A visit to a Cuban Village School
I think my next several posts will be dominated by the images I captured during my trip to Cuba this week. We stayed in Holguin at a beautiful resort called Playa Pesquero (and I have many luxurious beach photos!). As lovely as our resort was however, the most wonderful and memorable parts of the trip were the 3 excursions we chose- that took us into neighbouring village and onto farms to meet the local people of Cuba. It will be months- perhaps years- before I can even truly absorb the impact some of the people had on me. I can’t wait to share my photos of these truly beautiful, generous and loving people- willing to open their hearts and homes to some nosy Canadians, and to smile for this particular crazy Canadian with a camera.
Today I will start with our trip to a Cuban Village school.
Our guide told us that Education is free for everyone in Cuba until grade 12. University is free if you agree to serve the country in some way later- depending on your chosen profession. All children are given books and uniforms, but there isn’t extra money for ‘luxuries’. Our tour had planned to stop at a different school, but as we drove through this village we asked our guide about the children here- and he said that the buses almost never stop in this village. Our group was fairly small, so he went and spoke to the teachers and got permission for us to come in and bring our gifts. I had packed some Crayola markers and crayons, pencils, pens, some stickers, and a few other small items for the class. Others in our group had packed toothpaste, soap, candies and toys. Because this wasn’t a “tourist” school, I think the children were much more surprised by the gifts and happy to have us visit. (later in our tour, we walked around the village with the regular tour school stop- another bus was already there giving out gifts and the children acted like it was commonplace) This easily is one of my best memories in Cuba. More than one of us got back on the bus with tears in our eyes!