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Another amazing Cuba Program adventure is officially in the books! The 10-day program was a deep-dive into the Cuban culture and the arts from Havana to Viñales and back again.
"In its second year, Lincoln's Cuba Program, "stepped up" both literally and figuratively. Designed to provide students with an opportunity to immerse themselves in a unique socio-political environment, after some thoughtful changes by World Leadership School and Lincoln School, this year's Cuba Program provided students with greater opportunities to organically make meaningful connections with the Cuban people. A great example: the Lincoln Step Team taught an impromptu Step class to a world-renowned dance school!" said Dr. Barret Fabris, director of the Center for Justice, Peace, and Global Citizenship, who accompanied the students this year along with Spanish teacher Silvia Campbell. "Despite there being a language barrier, students came to see that true exchange doesn't always have to come through words, but that being present in the moment is sometimes the most important step to understanding."
Read on for some highlights from the students themselves!
Día 1: Travel and Setting Foot on Cuban Soil
Arrival in Havana, Learning Sessions, and Introduction to Homestays
Día 2: Culture Shock
Old Havana, Revolution Museum, Callejon de Hamel, Clave de Sol Vocal & Orquesta de Guitarras and Collaborative Student Workshop
Today was the first full day in Cuba and it set an exciting tone for our stay here! We visited Old Havana (Havana Vieja), and watched a performance about Santeria, an Afro-Cuban religion. After that, we spent some time reflecting in the Garden of the Tropics. It rained and was amazing. We then went to Clave de Sol where we got to meet boys and girls our age. They sang for us and played different instruments for us. We came home to refresh and had a delicious dinner.
Question of the day: Why are we here?
Día 3: Bonding and New Experiences
Ballet School Visit, Circus Community Project
Today was an exciting day for all of us! We visited Lizt Alfonso Dance Studio where local children and adults presented some of their routines to us. Amaris, Sophia-Joy, and Kobii were eager to hop in and exchange a few of their own dance moves. The dancers were quick to learn the moves, and our visit with them ended in a group dance! After, we went to the circus, where their stunts kept us on the edge of our seats, and we were excited to talk to them after their performance.
Today our group became closer together by learning, listening, and talking with each other. We are excited to see what tomorrow has to bring.
Question of the day: What have you learned, what do you want to learn?
Día 4: A Day for Self-Reflection
Learning Session: True Colors, Community Project—Keracom, Art Workshop
Karacom Community Project. There we learned how far the project has come starting from an abandoned building and now is a place for kids and young adults to work with ceramics and pottery. After learning about the project, we got hands on and began doing ceramics with local kids. The theme for that day was underwater plants, animals, etc. When we finished we designed backgrounds for our clay objects and wrote messages to the students.
Question of the day: During our time here, what is something new you’ve discovered about yourself?
Día 5: Journey to Viñales
Puerta de Golpe, Fuster Community Project, El Patio de Pelegrin
Today was also a day full of change as we packed our bags and took a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Viñales. As we looked out of the van window, we saw the beautiful green mountains and rich farm life that was very different from the community in Havana. In the afternoon, we arrived at Patio Pelegrín, where we learned about very important community projects and painted pre-made ceramic pots and jugs. We learned that there were no public libraries in the area or culture projects, so they built libraries for the kids in the community of Puerto Golpe along with places for them to do their homework.
Question of the Day: What does community mean to you and how does that meaning change when you’re in a new place?
Día 6: Open Ocean and Exploration
Boat Tour of Cueva del Indio, Ceramics, Fine Arts, and Farming
Día 7: Nature and the House of Miracles
Nature Hike, Tobacco Farming, Dyad Conversations
Today we visited a tobacco farm and Noel, the owner, showed us his beautiful and spiritual wooden sculptures that were spread throughout the property. Afterwards, Noel led us on hike, which was a new experience for most of us, and told us the story of his journey from a farmer to a community builder. While on the hike we stopped to hear his spiritual awakening, which happened at the very place we ended our hike in the “house of miracles” he has since built. We took a brief moment of silence to reflect on our hopes and dreams for the future. After the silence Noel ended with the sentiment that “we had a lot of life to live and a lot of dreams to have” because we are so young and so very full of promise.
Question of the Day: How has your experience in Cuba affected the way you see yourself?
Día 8: Fine Arts and Finca Vigia
Storyboarding, National Museum of Fine Art, Urban Farming, Ernest Hemingway’s Home
Día 9: Team Work and Dancing
Collaborative Project With Keraton, San Jose Market, Cuban Dancing
Día 10: Homeward Bound
Wheels down in Rhode Island!