Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Thoughts on the trip...

I love to travel and so it’s no surprise that when I was given the opportunity to join the Henry Wallace Brigade, a trip that mixed both social justice and travel, I did not hesitate to participate!

Although I never personally knew Henry, I definitely knew of him. I feel that I have become closer to him on this trip. It just seems right that my relationship with him began in Cuba, a country he loved so much.

My family moved to the United States from Argentina when I was four years old. They came here for the same reasons that many come, a better opportunity for themselves and for their children. That being said, not everything that our government does is right. And that’s why I’m proud to say that I am a part of the Henry Wallace Brigade. We took (and are still taking) a stand against the embargo and travel restrictions to Cuba.

This trip to Cuba was an amazing learning experience. Because of the embargo, Cubans have been forced to become creative in problem solving and they have stepped up to the challenge. They also appreciate and undestand community in a way that I have only read about in scholarly articles and national conferences.

My favorite example to share that highlights this so simply occured during our visit to a community center. After a discussion on the history of the center, a tour, and presentations by some youth, we gathered for lunch. We were a large group - around 26 - plus the staff and youth from the center, and it wasn't long before they ran out of plates before we had all be served. Not a problem. Someone from the center just went down the block, knocking on doors and asking for plates. She returned with a stack of 15-20 plates, and we were all able to eat. Can you first image one of your neighbors knocking on your door and saying, "I'm having a party and ran out of plates. Can I borrow some?" And second, if that ever happened, how would you reply? We need this sense of community in our communities.

I cannot wait for the travel ban to be lifted. This will allow even more Americans to travel to Cuba and have the opportunity to experience the Cuba that I did.

1 comment:

Caitlin said...

wow maria, i really liked your overview of the trip. We heard that you guys got questioned and threatened and missed your flight?! (as we were flying safely to England :) Hope your doing well, find me on myspace because i dont have your email. well THANK THE LORD for myspace eh?

Caitlin xx (aka 1/3 of the 'annoying' sisters)

p.s if you have any great pictures send them over, we'd love to see!