On Sunday, July 30th, nine high school students and two chaperones flew to Havana, Cuba for a week, to continue building the relationship Saint Luke's has established with Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio and the Episcopal Church of Cuba, as well as our partner parish, Santa Cruz del Norte. We were welcomed with open arms and love.
Group picture upon arrival at the Cathedral in Havana. Group members include Jackson, John, Cate, Isabel, Caroline, Octavia, Blair, Emma, Samantha, and chaperones, Allegra and (not pictured) Carlos.
The majority of our time in Cuba was spent at the Cathedral in Havana, working with a youth camp for over 100 kids from all over the country (sponsored by Saint Luke's). We danced, sang, and ate with children and their teachers or chaperones many cities and towns in Cuba. As part of the camp, we went on field trips to the National Aquarium, Fortress of San Carlos de Cabana, and of course, the beach! Each day of camp our youth worked hard engaging in one-hour activities that they had prepared and brought the supplies for, including card games like Go Fish and Spit, friendship bracelets, dreamcatchers, and Connect 4. These programs were a huge success and everyone at the camp enjoyed learning from our group. The Cuban camp staff and organizers made a huge effort to make our week special, working to give campers this great opportunity. With the support of Saint Luke's funds and donations of supplies like lanyards, t-shirts, art supplies, prizes, and youth Bibles they were able to run the camp they envisioned, and are extremely grateful to the community here in Darien.
Jackson teaches Connect 4 to a group of campers during his activity rotation.
The Cuba trip is unlike any other St. Luke's youth trips because we were not constructing a specific thing, and we were not tasked with projects throughout the week. Our goals were to learn about other people and their culture, to make friends, and to hear the stories and songs of their lives. One of the group members reflected on her experience saying, "I really appreciated my trip to Cuba. It opened me up to another culture, which I gained a deep sense of appreciation for. I loved interacting with the people, and strengthening my Spanish. If I had the chance to go again, I definitely would."
A group of campers and chaperones show off dreamcatchers that they made in a rotation with Caroline, Samantha, and Octavia, pictured in the background giving more instructions.
We experienced the incredible richness of befriending our brothers and sisters in Christ and hope to be able to continue this spirit of connection as we all navigate our own lives. We are excited about the relationship we are building with the people of the Church in Cuba, and hope many Saint Luke's parishioners can participate in this partnership.
If you have any questions or other feedback you'd like to share, you may reach Allegra Molkenthin at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Cuba Team.