“Perri and I got back from Havana on Saturday afternoon. After enduring a few challenges such as a 10 hour delay flying out of Pearson, we both can say we had a truly terrific time. We both love Havana and can’t wait to visit again!
Indeed, we met many interesting people in the city. But we will always remember two in particular: Ariel and Jose. We met Ariel in a park and he started talking to us about how he attempted to get to Miami in a makeshift boat but turned back because of the sharks! His 15 year old daughter was with him and he explained how he was obligated by social custom to have a party for her and rent a camera to take her picture so she could always remember how she looked in her youth as she aged. He expressed how expensive this would be. We helped him out by giving him some money and a couple bags of clothes and basic necessities. He was extremely appreciative. Jose approached us on the sidewalk not far from our hotel and asked us for some soap. He was a very nice, proud man resorting to begging tourists for such a basic necessity. We went back to our hotel and gave him two bags containing soap, necessities, pens and footwear which he gratefully accepted. He loved the Dollar store sandals we gave him.
On Monday we hired a cab in order to bring our two suitcases of medical supplies to an address in our neighborhood:
Parroquia Jesus, Maria Y Jose
Calle Vives No. 103 entre Aguila Y Revillagigedo
La Habana, Vieja
At first we were unable to locate the address but our cabbie put in a great effort and eventually found it. It was a church. We met Jesus Mayor and showed him the documents provided. He spoke a little English and so we were able communicate. He was so appreciative and grateful to be receiving the supplies. He was a very gracious and nice man. He showed us around the old church while our cabbie waited outside at the curb. We took pictures with him and he filled out one of the forms. You can tell your volunteers that their efforts led to a successful and much needed delivery!
As to why Perri and I wanted to be a part of this, well we saw your booth at a travel show here in Toronto earlier this year. We liked the idea very much. We liked the idea of helping out people in need. I’m sure hundreds of poorer Cubans will benefit in some way from these two suitcases. And it wasn’t too far out of the way from where we were staying. It was a very rewarding experience for the both of us and one we wouldn’t hesitate to do again. “