Next Up: A New Project!
Although it’s certainly not gone, the effects of the pandemic have begun to diminish, and we’re learning how to function more normally in its presence. Our successful project in July 2022 (to Iquitos, Peru) is a good example. That project marked our official return to service, and we learned a lot more about how to travel internationally again. Now we’re expanding our horizons and finding more people that need our help. For our next excursion, we won’t have to venture far from our shores to find an incredibly fulfilling and fascinating project. Try this on for size:
It’s a good-sized island, not far from our Florida Coastline, and the people there have plenty of need for our assistance. We’ll be working in Santiago de Cuba, which is on the very southeastern part of the island. Before I go on any further in the project description, though, let me take a moment and clarify the legal issues that surround a project like this.
I’m sure you aware of the longstanding problems between our US government and the Cuban government. Those problems have been going on for years, and I don’t see any signs that they’ll go away very soon. I do see, however, that there have been improvements within the last decade, and that’s what will allow us to help the people there. The US Treasury Department and the US State Department, among other offices, have a clearly defined list of “General Licenses” that allow American citizens to visit Cuba. We will be going under the General License of, “Support for the Cuban people.” When you read that license, it looks like it was written specifically with Volunteer Voyages in mind. We can go to Cuba and do what our programs are designed to do – support the people there. There is also a list of things that we are forbidden to do, and we’ll be careful to not run afoul of those.
So, here’s what we are cooking up with our local collaborators there. When we arrive in Santiago de Cuba, we will be taken to our accommodations – family homestays! That will be such a great opportunity to get to know our hosts and to begin to understand what life is like for them. Each day we will be involved in activities that will allow us to meet more people and share skills and ideas that can make their lives even better. One of our main activities will be to teach English to a group of adult students who are studying in the hospitality industry. We’ll have a whole curriculum that we will use that is designed so that they can get the best possible result. We are also exploring ways that we can work with coffee farmers and other producers of goods that are in high demand.
Our meals will be at small, private restaurants that will give us an incomparable experience with every bite. And our attendance at their establishment will help to support them more fully, as well.
Actually, our whole time in Cuba, is being designed around the needs of the Cuban people. Everything, from our transportation to teach classes in the mornings (remember the classic American cars you’ve seen pictures of… that’s what we’re planning) to gathering with our groups of hosts in the evenings, is planned for their benefit. We’ll be in Cuba for seven days, every one of which will be precious.
Here’s what our schedule looks like right now for this project:
- Depart the USA (or wherever your home is) in time to arrive in Cuba on February 10, 2023. Yes, that’s coming soon.
- Work in Cuba daily until February 17, 2023, when we will return to our homes. Yes, that’s just 7 days, but it will be a week you’ll treasure forever! I hope you’re up to it.
Keep checking back here to get updates on these plans. I’ll be doing a lot of work on ironing out all the details on the work, the costs, the legal stuff, the travel issues, etc. I’ll post it here to keep everyone up to date.
You can also email me at any time to reserve a space for yourself (by the way, this is a great trip for couples) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to put the code CU-2301 in the subject line so I won’t miss it. Since this is our first project in Cuba, I’d like to limit the group size to only 10 people. Maybe future groups will be bigger – we’ll see.