Last Full Day in Cuba

Today was our last full day in Cuba.  We relaxed today and visited Las Terrazas, an eco-community in the Sierra del Rosario mountain range located approximately 40 minutes west of Havana.  The park is located near the rural mountain village of Rancho Curujey which is a self-sustaining community with goals of reforestation, historical preservation, environmental balance and a good life.

At Las Terrazas some of us visited a coffee plantation while others experienced the zip lines over the community. We ate lunch at a restaurant serving traditional cuban cuisine while we listened to music I can only describe as traditional music of the hills.  The songs and tones reminded me of the hill music that comes from the residents of the Applacain mountains.  Very soulful and unique. Shown here are the performers.  I would have loved to have bought a CD of their music but none were available.

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After lunch we relaxed and swam in a crystal clear lake that was surrounded by the Sierra del Rosario mountains.  Some rowed around the lake in a boat, others when hiking and many just relaxed and let the sun and breeze of the day settle their souls.  It was a very peaceful and beautiful way to end our service experience.  Shown below are pictures taken from around the lake.

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In the evening we all went to have a farewell dinner at one of Havana’s most popular restaurants, the El Ajibe.  While the food was delicious and abundant the company was amazing.  We all took turns and stood up and gave our final thoughts regarding our experiences over the past two weeks.  Overall we have learned a lot.  We have a better understanding of what service really means and also how significant small acts of kindness can really be. They are going home as different people than they were before they left.  They are smarter, wiser, more connected, and appreciative.  We cannot be more proud of them and we are grateful for them all.  They are an amazing group of incredibly diverse and gifted human beings and we are honored to have had the time we have had with them. Tomorrow we head home, or should I say in a few hours. It is bitter sweet.  We are all excited to see our families, but sad to have to say goodbye to each other.

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Respectfully Submitted,
Karyn Turla