Monday July 9, 2018
We waited anxiously for the group to arrive in Havana. Fortunately, almost everyone arrived around the same time, and of course we grabbed the final two arrivals to complete the group.
Everyone seems excited and full of energy, even after their longs days of travel. We took a short walk around the neighborhood to get a feel for Cuba (and the heat and humidity!), then grabbed dinner at one of my favorite places in Havana, Cafe Laurent.
After dinner, everyone played some ice breaker games to start getting to know the group they will be spending the next 9 days with. I already have a feeling we are going to have a great time.
Jenny, International Director
Tuesday July 10, 2018
First full day in Cuba! Whe went into the orientation room so we could get a chance to get to know each other and the code of conduct. Then we went to met our professors so we could learn the basics of the contrast of dark and light. After the lecture we toured around Havana for the majority of the day, each of us mesmerized by the beauty of Cuba. We are all supposed to capture our reality of Cuba, I’m excited to see everyones perspective of the country.
-Written by Evie
Wednesday July 11, 2018
Wednesday’s adventures began with a tour along the colorful streets of Old Havana on which we learned about the rich history of the Cuban Restoration. Along the way we heard stories of old Cuban legends such as a tree that granted wishes to those who circled its trunk seven times on November sixteenth (when Cuba gained independence.)
Continuing on the theme of history, we attended a lecture by a long time Cuban photographer on how to add mood and historical context to a photo, based on his experience of Cuban immigration laws and how the restoration affected the nation as a whole. After breaking for lunch , we listened to some live music by a band called Nueva Habana and transitioned into work, which consisted of street sweeping and using machetes to cut tall grass along a road that had not yet been restored.
That night, we dined at a fancy restaurant and hiked around Old Havana with the photography professors learning how to use light painting in our photography.
-by Ali Metcalfe
Monday July 16, 2018
The past three days have been busy but amazing! On our way to Viñales, we stopped at an ecovillage “Las Terrazas” we learned about their community and the biodiversity. We then went swimming in the river, everyone had a great time – we jumped off the rocks and enjoyed the natural water. Once we arrived to our hotel, we had dinner and the rest of the night consisted of GLA activities.
The next day after breakfast we all prepared ourselves for a trail of the Mogotes, these hills are huge and can be viewed all throughout Viñales. The trail consisted of a bunch of thorns, mud, and sweat. Going through the muddy trail was a great bonding experience and something we can all laugh at now. After the dirty hike, some students went for a horse back ride through more Mogotes and some students decided to walk around Viñales. It was a long day and it was finally lunch! We fueled up with some plantain chips and ropa veiga. We went back to the hotel to clean up then headed off to service. Service consisted of going to an all organic farm and learning about how special crops have affected Cuba and its people for the better. While learning about the crops, we pulled some vegetables out and even planted new seeds! After, they prepared a lovely meal for us made with all products on the premises.
BEACH DAY! An early wake up call for the students – everyone was packed and ready to go for the relaxing day. We took a boat out to Cayo Levisa, an amazing private beach with the whitest sand and the most blue water! Once arriving to the beach – some students wanted to go snorkeling, we had a great time looking and learning about the coral reef and the fishes of Cuba. After lunch, everyone ran straight towards the water. Everyone played games in the water like throwing around the ball and we even played tag! The day trip of Cayo Lavisa was well deserved and an amazing way to spend some free time together with the group! Once we got back to the hotel, everyone showered and talked about how great the day was at dinner – ending the day with some Mentor group activities.
Missing home but loving Cuba more and more each day!
Lots of Love,