Open Letter to all Cuba Retreat goers…>
Words by Christina Thomas
May 22, 2022
As I was re-reading my email to the upcoming Cuba retreat group it moved me to share. I have so much love and admiration for the people of Cuba. It’s truly one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been (and lived). I hope one day everyone can experience being there and having the opportunity to reflect on how very blessed we are to have freedoms and luxuries that no one can control.
Just wanted to check in with you as travel is approaching and the retreat is about to start. I’m so excited for you all to experience Cuba. It’s truly such a unique place in this world.
They are having some tough times with the pandemic (amongst many other ongoing challenges) so please keep in mind that what we have at our fingertips in our daily lives is not the case for everyone and certainly is not the case in Cuba. I find my visits there to be some of my biggest teaching moments about being grateful for the luck I have had being born where I was born and for the freedom and luxuries that come along with that. I see it as a place where people to people connections are something that we don’t really have much of as Americans and I strive to be more connected to the people around me and the friends and family that I hold dear. Cuba has taught me to ‘need’ less and to work with what I’ve got. It’s brought me to tears more times than I can count for very beautiful and very sad reasons equally. It’s a place like no other with many many layers to peel away and discover with every visit and every experience.
The people of Cuba are a tenacious tribe. They wait in long lines for everything from gasoline to food day in and day out. Nothing is ‘easy’ or convenient quite honestly. Milk and water are scarce. Luxuries like fancy cheeses, bubbly water and meat (yes that’s right, even meat) are very hard to come by and they are very expensive for the average Cuban. Rations and scarcity are the norm here. When someone says ‘the struggle is real’ this is what they are talking about.
On the surface you’ll see lots of smiles and music and laughter. People who welcome visitors with open arms and open doors. There is dancing in the streets and arguing about baseball in the square. But it’s a tough life there. It has been for a very long time. So I ask you please, as you prepare yourself mentally for the upcoming retreat in a place I consider my favorite in the whole world, take a pause and remember that everyone there is doing the best they can with the resources at their disposal.
I’m so excited for you to see and experience Cuba. It is a very special kind of person who adds this retreat to their priority travel list. I am so grateful to you for embarking on this journey. You are in fantastic hands with our local facilitators and staff there. I wish I could be there with you but know I am there in spirit. If there is anything you need please have Karolina or Veronica reach out to me. They are both amazing!
Any last minute donations to add to your bag will be more appreciated than you’ll ever know. Check your drawers, your closet and your extra toiletries stash for anything that might be helpful.
Adel will be waiting for you outside the building at the airport with a sign with your name on it. He doesn’t speak much English but his smile is enough and he drives the coolest classic car like, ever!
Enjoy your trip <3
Adel and his gorgeous Classic 57 Chevy BelAir (and my son and I when we lived in Havana) :