Faith + spirituality in cuba: May 14-21, 2020

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Faith + Spirituality

Cuba is unlike most Latin American nations in that its Catholic church followers was never strong. The Revolution discouraged church membership of any sort until the 1992 constitutional reforms. Since then, social and occupational mobility are no longer hampered by being a Christian (Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Baptist, Pentacostal, etc.).  We will partner with a pre-K school to provide humanitarian aid and to work on one of their farms outside Havana.

Havana, Cuba's Faith Communities

These consist of the syncretic religion of santería, which dates back 400 years when the first slaves were brought to the island. To disguise their animist based African faiths, these myriad slave ethnic groups --many of whom did not even speak the same languages from western and equatorial Africa-- shared similar faith structures. When they came to Cuba, the assigned their dieties with those of the Roman Catholic church to both 1) understand this new colonial religion and 2) continue their African faiths. The result is santería.  Our week-long trip will also include visits to Havana's two Jewish synagogues (conservative and reformed), a Baptist church, Jehovah Witness meetings, Reiki and New Age practitioners, and more.  

Goals

We aim to understand the role of faith and spiriituality in contemporary, Communist Cuba.

Pricing

The price of $2,900 includes round-trip air fare from Roanoke, Virignia (with an option of meeting the group in Atlanta), all meals, transportation, 24/7 embedded docent guides, and more. Travelers will secure at their own expense, an easy-to-obtrain visa at $100, which includes health insurance while on the island. 

Why is this a humanitarian trip?

Because we are engaging with civil society and providing material aid (vitamins, sanitary products, and other donations). This kind of travel is currently sanctioned by the Trump administration under the U.S. Treasury Guidelines.

FAQs

What else should I expect?

  • Daily yoga
  • you must bring children's vitamins, school supplies, and other personal hygeine items
  • A private room supplement is $300 additional for all 7 nights
  • We lodge in Havana (Old Havana, to be exact) and will travel to Guanabocoa on the outskirts when working one day on a farm that helps provide food for pre-K lunches. We will overnight at this farm in modern dormitories.
  • We spend a day traveling to the city of Matanzas, 2 hours east of Havana, to visit a seminary, learn about formal religious instruction, and enjoy a private a capella performance  performed by a professional  choir from the same city.
  • To secure a spot (limited to 10) send an email to info@cubancultureeconomy.org or else use the Contact US page at the top of this page.

Birdwathcing and landscape appreciation trips

José Martí's portrait crafted out of local bamboo, Centro de Bambú, Chinatown, Havana.

Birdwatching + Landscape Appreiation Trips

Our January 17 and February 7 trips just sold out. 

We have space on our Feb. 27-March 26 trip...read on below.

What we do...

Soroa, Viñales, Girón (Bay of Pigs; Zapata Biosphere) &  Havana

Last winter we documented 118 species.

So next winter, we offer:
10  DAYS/9 NIGHTS​

 Feb 26-Mar. 6
$2,900 all-inclusive

I like birds, but.....

Perfect for photography, practicing your Spanish, sketching, daily yoga and more...

Feb 26-March 3 Details.

Airfare (Roanoke-Atlanta -Havana on Delta), all meals, lodging, guides, transportation (air-conditioned Mercedes-Benz 15-passenger van), in-group cultural docent, expert local Cuban guides. Price adjustments for Atlanta-only connections.

ItineraryTwo nights each in the mountainous settings of Soroa Botanical Gardens and Viñales (UNESCO Site). 3 nights on the Caribbean coastal village of Girón in the Zapata Biosphere. We seal the trip with exciting Havana (UNESCO Site). Our 2019 group documented 118 unique bird species and two-thirds of Cuba’s native birds. Spectacular pink flamingo nesting sites in Salinas (Matanzas Prov.) and the amazing bee hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae), the smallest bird in the world (<2 grams) and endemic to Cuba.

Flyways & Highways

January and February are the best months to catch the Atlantic-coast flyway in action, as birds wintering in the Caribbean and South America make their way north. We'll see most of the birds native to Cuba as well as scores of other species that are returning from South America, and making their way up through the island chain (Lesser & Greater Antilles).

Next steps?

A $500 deposit secures a spot. Send an email to info@cubancultureeconomy.org and we'll get the paperwork rolling. And complete the Applicaiton Form linked above.