By BRADLEY ROBERTSON
It was the week of my 39th birthday, November, when I boarded a plane with my husband and in two hours I had the privilege of stepping foot on Cuban soil. I could not contain my joy for this grand adventure as the serious gentlemen checked my passport in the Havana airport. My demeanor and grand smile clearly said to him, “I’m a foreigner, but oh my goodness, I am more than delighted to be in your homeland.”
Isaac had gladly agreed to join me for a writing project and mission trip in this mysterious and lovely country. We had no clue what we were in for, but what we received from the Cuban people was beyond any expectation.
I will never forget this experience and the things I learned and saw are still large and relevant to Cuba’s unrest today.
What takes place in foreign countries is just too foreign for us to even consider. We cannot know or even think of their situations until we set foot on their ground; until we sit in their homes, eat food at their tables and listen. This we did, Isaac and I together, and so here we are, sharing what we saw as to serve you with a bird’s eye view.
I hope to lead you into a simple understanding, that you may consider something new. I hope you slip into their shoes for just a moment and ponder, what if it were you?
What if it were me?
I’ll begin with the story by our host Air-Bnb family; a father, a mother and 16-year-old daughter. The father spoke lovely, fluent English and the daughter was learning very well too. She had Type 1 diabetes; she was beautiful and spoke of her desire to work in hospitality for Cuba. As she spoke to me over a tiny cup of espresso, I saw the angst in her mother’s eyes across the kitchen. I saw clear concern for her child’s food supply to keep her well along with prescription medicines.
Will she be able to purchase the fruits at market that day to help her daughter? Will the local pharmacy carry enough medicine for her child?
As simple as these ideas are, they are not so simple for the people of Cuba. They are taken care of, they are educated, they do work, yet basic everyday necessities are not guaranteed.
I was in Cuba close to two years ago and today the food and medical supply is even less.
Next I will tell you about Enrique. He was once a doctor in Cuba and loved his job, but as he grew older and had a desire to teach others about Christ, he realized that his low income of being a doctor might as well turn into that of a pastor. Enrique’ made several attempts over a few years to get a Visa to visit the United States. This doctor/pastor was denied every time.
Why deny a good man, a physician, a preacher the right to visit their neighboring country?
There is no reason, no reason at all. But this is Cuba, not only are very few things let in, very, very few people are allowed out.
These are just two simple stories of everyday people in their everyday world, and drastically different than you and me. I could go on and on with story after story and maybe I will another day, but I’ll leave you with this.
An American Cuban once met my husband and said this, “America is great and people don’t realize it. All you have to do is work hard and you can have anything you want.”
The truth is so real. If we put in the hard work, we can do anything.
Cuba does not have our luxury. May this thought God speed us to serve one another better and live well is this American dream we do have.
We love you Cuba and may God continue to bless you.