At our 10,000 Volunteers event in November, we raffled off a flight to a volunteer trip anywhere in the world. Jimmy Diefenderfer was the lucky winner, and he just returned from an incredible experience in Cuba.
“My trip to Cuba with Globe Aware had two principal objectives: make meaningful contributions to several community projects and become familiar with the Cuban people and culture. As such, we spent part of each day being introduced to a local project in Havana, including a tuition-free school for young adults interested in becoming barbers, a tree-planting sanctuary aiming to prevent damaging landslides in a hillside community, and a center for seniors to socialize and receive affordable meals. These projects and the community members who wanted to make their neighborhood a better place for everyone were particularly inspiring to me. We would then spend several hours helping out on the project in whatever way was needed; I didn’t expect toswing an axe, decorate a parachute, and dance with grandmothers all in the same week!
Our itinerary also included plenty of time for exploring the island’s culture. We visited the national art museum, ceramic museum, a century-old tobacco farm, and plenty of other cultural sites. Cuban art is especially fascinating to me because it has served as one of the few possible methods of resistance against the government – our tour guide at the ceramics museum leaned in and whispered the actual meanings behind several pieces once she knew that we were American. Even with a busy schedule of interesting activities, my best memories of Cuba were made during our free time. Everyone that we met – from the families whose homes we stayed in to the local kids that we played soccer with most nights – was tremendously kind, generous, and interested in learning more about America. I came away with a huge appreciation for the Cuban people and a great desire to take another volunteer trip. Thanks to UniversalGiving and Globe Aware for making this one possible.”