During my second trip with Rustic Pathways, I chose to go to Cuba. As the country is relatively new to United States tourism, I was very interested to see what it would be like. During my trip, I learned so much about the history of Cuba and its relationship with the United States. I believe that so many people have a skewed view of what the country is like, and I would highly recommend going there to experience it for yourself. Cuba is a gorgeous country and everyone I met was so kind and willing to share their life experience. My guides were amazing, especially my native Cuban guide Ycel.
For our service, we mainly focused on preserving the environment and sustainable farming. Because of the embargo, Cubans had to learn how to do sustainable agriculture so that they could produce enough food without ruining their environment. It was amazing to me to see how much everyone cared for their homes, especially while we were staying on farms and learning about their practices.
I think my favorite memory from my trip was the last few days we spent in Havana. Havana is one of the most beautiful cities that I have been to. It was incredible to work with a local organization called Bario Habana, which provides children with opportunities to play games like chess or soccer, as well as works to benefit the neighborhood as a whole. Seeing the work that this organization does and the love that it has for its neighbors has given me hope that there are always going to be good, kind people in the world.
After this trip, I am definitely going to be sharing my amazing experiences in Cuba and informing people about what I learned. I think that many people believe that Cuba is stuck in the mid 1900s, yet after going there I know that it is a very modern country.