I’d like to take you back to 2009. The year I fell in love with traveling, cultures, a complete new world. In that typical year I went to Cuba, Beautiful Cuba.
When you arrive at the airport and you’re walking out of the airplane, you can feel the warmth bumping into you. When you look around you immediately understand why the employees on the airport aren’t really moving. It’s just too H-O-T! During the bus trip to the hotel I learned a lot from the travel guide; a Cuban with a lot of humor. That made the 60 minutes trip a lot more comfortable. While I was listening I was also looking outside to get a glimpse of the island’s beauty; the famous Cuban cars, people with horses, fruit stands, Che Guevara on almost every building and last but not least: Dutch old buses! If you hop on, you think it will bring you to Amsterdam.. Afterwards I’m glad the bus trip took an hour because within that same hour I got an amazing impression of the island.
The people I met are extremely kind, eager to learn and they all love to sing and dance. I know this sounds generally well-known, but I can’t say anything else than: it’s the truth! They are amazing.
”And still they love sharing and beging able to give presents to us.”
In one week I got to know their goals, their lifestyle, concerns and of course I experienced that ‘’reality check’’. The people living in Cuba have very little. Primary school teachers spend their afternoons in hotels to clean the rooms, because the money is where the tourists are. They earn more money in one afternoon while cleaning than they do in one month as a teacher. And still they love sharing and being able to give presents to us.
I also learned that speaking different languages is really important for them. They have the feeling they need to be prepared for when they’re allowed to leave the island. Therefor they’re learning as many languages as possible. I heard them say: ‘’I never know where I’ll end up when I leave Cuba’’ and ‘’I would like to go to Germany or France’’. This person was actually learning English, German, French and he asked me to teach him one Dutch word a day: ‘’If I learn one word a day, I know 365 words by the end of the year’’. I thought that was really smart of him!
”I’ve never felt more welcome than that moment.”
In 2013 I went back to Cuba and I’ve met the same persons again that year. They recognized me directly and hugged me for five minutes. After 4 years not seeing people, I’ve never felt more welcome than that moment.
Because the people don’t have the gadgets we all have, they spend more time outside, with friends and family. Cuba has a few big cities and there you can find shops, television and of course bars. There you can watch the locals dancing and join them if you like. They don’t take dance classes, they just dance. That’s something that makes me smile a lot! Their passion for music, dancing and each other is something outrageous, something we can learn from.
Nowadays I’m still thinking a lot about Cuba. I’m hoping for them that they can get to see the beauty of the rest of the world, but on the other hand I’m afraid their beautiful country will be changing in just a few years when other countries have the possibility to influence them.
Do you wish to visit Cuba some day? I would highly recommend it to you! Hopefully you’re on time to see the pure beauty of Cuba.