Written by Summer B, High School/Pre-College Student Correspondent for CET Cuba: Advances in Healthcare, Summer 2019
It would have been off brand of me to not forget something before leaving the country for a month, this time it happened to be my luggage. As I watched the luggage carousel come to a halt, I knew I was gonna have to be doing some improvisation. When I got to the room, I did a quick assessment as to what I had and quickly realized that my trusty jorts, Hanes shirt, and a backpack full of medications were my only resources. After shedding a few tears over my stupidity, I realized that although I was in a place with minimum resources, it was the best place I could have this happen.
The community around me quickly kicked in, with my roommate donating much needed PJs, but most importantly the Cuban community helped me. After meeting our Cuban guide, Bianca, she discovered the news about my luggage and after only having known her for 2 days she delivered me a much-needed donation of shirts. This type of donation was a phenomenon; coming from the US where we are a society much more oriented about serving oneself, this was a favor I couldn’t fathom. Although we set goals for ourselves to serve others, we often fall short with it and here in Cuba, its normal living. We’ve discovered not only through the health care system how the country is built on community, but I myself was able to experience firsthand how willing the Cuban people are to loan a hand.
As I write this now in the jorts that have felt as though they’ve fused to my body with the accumulated sweat, I realize that in no other country could I receive the amount of care and hospitality that I have received here. This idea of community I know I will be bringing back to the states knowing how important it is in order for people to feel accepted but also to allow a country to flourish.