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#211473 - 03/09/11 08:23 AM Cuba 2011
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4854
Loc: Canada
As many of you know, my husband and I, along with other family members, go to Cuba every year, partly vacation, mostly humanitarian in nature. Usually we go for two months, but because of my recent operation and lingering complications, we decided to go only for 4 weeks this year. We're glad we went, but really glad to be home. This year, more than any other in the ~20 years that hubby's family has been going to this same area, we were totally immersed in the poverty and struggles faced by our beloved Cuban friends. Life has long been harsh there, but these past 4 weeks were heartbreaking as we could see so clearly the hunger and the neediness of our friends. A young boy with an infected leg, another with serious tooth pain...Cuba has some of the best medically trained personnel in the world, but no equipment or enough medicine (because of the US embargo) to treat them…our friends could not even get OTC painkillers at the local pharmacy. We always bring lots, so were able to treat them at that simplest level. Even when we gave them the money to buy what they needed, they couldn’t, because it simply wasn’t available.

It was tiring and frustrating and very very sad. We’ve known these people for so many years, they’re precious and dear to us. To see them suffer like this is intolerable. We did what we could to help out, but as usual, it’s never enough. But what really struck me was the purity of their love and generosity towards us. These people, who literally have NOTHING, were the ones who phoned me from Cuba the day after my operation to see how I was…that one phone call cost them close to $40!!! That’s 4 months wages for them! These same people went out of their way to celebrate my good health, buying special food and flowers to provide a wonderful meal for us. One of the mothers even gave me her own shirt, because she knew it was my favourite colour! She might have all of 3 in her closet, so it was truly a gift from the heart!

Anyway, I won’t write too much here, just enough to say it was, as usual, an eye-opener, and I’m yet again returning with great gratitude for all that we have and take for granted. Little things like toilet paper and running water are luxuries for so many.

I'll post a few pictures as soon as I remember how, LOL.
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

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#211478 - 03/09/11 02:04 PM Re: Cuba 2011 [Re: Eagle Heart]
jabber Online   content
Member

Registered: 02/17/05
Posts: 9414
Loc: New York State
My heart saddens at such poverty and to think you witnessed your own loved ones living that way. I'm sorry this goes on in the
world, where some have billions and others have nothing. I don't
understand this sort of unbalance. And it's difficult to wholly
trust God and view this type injustice. My prayer is that those
who are hurting will be comforted and given double for their
trouble, as the Bible says.
_________________________
Embrace Life with Passion!
Everything loses its flavor without God!
Joyce Meyer Ministries

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#211479 - 03/09/11 03:04 PM Re: Cuba 2011 [Re: Eagle Heart]
Anne Holmes Administrator Online   content
Boomer in Chief

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 2685
Loc: Illinois
Thanks for telling your Cuba story, Eagle Heart. It truly is hard to hear, but a needed message.

Back in the 60s when Castro came into power, our church sponsored some Cuban "boat people" refugees and I recall how their stories impacted my parents. They "adopted" one of the families, and we had them over for weekly dinners, while helping them find jobs and set up housekeeping.

I particularly recall how moved my mother was when she saw some of her old maternity clothes being worn by one of the women - who wouldn't have otherwise had clothing to wear during her pregnancy.

Sad to hear things are still bad there, even all these years later.
_________________________
Boomer in Chief of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
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#211485 - 03/10/11 08:22 AM Re: Cuba 2011 [Re: Anne Holmes]
Edelweiss3 Offline


Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 1758
Loc: American living in Germany
I've read a report that Cuba wants to focus on the tourist industry again. Hopefully so. Poverty anywhere is devestating, but what makes it worse is the corruption within a country to allow it to happen. What you do, Eagle, is wonderful. but may I ask, what do the Cuban people do themselves to change their situation? Maybe a revolution, like in so many other countries is the only answer.
_________________________
As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
Goethe

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#211486 - 03/10/11 09:31 AM Re: Cuba 2011 [Re: Edelweiss3]
jabber Online   content
Member

Registered: 02/17/05
Posts: 9414
Loc: New York State
Life is so difficult for so many. We all help where we can.
Prayers and blessings,
_________________________
Embrace Life with Passion!
Everything loses its flavor without God!
Joyce Meyer Ministries

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#211488 - 03/10/11 12:58 PM Re: Cuba 2011 [Re: Edelweiss3]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4854
Loc: Canada
Cuba has been heavily focused on the tourist industry for over a decade now. It's one of the most popular winter destinations for Canadians (especially Quebec). So much so that in many areas of Cuba the second major language is French. Most of the Cubans we meet in the tourist areas speak several languages, Spanish, English, French, German and Italian being the primary ones. When they're not working (ie, in off-season) they go back to university and study more languages. If it weren't for the steady stream of loyal repeat tourists, we often wonder if Cuba would have collapsed a long time ago. Our money, goods and presence are keeping Cuba alive and people employed, clothed and fed.

As for revolution, I would daresay that it would be impossible for the Cubans to stage the kind of revolts we're seeing in other parts of the world. Cuba is very heavily controlled. Any revolt would be met with severe and immediate repercussion. Having said that, I think that many Cubans are getting to the point where they feel they have nothing to lose anyway, so it's not entirely impossible that we could see some kind of uprising in the near future. I fear for our friends if that happens, because what little they do get now will be cut off and the tourists will stop coming, which could be disastrous.

IMO, all the Cubans can safely do is wait for Fidel to die and the US to lift the embargo. The embargo is the primary reason that Cuba cannot trade with other countries and is why the Cubans cannot buy the things they need - because nobody is allowed to export those goods to Cuba.
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

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#211489 - 03/10/11 02:40 PM Re: Cuba 2011 [Re: Eagle Heart]
Edelweiss3 Offline


Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 1758
Loc: American living in Germany
Interesting Eagleheart, I thought Cuba was still closed to tourists. Glad to hear that at least Canadians are enjoying the beautiful beaches there.
_________________________
As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
Goethe

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#211491 - 03/10/11 03:26 PM Re: Cuba 2011 [Re: Edelweiss3]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4854
Loc: Canada
Lots of Germans still go there too, Edelweiss. And this year there were tourists from Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Argentina and Venezuela. We've been going to the same resort for 8 years now, and meet the same tourists every year, so it's like a family reunion when everyone's there. Most people speak enough Spanish so it's our common language.

It might sound sort of sad, but between our Cuban friends and fellow tourists, I actually have a much richer better social life in Cuba than here at home. We're out every evening, either playing dominoes in friends' houses or playing cards/chatting with other tourists.
_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

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#211565 - 03/14/11 09:55 PM Re: Cuba 2011 [Re: Eagle Heart]
orchid Offline


Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3634
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
You almost could live there part-time, Eagle Heart.
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#211567 - 03/14/11 10:47 PM Re: Cuba 2011 [Re: orchid]
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4854
Loc: Canada
We've thought about that for years, Orchid. We've come very close to selling our house and buying one in Cuba, living there for most of the year and coming back to Canada for a few weeks in the summer. But up until a few months ago, when a "foreigner" bought a house in Cuba, it had to be bought in the name of a Cuban...and when you buy a house, you don't own the land, which means that the government can come in anytime and confiscate the land without warning and without compensation. So whatever money we would spend buying the house (including lawyers, translation costs and reams and reams of forms) has to be considered to be a gamble.

We haven't given up yet, the laws are changing there to make it easier for us to buy a house if we want to, so it's still something we're keeping as a possibility. We'd love to live there, though life would be vastly different there as a resident than it is as a tourist. I don't know if we would be subject to the same rationing and restrictions as the Cubans (eg, the penalty for a Cuban caught buying more beef than their allocation is 20 years - yes, 20 years - in prison. Beef is strictly rationed and the bulk of it is reserved for tourists).

_________________________
When you don't like a thing, change it.
If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

(Maya Angelou)

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