Blogs from Matanzas, Oeste, Cuba, Central America Caribbean


Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Matanzas April 30th 2012

29.4.2012 As planned up 4.30 to catch flight from San Juan to Panama City with Copa Airlines, was a smallish plane but all good arrived Panama City 8.20a.m. for 11.52a.m. flight to Havana (3.1/2 layover). When checking our bags through in Panama City the check in girl put a standby sticker on our luggage, John questioned this and she said you have to go to the gate to get seating allocation. Our 5 STAR experience was just about to crash to about a 2, were told at gate plane fully booked and unless they could get volunteers to take another flight we would have to catch a much later flight, we did not leave that counter until that flight boarded, NO GO for us, you can imagine John, blood pressure sky high and the COPA Airlines ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Matanzas June 27th 2011

FIRST CLASS OF CUBAN PRISON CHAPLAINS GRADUATE On Thursday, 16 June 2011, a total of 87 pastors and lay leaders made up the first graduating class of prison chaplains in Cuba. Co-sponsored by the Ecumenical Council of Churches in Cuba and the Ecumenical Seminary in Matanzas, the graduation took place at the Quaker Center in Gibara, on Cuba’s northeast coast. Most of these graduates, from 26 different denominational backgrounds, have done prison visitation for years. With the Cuban government’s easing of restrictions on church contact with inmates, Dr. Francisco Rodés, retired pastor of First Baptist Church, Matanzas, saw a significant opportunity to increase the Cuban churches’ ministry among inmates. “Few of these chaplains receive economic support for this work,” said Rodés, who now serves as the Cuban Council of Churches’ national coordinator for prison ministry... read more
Prison Chaplain Training Team

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Matanzas June 9th 2011

LEIGH WROTE A WONDERFUL STORY ABOUT OUR TRIP TO THE CAVE WITH A MAGICAL SWIMMING HOLE (SEE PICTURE OF RACHEL FLOATING). SADLY, THE STORY COULD NOT BE FOUND AT PRESS TIME. IF IT TURNS UP, WE WILL POST IT LATER. KNOW THAT LEIGH IS BACK TO HER OLD SELF AFTER A FEW WEEKS OF AN ENERGY-DRAINING AND BELLY-ACHING SICKNESS. Joy Cucita Ever since I stopped going to Cuban school, I have had a Spanish teacher named Cucita. I go to her house for class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2-3 p.m. I have noticed a great change in my Spanish since I started classes with her. She has helped me a lot and I am grateful. Cucita’s house is on the main street called 2 de Mayo. It is about 2 ½ blocks from the ... read more
Joy and Cucita
Leigh and Her Cuban Teachers
Pressure Point Treatment

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Matanzas April 8th 2011

From Las Ninas Have you ever wondered about a Cuban baptism? Would you imagine that it would include collecting firewood, pasture sledding on palm leaves and swimming in a lake afterwards? I bet ya’ll think that is crazy, but for us - normal. Well, usually we don’t pasture sled but sometimes we swim and the firewood was collected for a bonfire we made to cook a stew to eat after the baptism. Before the Baptism the kids, grownups and teenagers separated into groups for a retreat for Lent. The kids walked around the lake, skipped rocks and played. The teenagers talked under a tree and the grown-ups did a bible study. After some songs, some of the teenagers climbed up the palm trees and got some of the dead branches and cut them with machetes. We ... read more
Homemade coconut pie
Leigh's Class Learning About Healthy Eating
The Bici Taxi

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Matanzas February 19th 2011

Blog Feb 1st DISCLAIMER: THIS POST WAS SUPPOSED TO GO UP TWO WEEKS AGO. WE WILL SPARE YOU THE LIST OF COMPLICATIONS AND EXCUSES. TO AVOID FURTHER DELAYS, REPORTS ABOUT OUR RECENT TRIP EAST, THE WONDERFUL TIME WITH OUR PASTORS KEN AND NANCY AND THE GIRLS ONGOING CUBAN EDUCATION WILL COME LATER (THOUGH YOU WILL SEE A FEW PICTURES). School I have been going to school for a few weeks now. I like it a lot. I have a very nice teacher. Everything she says she says to me another time slowly. Now Joy is going too. I am excited to walk with her every morning. The school is one block down the road. Also, every morning all the students get together and chant three songs about our school and Cuba. I have not done that ... read more
On the Road Again
More Playtime with VT
Che Memorial

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Matanzas January 5th 2011

A Cuban New Year From what I could tell, the New Year in Cuba is a bigger holiday than Christmas. They have some of the same traditions, like staying up ‘till midnight, but they also have some different traditions. Our neighbor Victor had the idea of roasting a pig for our New Year’s Eve supper. We invited our other neighbors Oscar and Marianela, and Victor and Danedy invited some friends of theirs to come named Betsy and Carlos who brought their beautiful husky. We all contributed to the meal. Victor cooked the pig. Mom and I cooked a Cuban kind of cake called flan and yummy banana chips called chicharitas. Marianela made salad and prepared a root called Yucca (don’t let the name give you the wrong impression. It is really good!) and the typical rice ... read more
Monster Man
Making Flan
(Not So) Wise Men

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Matanzas December 4th 2010

La Habana, by Leigh One day I woke up very early. We went to the dining hall to eat breakfast. When we got home, we got ready to go to La Habana (Havana). We were going on a trip with most of the seminary students. When we got outside, everybody was really excited. And I was too. Finally the bus pulled up and everybody got on. The Ride To La Habana It was long but fun. It was a school bus that was painted in the USA by Pastors for Peace and it was very beautiful. In La Habana We finally arrived in Havana and went to one big big house that is now a museum. We walked from room to room with our jaws dropping because it was a decorative arts museum. Then, it was ... read more
Existential Crisis
Neighbors on the Porch
Los Monitos

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Matanzas November 10th 2010

DISCLAIMER: REFLECTIONS FROM LAS NINAS WERE NOT AVAILABLE AT PRESS TIME. WE UNDERSTAND YOUR DISAPPOINTMENT. WE PLEDGE FULL PARTICIPATION FOR THE NEXT POST. Kiran’s Musings Today makes 4 weeks in Cuba. Describing a routine will be impossible as one has not yet emerged. I therefore will just give some examples and stories as a glimpse of our life here so far. Cuba has modernized in various ways since our last visit almost 2 years ago. Some new small Japanese cars have taken the place of many of the classic old Chevys that filled picture books of Cuba. Large Mercedes buses are the main long distance travel options for Cubans and visitors. Some houses now have hot water heaters and washing machines. It is not common, yet I have seen numerous youth walking down the streets with ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Matanzas October 28th 2010

From Joy Cuba has changed in so many ways in the three years since I was here last. Yes there are still a lot of old, cranky cars driving the streets, but there are also shiny, new cars driving the streets as well. For example, a few days ago I saw a pumpkin orange Mini Cooper parked on the side of the road. That freaked me out a little. Coming from Guatemala I think sort of helps with the culture shock a little bit. Unlike in Santiago, where I had a few days of culture shock, here I only dealt with a few hours of culture shock. When I looked at my bed and saw that there was no pillow, and then found out that the pillow I was planning on using was in the baggage ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Matanzas October 15th 2010

Greetings All! So, I was able to access our gmail account this morning. It's expensive, so we won't be using this much. As I was leaving our house, Freddy from the seminary was talking with Kiran about setting up an email at the seminary for us. As soon as we know it, we will pass it along. We won't be using it like we do at home (which is really quite nice), but it will be a way for us to have regular contact. Again, Gracias a Dios! However, it will be a while before we check in again because on Sunday we leave for 10 days. We will be in three different cities (Cameguay, Holguin and Vayamo), on the eastern end of the island, offering a prison chaplaincy workshop in each. There will be about ... read more

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