and threads. And she has a friend who's coming to Ottawa in June, so she volunteered to deliver the boxes of stuff to us, along with some money that various people gave to this woman to give to us.

I remember many years ago hearing that saying, though I can't quote it exactly: "if it's meant to be, you don't even have to hang out a sign - the people will just come". I've been questioning my purpose...it would seem that I'm getting all the signs that helping Cuba is a bona fide "sanctified" purpose. It's good to get that affirmation from out of the blue. We've also been helping our next door neighbour fill boxes for the Philipines. As they say in Spanish, poco a poca, little by little, we change the world one person, one tummy at a time.
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

Top
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >



NABBW.com | Forum Testimonials | Newsletter Sign Up | View Our Newsletter | Advertise With Us
About the Founder | Media Room | Contact BWS
Resources for Women | Boomer Books | Recent Reads | Boomer Links | Our Voices | Home

Boomer Women Speak
9672 W US Highway 20, Galena, IL 61036 • info@boomerwomenspeak.com • 1-877-BOOMERZ

Boomer Women Speak cannot be held accountable for any personal relationships or meetings face-to-face that develop because of interaction with the forums. In addition, we cannot be held accountable for any information posted in Boomer Women Speak forums.

Boomer Women Speak does not represent or endorse the reliability of any information or offers in connection with advertisements,
articles or other information displayed on our site. Please do your own due diligence when viewing our information.

Privacy PolicyTerms of UseDisclaimer

Copyright 2002-2019 • Boomer Women SpeakBoomerCo Inc. • All rights reserved