Home > Uncategorized > Final Update from Havana 27 de Mayo 2011

Final Update from Havana 27 de Mayo 2011

Grace and peace be with you in the Risen Christ!

Greetings from Havana!  It’s Friday, Viernes in Spanish as I begin my last full day in Cuba!  I went for a run at 5 a.m. and I am beginning this last update just after 6 a.m. before Morning Prayer.

23 de Mayo – El Lunes

I got up about 6 a.m. and got ready for Morning Prayer and Breakfast.  Gilbert leaves this afternoon to direct an 8 Day Retreat focused around Centering Prayer, a practice of prayer introduced by Thomas Keating a Trappist Monk who now lives in Snowmass, Colorado.  The idea behind Centering Prayer is to listen for La Palabra de Dios…in English…A Word from God…and to center your entire self for about 20 minutes on listening and returning to that Word from God. Gilbert along with several others in Cuba, have been responsible for introducing this practice of prayer.

Gilbert and I headed out after breakfast to visit Casa San Brigida, a hotel in Habana Vieja run by an Order of Roman Catholic Sisters whose charism is hospitality and ecumenism.  I wanted to get some pictures and information to share with the Cuba Committee at St. Mark’s to possibly consider this option as an alternative to Hotel Sevilla.  The sisters are wonderful and there were guests from all over the planet.  I took lots of pictures!  After a coffee, Gilberto and I left so he could drop off a letter at the Archdiocesan Offices…in Habana Vieja.  We then drove to a retreat center run by the Archdiocese of Habana in Vedado which is quite near the Episcopal Cathedral.  He wanted to show me another option for the Cuba Committee to consider.  We made our way back to La Merced and I went to my room to work on some home work…I have to admit I was feeling very sad.  My friend and one of the important connecting points for me in Cuba was leaving Habana.  I decided not to go to class in the afternoon but to spend the time with Gilbert before he left.  We tried to set up the dial up service so I could check email on my notebook but alas…it wouldn’t work so I needed to finish up my 4th Update and email it to Betsy that afternoon as well.

Gilbert left about 3:30 p.m.  There were several sisters travelling with him for the retreat in Colon…east of Matanzas.  It was hard to see him drive off…I got teary eyed…as I waved good bye!  As they were leaving, rain clouds began to roll in…as well as thunder and lightning.  I went to my room to do some writing and reading.  It rained for about two hours…it was wonderful.  After dinner, I did some more work on verbs, prepositions and adjectives…yikes!  I went to bed early because I plan on getting up to run.

24 de Mayo – El Martes

I got up at 5:45 a.m. to go running and then realized I was an hour later than usual…Morning Prayer was at 6:30 a.m.  What was I thinking!  So I ran fast…got back and joined the others for prayer.  After breakfast, I cleaned up, did some more homework and then left about 9 a.m. to see if I could tour the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the National Art Museum which is housed in two buildings…one a European designed building completed in 1927, the other, a modern building completed after the Revolution.  I hadn’t taken the time to visit these places so I spent the morning in art.  WOW!  The older art was beautiful but the Modern…especially Cuban art was fascinating.  This was a gift!  I picked up three gifts, one for the community at La Merced, one for my Spanish teacher and one for the Dean and his family at the Museo!

I got back to La Merced in time to change, eat lunch and head off to class.  We worked on adjectives and more verb tenses…ay!  Got back to La Merced via la guagua…got ready for dinner…watched a bit of news then to my room to read and study.  Ricardo and I plan to run at 5 a.m. on Wednesday!

25 de Mayo – El Miercoles

Up at 4:45 a.m. so I can run with Ricardo before Morning Prayer.  It is warm and humid this morning.  After breakfast, homework and journal writing.  A friend of Oscar Quinones has invited me to dinner.  She is going to meet me after class at La Inmaculada then we will travel by bus to her home.  I worked on tarea in the morning…ate lunch…then headed out for class.  We began work on the subjunctive tense of verbs…I hadn’t remembered that Spanish had so many tenses for verbs.  After class, I headed over to La Inmaculada to wait for Dunia, Oscar’s friend.  She met me and then we made our way to the parade…bus stop…to catch the P 16…to head to her home.  She lives in the CERRO section of Habana.  On the bust, we passed the Plaza de Revolucion and then got off the bus to walk to her home.  Along with her two sons, Daniel and David, she lives with her madre, Aleida and her padre, Jose.  I was invited into the kitchen and there on the T.V. was Dora, the Explorer…or in Spanish, Dora, de Exploradora!  We visited until Daniel got home from Karate.  He has been taking Karate for 4 years.  This wonderful family prepared arroz con gris (with black beans), pollo (chicken), ensalada and papas fritas (French fries) and for dessert, fruta bomba (papaya in sweet sauce).  It was a delicious dinner.  Just after 8, as we were finishing la cena (dinner), the electricity went off…which is not an uncommon occurrence in Habana.  To my surprise, Jose had called a cab and he and Dunia were going to ride with me back to La Merced!  I got back to La Merced about 9 p.m.  What a day…I was muy cansado…which means very tired.  The heat and humidity really have an effect on one’s energy!  Headed to bed!

26 de Mayo – El Jueves

I go up at 5:45 for Morning Prayer then breakfast then homework then on the bus to the Episcopal Cathedral to say good bye to my friends there.  I visited with Amada and Sy…in the Bishop’s office, thanked them for the privilege to spend time with them.  I left a gift for Obispa Griselda, a pin with the Shield of the Diocese of Minnesota which was designed by Bishop Whipple with the words Peace through the Blood of the Cross!  I thought that would be an appropriate gift for her.  I made my way to the Dean’s residence to say goodbye to Jose Angel and Lucretia, and their sons.  I gave them a set of small cups and saucers for café from the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.  They were so grateful.  After a bit of conversation, I headed back to the bus stop to take the P 5 back to La Merced.  I got cleaned up and after lunch, headed to class.  We spent the largest part of our time on Present Subjunctive and Pluperfect Subjunctive tense of verbs and several exercises after reviewing my homework from the day before.  Three weeks is a long time to be away from home…from family…from my community.  But in fact, three weeks is not very long for Language Class…there is still so much to learn and Idania wants to cover as much as possible by Friday.

I got back to La Merced, got ready for dinner, ate and then after dinner, worked on verb tenses and then watched a bit of the news.  I caught up on my journal and then got to bed about 10:30 p.m.  Ricardo and Daykel said they wanted to go running on Friday at 5 a.m.

27 de Mayo – El Viernes

I got up at 4:45 a.m. and waited for a bit in the courtyard for the others…but they slept in.  So I went for a run alone.  I got back to La Merced and began this last update…on my last full day in Habana…in Cuba.  I have observed and learned so much about life here.  More than I was able to include in my updates.  I hope to be able to spend some time when I get home…reflecting on my time in Habana.

I remain grateful for this opportunity…for this time…this opportunity.  I can’t wait to see you!  This comes with my love and gratitude!

Easter blessings,

Doug

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Mariellen Maki
    May 31, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    I’m wondering if you spoke nothing but Spanish with these various friends and colleagues?

  2. Dick and Charlotte Clugston
    May 31, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Very interesting!

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