“the doctor smiled and said “Ms. Kane really, for us?” I said yes, and both of them began to tear up. It was difficult to control my own emotions at this point.”
This was an unbelievable experience from beginning to end
We left for Varadero Cuba on Thursday August 27/15 with a full suitcase of Medical supplies provided by Not Just Tourists Toronto. When we arrived, I had asked my son to speak with staff to obtain an address of a medical clinic that is used by locals and is in need of supplies. The bellboy (Edmund) had suggested an emergency in Varadero, approximately 10 minutes from the hotel. Edmund arranged for a taxi for all of us and translated all relevant information to the driver. When we got into his taxi, we realized that he could converse in English fluently. He had explained that he lived in Varadero with his wife and 2 children. He proceeded to tell us that his 4 year old daughter had fallen out of a window 2 years prior and he had rushed her to this clinic. He stated that the doctors were “kind and professional”. Once we arrived at the clinic I had met with a doctor and a nurse, introduced ourselves and explained that we were there to deliver a gift of medical supplies from a not-for-profit organization called Not Just Tourists Toronto. Their initial reaction was disbelief and caution. After restating my original purpose the doctor smiled and said “Ms. Kane really, for us?” I said yes, and both of them began to tear up. It was difficult to control my own emotions at this point. The doctor explained that they are provided with medical supplies; however its never enough and they often run out of essentials and have to improvise. Very very hard to hear. Needless to say they were very thank-ful to the Not Just Tourists Toronto organization and provided the attached thank-you note. Upon our request, the taxi driver drove us to the Santa Elvira Church. We also had a suitcase full of new and used school supplies and children’s clothes to deliver to the parish priest. The secretary had explained that the priest will deliver the donation to cities in Cuba that are in need most. Once we returned to our hotel, I attempted to settle our taxi bill with the driver. He refused to accept any money. He then hugged us and said that he was “proud of us and happy to be part of a good thing.” Cubans are a proud people with big hearts.
This was the experience that I had hoped my children would have while on vacation. I would gladly do this again.
Kelly K, Vaughan