Colin and Barb take a suitcase to Cuba

Thank you to Colin and Barb for taking a suitcase to Cuba! [NJT Manitoba]

“One of the employees at Hotel Sol Santa Maria was especially helpful: she used to be a head nurse at a hospital in Santa Clara, and she ran over to see me when we came back from Remedios, and was so pleased that we were able to do this. It was obvious from the reaction of the hospital employees that this was a pretty new thing for them (receiving assistance from Not Just for Tourists) but at least one of the ladies had heard of this before and kind of had an idea what this was all about. Being able to speak Spanish was a real bonus in this situation!

You may know that there was a very serious explosion during “La parranda” this year in Remedios. 39 people were burned and a number were critically injured. Many of these were children and they were sent to a big hospital in Santa Clara to receive care for burns. If you know of tourists who are going to Santa Clara in the next few days or weeks, there is a critical need there for the kind of assistance you are offering, specifically burn-related supplies. I’m sorry I don’t know the name of the hospital in Santa Clara, but this was an incident that made international news (I knew about the explosion before I went to Cuba this year), so it wouldn’t be hard to find out where the Remedios patients are staying.

While there is plenty of medical expertise in Cuba, physical supplies are obviously in short supply. I have been to Cuba several times, but I have never been inside a Cuban hospital before. It is an eye-opening experience for anyone, as you know. There is a clinic out on Cayo Santa Maria and I know that some deliveries have been made there in the past. Any hospital or clinic in Cuba would be a good destination, but I would suggest that there is a special need in some of the smaller places that are slightly off the Canadian tourist track, but close to the Cayos. 1) Remedios 2) Caibarien 3) Camajuani (on the way to Santa Clara airport) and 4) Santa Clara … and others.

I just explained it was humanitarian aid for Cuba and that I had packed the bag myself on the Canadian end (I was prepared to explain what was in the bag in both languages but nobody asked me for a detailed account). On the Cuban end, the bag came off the carousel in the Santa Clara airport and we picked it up with no hassle or questions whatsoever … and off we went.

Like I say, give me a call any time if you want to chat about all this or whatever. Cheers, and keep up the great work! It is so appreciated.

Colin and Barb”

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