Cuba Tour - 2010

 

 

 

La Gira en Cuba

de los

Bailarines Folklóricos de los Amigos

 

October 23-November 6, 2010

 

 

Barry Beal

 

Rosemary Coffey

 

Lynne D’Angelo

 

Peter D’Angelo

 

Mark Helpsmeet

 

Sandra Helpsmeet

 

Kathy Lipp-Farr

 

Demi Miller

 

 

                                    Sandra, Kathy, Pete, Lynne, Mark, Rosemary, Barry, Demi


 


 

 


 

The Friendly FolkDancers in Cuba

October 23-November 6, 2010

 

Trip Report

 

Based on Peter D’Angelo’s Journal and Photos,

Demi Miller’s Business Meeting Notes,

 and Rosemary Coffey’s Editing and Translating

 

 

Prologue

 

Rosemary was our US coordinator, which meant that she was nervous about everything that might go wrong before we got to Holguín, Cuba. After that, she was counting on the local coordinator, Ramón González Longoria (sometimes known as Ramonín), Clerk of Cuba Yearly Meeting, to take charge. So, from her point of view, the first miracle was that all eight of the dancers made reservations on the same Sunwing Airlines charter flight, scheduled to leave Toronto on Saturday, Oct. 23, at 3:35 p.m. The second miracle was that all eight of them actually made it to the terminal in time to board, even though Mark and Sandra had missed their Friday afternoon flight from Eau Claire, WI, and had to rebook from Madison, WI, on Saturday morning, and Kathy had had to rebook on an earlier flight than originally planned from Washington, DC, in order to be sure to arrive in time to clear Canadian Customs and check in with the airline.

 

Saturday, October 23, 2010: Toronto to Holguín

 

Pete and Lynne were the first to show up at the gate for Sunwing Airlines. They initially spotted Sandra, Mark, and Demi, and then Rosemary. Kathy and Barry arrived next, having flown in that morning from Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh PA, respectively. Boarding began around 2:30, and the plane pushed off close to 3:30. The trip was marked by perks not seen in the US for several years, e.g., a small glass of champagne, beverage service that included red or white wine with no extra charge, and a hot meal.

 

We landed on time around 7:30 and were met by a man who had our religious visas in hand (Rosemary’s third miracle!). As our hand luggage was scanned, we went through a metal detector. Demi had some trouble verifying the validity of his water-soaked passport, and Pete insisted on having his stamped, even though the Cuban authorities evidently were not in the habit of stamping American documents. Then we got our bags and were greeted by María Reyna, assistant clerk of the Yearly Meeting and pastor of the Friends church in Holguín. She led us to the small bus that had been hired to transport us.

 

After about a 20-minute drive, we reached the church. Although we were not hungry, dinner was ready for us, so we ate again anyway. Then we scattered to our dorm rooms – one for men, one for women – and settled in for the night.

 

Sunday, October 24, 2010: Holguín to Gibara

 

After breakfast, Ramón walked us from the church building up the street, across the Parque Céspedes and its Iglesia de San José (1842), to the Casa de Iberoamerica (Spanish-American House). During the entire week the Casa was sponsoring a Fiesta de la Cultura Iberoamericana (a Spanish-American Cultural Festival), in which María had arranged for us to take part. This was no mean feat, as she had had only a short time to make all the arrangements. After the representatives of the Casa welcomed us, Ramón picked up our passports and disappeared with them for inspection. After he returned with them, one of the directors showed up with a participant’s badge for each of us, good for entrance to the entire festival, and several pieces of literature: a schedule of events, information on the area, and a booklet about a recently deceased poet. She also had a gift for each of us, a ceramic bowl, ash tray, or small vase.

 

Then we headed back across the plaza to the church where we were staying. We had some unscheduled time until we were supposed to leave for Gibara, so several of us went walking. Notable were the horse-drawn carts carrying groups of up to eight people, along with a few 1950s cars. At the Parque Infanti, a park for children, we came upon a small, open cart full of toddlers, pulled by a goat. A man was walking beside the goat and directing it. Inside the park there was a pony ride for children.

 

When we finished walking around the park, we headed back to the church. Our bus showed up at 11:30, so we loaded our bags. Along with Ramón, his son Marcos, and Marcos’s wife Alina, we headed for Gibara. (Later we learned that our Quaker hosts had to get special permission to travel in the bus with us.)

 

We drove 33 km north from Holguín to Gibara over a bumpy and winding road through picturesque countryside. The farther we got from town, the fewer the houses. The countryside was very green, with banana trees here and there. We saw a little sugar cane as well as pasture, where a few cows were grazing. In the distance we could see a small range of mountains. It started to rain lightly. Along the way we passed another Friends church, so small that it did not have a full-time pastor.

 

 

After driving for less than an hour, we came to Gibara, located at the mouth of the Río Cacoyuguín.  We drove to the Yearly Meeting compound, a facility capable of housing up to 160 people in a series of dormitory rooms located in a two-story building. It was suggested that we stay on the lower floor, as water comes down the stairs when it rains. The women settled down in one dorm that had a door, while the men were in another, much larger, dorm without a door. Mark and Sandra decided to stay together in adjoining bunks at the end opposite from the rest of the men. (Later, Pete joined Lynne in the “women’s dorm.”) The coed bathroom was across the hall. We provided our own soap and toilet paper, tried to remember to deposit the used paper in an adjacent bucket rather than in the toilet, and vowed to get used to taking cold showers.

 

After lunch we went upstairs to a multipurpose room, where we rearranged the furniture to allow us to practice our dances. Marcos set up the sound system. Then we held our first business meeting. Demi agreed to take the Minutes, which on this occasion mostly meant who would do what:

Clerks: Lynne & Demi; Treasurer: Mark; Costumes: Sandra & Pete; Contacts & documents: Rosemary & Kathy. Barry would assist as needed.

 

We began our practice with the Iraqi dance “Sheikhani,” which was new to Lynne, Pete, and Kathy. Fortunately, it was not difficult. It was followed by a review of “Debka Oud” and “Shibboleth Bassadeh,” whereupon the sound system went down. While Mark and Marcos were trying to repair it, Demi led the rest of us in practicing “I Love a Rainy Night.” We continued rehearsing the Middle East Medley until about 5:00 p.m.

 

After dinner, at about 7:15, we went into the church, which held 50-60 people. Most were older adults, with some children. The service consisted of songs, sung a cappella, interspersed with preaching. We did our best to sing along. At one point Ramón announced our first performance the next evening; it would be held outside unless it rained, in which case it would be in one corner of the church. (Apparently, there was some controversy about dancing in the church, as it hadn’t been done before. But the fact that we were dancing for peace seemed to assuage the doubters.) Ramón also invited the members of the congregation to bring their families and friends to see our performance. At the end of the service we all rose and introduced ourselves.

 

Later, in conversations with Ramón, some of us learned more about the religious visas. They allowed us to stay in religious buildings and work in religious institutions. If we had had tourist visas, we could not have done either of these. Meanwhile, others of our troupe danced with a group of eager children and teens who had gathered in the courtyard for that very purpose!

 

Monday, October 25, 2010: Gibara

 

After breakfast we went up to our practice room, where we began as usual with a business meeting.  During our check-ins, the following points were made:

 

*We are making deep connections with our hosts after only 24hrs. *We need more zone-out time. *We are physically still in catch-up mode, so should pay attention to minimizing early injuries. *We are enjoying the setting and feel of this place (the Friends Church compound in Gibara.) *We appreciate Kathy's ability (and joy) at keeping up with running translations for various impromptu conver-sations. We’re aware of feeling tired and also that that is normal for the intense learning stage of our tours. *We love the setting, and the fact that the terrible weather we were told by the internet we would face has not materialized. *It felt like we had been here a week by last evening, and working with the kids was magic. *The food and hospitality have been wonderful. *We are very aware of how well our creature comforts are being met.

 

One of the issues was the nature of a Spanish translation or adaptation of the words to “The Bells of Peace,” our traditional closing dance. Rosemary came up with one [later modified by Ramón, and then modified again after we tried it out]. To warm up we ran through “Pinjare Ke Panchhi,” and then practiced the “Shalom, Salaam, Paz” suite we had previously rehearsed.  After a short break we started practicing the wedding suite, or “Whom God Has Joined,” though we hadn’t quite finished when we broke for lunch.

At 2:15 we regrouped and resumed practicing. Again we started with “Pinjare Ke Panchhi.” Then we finished the wedding suite, after which we ran through the whole of both the Middle East and wedding suites. Then we moved down to the courtyard to practice where we were going to dance in the evening. To help us concentrate, Ramón’s wife Rosario brought us each a Cuban goodie, a thin square piece of deep fried dough. Pete and Sandra laid out the men’s costumes, Sandra already having organized the women’s outfits.

 

After dinner we put on our costumes, beginning with those for “Shalom, Salaam, Paz.” We were supposed to start at 7:00, but it was closer to 7:30. Demi counted about 82 people in the audience, including a large number of children and pre-teens. After an introduction by Mark, which was interpreted by Richard (one of our cooks, who had been an English-language teacher), Rosemary introduced the first dance. We changed costumes for the wedding suite, which Demi introduced. A couple was chosen from the audience to sit or stand in the middle. The suite ended with the “Chicken Dance,” during which we brought in members of the audience.

 

Mark led off the participation dancing with “Syp Simeon,” giving instructions in English, followed by Richard’s interpretation into Spanish. Among the other dances we taught were “Jiffy Mixer” and “Carnavalito.” Then Mark taught “t’Smidge.” We had people of all ages, including little kids, but it worked fine. After a few more dances, we ended with “The Bells of Peace.” In English the words of the song are:

 

What a grand and glorious feeling, glorious feeling,

When the bells of peace are ringing, peace are ringing,

Peace on earth, peace on earth, peace on earth.

 

Rosemary (with some help from Ramonín and Richard) translated this into Spanish as:

 

Sentimiento glorioso, glorioso,

Cuando suenan las campanas, las campanas,

Paz en tierra, paz en tierra, paz en tierra.

 

When we taught the words to our audience, they tried to add a la in front of tierra. While this was grammatically correct, we told them that we had left it out because it wouldn’t fit into the phrasing of the melody. Later the final line was changed to “Por la paz, por la paz, por la paz,” which worked fine.

 

Rosario Concepción, a Cuban Friends pastor, Ramón’s wife, and member of the YM Executive Committee, wrote the following evaluation of our program:

We give thanks to God for the visit of these brothers of the dance. We recognize that we form a network of people with hopes, of families with hopes, convinced that what we do is worth the trouble, that together we can change the world, that peace is possible. Their dances were lovely, and our hearts have pulsed with joy. May God bless them and help them in the Light. In terms of evaluating the program itself, we’d like to suggest that the children not dance the entire time along with the grown-ups; they could take part for less time, and that way we adults could better appreciate the steps and more easily learn them. The dancers’ sweet cadences of love for all have been something very special and very acceptable to every Cuban who heard them. Thank you!

 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010: Gibara and Holguín

 

After breakfast we regrouped at 9:15 for business meeting, beginning with silence and check-ins.

 

Our own evaluation of Monday night's event was that the space worked beautifully – sound, lighting, the courtyard setting, the sea breezes. Barry asked if others felt that the kids were very restless, but Friends noted that they were attentive despite the language barrier. We asked Mark if he could shorten his first introduction (which was lengthened by the need for interpretation). The other introductions were about right, given the time needed for costume changes. During “t'Smidge,” Sandra noticed one woman who didn't know all the figures but did know the transition twirl at the end; she moved her partners back every time we changed. Barry noted that they sang along with "I Love a Rainy Night," as instructed. Richard did great interpretations.

 

With reference to the parade (la pasacalle) scheduled for the afternoon, we had confirmed that we will travel to Holguin for this event, but come back to Gibara for lodging. We considered what dances we might do while we were marching: “Carnavalito”? “Savila Se Bela Loza”? “Ersko Kolo”? Demi suggested “d'Hammer-schmiedts g'selln” as a natural to do when we stopped. As for the performance dance by the reviewing stand, Mark thought we should do "I Love a Rainy Night," which Demi calculated takes less than three minutes. As for costumes, the women would wear black tops, red skirts, and colorful belts; the men, white tops and pants, and colorful belts as well.

 

After some silence, we went over the two suites we had done the night before: “Shalom, Salaam, Paz,” and “Whom God Has Joined.” Mark reviewed “Pinjare Ke Panchhi” with us again, by which time we were ready for lunch.

 

We boarded the bus at 2:40 and headed out to Holguín, where we were supposed to join the parade under the auspices of the Ibero-American Cultural Festival. There was a lot more traffic on the road than when we had driven to Gibara on Sunday. We got behind a smoke-belching motorcycle on which the passenger was carrying a bicycle. Several times we got stuck behind horse-drawn carts carrying people.

When we arrived at the Friends church we went inside, where we left some stuff we’d been carrying and went back to the bus. We drove to a small park where there was a tall Spanish-style windmill and a statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. We were placed next to last in the parade line, just behind a mariachi band and in front of the dressed-up actors from a children’s theater. Among the actors were two stilt walkers; one was already dressed, while the other, a muscular young male, was being dressed up as a very buxom woman, complete with “fat suit.”

 

The parade started around 4:00 p.m., as scheduled. We marched down the street, noting groups of people standing on both sides, with others looking out of windows. As the mariachi band played, several of us danced informally to the music. 

 

We looped around a block and stopped. Several hundred feet in front of us was the area where the various groups performed. Next to it was a large church, which turned out to be the Iglesia de San José in the Parque Céspedes. We were going to perform in front of the Casa de Iberoamerica that we had visited earlier. The Friends church was just on the other side of the square. 

 

When our turn came, we performed “I Love a Rainy Night” to a different recording of the music from the one we usually used. Since we didn’t know how long it would run, we decided that Mark would signal Marcos when to fade out the recording. Everything went fine. After the dance we went into the Casa de Iberoamerica, where Mark (with Kathy interpreting) was interviewed by a national news representative. Ramonín passed out copies of our bios and the program (in Spanish) to a number of re-porters who were there. Then we marched across the square to the church. On the way, there was a steel drum band playing, so we stopped and listened for a while. Several cute little girls in white tops and long black dresses, part of the parade, were dancing around. They wanted pictures with us, so we obliged.

 

When we got back to the church, we collected our bags and had dinner. Joining us was a missionary family who were spending 9 months in Holguín. He was a prison chaplain, and she was a doctor who had taken time off from her job. They had two children whom they were home schooling until their Spanish was good enough for them to manage in a local school.

 

After dinner we returned to Gibara, where we found that we were locked out of the church. Ramón, who had gone back earlier, passed the key to his son through the window. Unfortunately, we were also locked out of the dorm. While Ramón went in search of the key, we waited in his house. We ended up sitting around and singing songs in Spanish and English.

 

Enelia, one of the cooks, who lived around the corner, showed up with the key. She also brought us chocolate ice cream with a cookie on top. The group decided to go out for a walk, with Marcos in the lead. We walked up innumerable steps that led to the top of Los Cayenes hill, where was a view of the town and a small fort. We continued walking up to El Cuartelón, an old Spanish fort. (Unfortunately, it wasn’t illuminated.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010: Gibara

 

After breakfast we gathered up laundry to be washed and then met for business meeting/worship sharing at 9:30.  It was a long business meeting. 

 

Discussion focused on handling the money we had brought with us, partly because most of us were uneasy about traveling indefinitely with a lot of Canadian cash on hand. To-date Mark had given Ramón $2000 of FFD money, most of which would go for leasing the buses to transport us around southern Cuba. We decided that each of us would give Mark, to be passed on to Ramón [who had a small safe at his house] an additional $400 Canadian to cover the cost of our food, religious visas, and cultural festival passes. Those of us who wished would also give Mark extra $ to be exchanged for convertible Cuban pesos (CUC) for miscellaneous personal expenses. We trusted that good accounting along the way would lead to fewer surprises and resentments later.

 

We were reminded that the day’s schedule included a performance at the "Corral" – a small sheltered plaza in Guirito, a poorer section of Gibara, where Rosario works as pastor in a small Friends church – as part of the ongoing Cultural Festival. We decided to do the wedding suite and to teach “The Bells of Peace,” even though the audience would mostly have to move in place. We were also to spend time in the evening with the youth here in Gibara to teach them a few of our participation dances.  They were eager to learn some dances that they could keep doing to remember us by. 

 

We also noted that we needed to be mostly packed up tonight, because we were to board the bus for Holguin at 7:30 in the morning, in order to get to the Casa Ibero-americana in time to join with the other artists traveling in a caravan to the Columbus Landing Anniversary celebration at Bariay. We were to spend the next three nights in Holguín.

 

We reviewed the “Whom God Has Joined” suite and then worked on “Pinjare Ke Panchhi.” Finally, we moved on to “Cotton-Eyed Joe.”  By then it was time for lunch.

 

After some free time, we dressed in our wedding suite costumes and were shuttled, in three loads, in Ramón’s small Peugeot to the “Corral,” about a mile away. Demi estimated that there were about 100 people crammed into the outdoor space. Although we were there, as instructed, by 4 p.m., the program did not actually begin till about an hour later. Several young ladies sang songs to pre-recorded music. A poet read a poem. An artist from Ecuador who works in plastic introduced himself. A photographer from Canada introduced himself in English and had his speech interpreted into Spanish. Then it was our turn.

 

We did the wedding suite, as planned. Rosario (Ramón’s wife) was seated in a chair in the middle for the first dance, and then Ramón was brought in for the second dance. We got some minor audience participation in the “Chicken Dance,” but perhaps not as much as we had anticipated. Finally, Demi (with Kathy translating) led the “Peace Dance.” First he had the audience repeat the words in Spanish.  Then we sang the song through several times. Next he showed the various motions – moving one way on the first line, turning the other way on the second, and swinging hands to mimic pealing bells on the third. We practiced those motions with the song. At last, he broke the audience up into three groups and we did the song as a round. It worked!

 

When we exited, the steel band came on. We listened to them for a while, before we were ushered out and over to the small Friends church. Rosario, who is pastor there, and some of the members greeted us. They gave each of us a gift, either a small dolphin or heart pendant cut out of the shell of a local shellfish.

 

We all walked back to the YM compound. Along the way we came across a partially undercut wall that marked the original shoreline. We trekked inland past apartment blocks, and then cut down and walked along the sea wall. Back at the compound it was time for dinner. 

 

After dinner, Mark, Demi, Kathy, and others worked with the youth of the church, playing such games as “Duck, Duck, Goose,” and teaching some simple dances. Pete and Sandra took advantage of the noise to slip away and pack up the costumes.

 

Thursday, October 28, 2010: Gibara to Cayo Bariay to Holguín

 

Breakfast was at 5:30 a.m. At that time Demi told us that he was having a problem with his heart rhythm speeding up; it would not reset itself, even when he remained quiet. He had had a similar problem several years before. Ramón was familiar with this and had some medication for it, which he gave to Demi.  He also told us that there was a Quaker doctor in Holguín and he would arrange for her to counsel Demi.

 

Our bus showed up about 6:30. The trip to Holguín took about an hour. We dropped off our luggage at the church and took some time to reconfigure our daypacks to make room for towels, which we could take with us to the beach at Cayo Bariay. We then walked over to the Casa de Iberoamerica. In front of it were a number of buses and many participants wearing badges similar to ours. Ramón went inside to find out what was happening. When he came out, we were ushered over to bus number 3. We left about 8:15 and drove through town to a large hotel, where the bus stopped and took on additional passengers wearing participant badges. We then drove back to the Casa de Iberoamerica, where still more passengers got on until the bus was fully loaded.

 

We finally left about 9:00, retracing yet again our path through Holguín. This time, however, we had a motorcycle police escort. As we zipped out into the countryside, the cars, bikes, horse carts, and trucks all pulled over to let us by. The weather was partially cloudy to begin with; then the clouds got denser and it started to get cool and finally to rain. Fortunately, the rain didn’t last for long, and by the time we arrived at our destination it had started to clear.

 

The farther out in the countryside we went, the fewer houses lined the road. Then the flora changed.  We started in farm and pasture land, featuring fruit trees and palms. Later we found ourselves in pines.  This land gave way to more pastures bordered by both barbed wire fences and neatly trimmed living cactus fences, which turned out to be very common. Also the house construction itself changed. Closer to town the houses were of concrete block composition, with flat or corrugated iron roofs. Way out in the countryside, we saw many thatched roofs and more wood construction.

 

At one point we made a left turn, driving by a narrow gauge steam engine and tender on display. The spot was also a depot for horse-drawn carriages. During our trip we saw several of these, along with teams of oxen, one pulling a cart and another, a plow. Just as we came to the end of the pavement, we turned right. In a few minutes we were at the entrance to the Parque Nacional Monumento Bariay, commemorating the spot where Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba on October 28, 1492. The last part of the road appeared to be raised above a swamp. 

 

We were first taken to see a Hellenic-style monument designed by Holguín artist Caridad Ramos for the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s landing in 1992. At one end was a series of arches symbolizing the Europeans; at the other were statues of Indian gods. In the middle the two forms mixed. A woman guide, speaking in Spanish, interpreted the various parts to us. Then we got back on the buses and headed to the beach, where the buses were parked. We walked down to the beach, where a stage had been set up. Flanking each side were two stacks of very large speakers. People were doing sound checks. Since we had been told that this was to be our “day off,” we were startled to learn that we were expected to perform as part of the ceremony! We did not have costumes with us, so would have to dance in our jeans and shorts, but fortunately Mark carries his backpack everywhere, and copies of our CDs are always inside, so the music was on hand. We decided to do “I Love a Rainy Night,” soon after the catamaran landed carrying people who symbolized the mixing of cultures.

 

When it was our turn, Mark, with Kathy interpreting, told the crowd why we were here. Then we performed “I love a Rainy Night,” to cheers and applause, after which Mark taught the crowd the dance. The enjoyment and laughter were contagious.

 

Farther up the hill, the steel band played, and then some Cuban dancers, wearing Eastern European dress, performed. A Community Party cultural official spoke, passing out awards and certificates of participation. We were given a nice trophy! Kathy, who is fluent in Spanish, told us that the speech contained the expected negative comments about the US, except that at the end the official spoke warmly about our peace message, adding: “Viva the people of the United States.”

 

Ramón had made reservations for us in the restaurant for 1:00 p.m. Though fish, shrimp, and chicken were available, we noticed that our Cuban friends had all chosen beef for their entree, as they can eat it only in restaurants. We were told that one could go to prison for 25 years if one killed a cow, or for 5 years if one was caught buying beef on the black market. Another interesting news item was that none of our Cuban hosts – Ramón, Rosario, Marcos, or Alina – had ever been to the national park before. It turned out they had no way to get there.

 

After lunch we were told that we were free until 5:00, when we were to return to the bus. Most of us spent the couple of hours on or near the beach. The water was cool and appeared to warm up fast. Then the word came that the bus would leave at 4:00 rather than 5:00, so we scattered to round everybody up. We actually left about 4:30. After dropping people off at their hotel in Holguín, our bus got back to the Casa de Iberoamerica about 5:30, from where we walked back to the church.

 

Dinner was served at 6:00. María reported that she had called up the Quaker doctor who was a member of her congregation. An appointment was set up for her to see Demi later that evening. After dinner we had a discussion about our performance and the review Rosario had given us. The very blonde, very striking-looking doctor showed up around 8:00. With Kathy interpreting, Demi gave the doctor a history. She checked vital signs and blood pressure and told Demi how much of the medication to take and that he should take it easy. She said that she would come back the following evening.

 

Friday, October 29, 2010: Holguín

 

We had a meeting scheduled at 9:00 with two Communist Party officials from the Ministry of Culture who wanted to check up on us. “David” was the person responsible for Party and church relations for the province of Holguín, and “Ivan” was the person in charge of cultural events for the province. The former talked to us for quite a while, noting that information about us had gone up to the ministry in Havana. He also talked about the “Cuban Five,” five Cubans or Cuban-Americans who had been convicted of conspiracy in a Miami court and then sentenced to life in prison. David had brought with him numerous copies of five books (two in Spanish, three in English) dealing with this group. To the Cubans, they were heroes; to the Americans, they were spies. He told us that many groups around the world were protesting their imprisonment. In November the 6th annual colloquium about their situation would take place. He also talked about the embargo (el bloqueo), pointing out that the new buses we had been riding came from China and that they could just as well have come from the US.  (Mark whispered, “Where does he think we get our buses from?”)

 

To conclude, we cleared the room of chairs and performed our new choreography of “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” Then we invited both the officials and some others who were in the building to join us in dancing “Dandelion.” Then everyone left.

 

Alone once again, we practiced the “Shalom, Salaam, Paz” suite. Then we had a lengthy and spirited discussion about what we should do during our 15-minute block of time at the evening’s peace concert. Final decisions were postponed until later, since we needed to practice further.

 

After lunch and a nap, we found resolution in Barry's suggestion that we do our suite and then teach “Syp Simeon.” At that point, Kathy & Rosemary would check with whoever had invited us onto the stage to see if a short encore was in order. If so, they would nod to Sandra, who would start singing "Sentimiento glorioso," the first line of the Spanish version of “The Bells of Peace.” We would group ourselves into three core singing sections, facing different sections of the audience, demonstrating what to do entirely by example.

 

Rosemary then read English translations of two letters, one an evaluation from Rosario (focused on our performance at Gibara) and the other a letter of greeting to our home Meetings from Maria (writing as Yearly Meeting Assistant Clerk). Lynne reminded us of our schedule here in Holguin: dinner and performance at the Parque Calixto García tonight, and then a performance tomorrow (Saturday) at the Iglesia Vista Alegre. Sunday we were to attend church and then work with some of the young people, concluding the adult service by doing “Dandelion” with the congregation. Then we’d take the bus to Velasco in the late afternoon in order to perform, beginning at 5 p.m., at the local cultural center, after which the congregation would feed us dinner.

 

Then we went over the “Shalom, Salaam, Paz” suite and started to work on “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” The choreography kept changing; we kept on making mistakes. Finally, we settled on what we thought was the final design and started to move on to the new Peruvian dance,Huaino.” We let Demi and Mark work out the details of the choreography.

 

We had dinner a little after 5:00, deliberately early, so that we would have some time between dinner and dancing. About 7:00, we got dressed. With María and Lianet (a young woman who both works and lives at the YM compound) in the lead, we walked over to the Parque Calixto García a few blocks away.  Our path took us down a major shopping street, which was permanently closed to traffic. The pavement was terrazzo with a design.

 

The Casa de Iberoamerica was sponsoring a Concerto de la Paz (Peace Concert), scheduled to start at about 5:00 and conclude after midnight. We had been given a 15-minute time slot as of 7:45. This was good, because it was cooler then than earlier in the day.

 

The Parque Calixto García was a large square, with the Casa de Iberoamerica on one side. The street had been blocked off in front of it, and three venues had been set up – one at each end of the blocked street and one in the middle. Each venue had an impressive sound system and stage lighting. When we arrived, a band in the middle venue was playing very loud music; at the far end, another band was set up and ready to go on. There were people milling around in the plaza and a hundred or so in front of the venue, listening. We were disappointed at the relatively small size of the crowd, as we had been told it would be very large and people would be packed shoulder to shoulder. While the people crowded around the venue were indeed close together, there were a lot fewer than we had hoped.

 

We listened to the band that was playing when we arrived. When they finished, the second band almost immediately began to play.  We and the crowd drifted down to the far end to listen. (Actually, with the volume of sound coming out of the speakers, we could have been anywhere in the park and heard them without difficulty.) Then we were ushered to the far end of the street and the venue where we were going to dance. While there was a platform for a band, we were to dance in the street. 

 

We were on! Speaking in Spanish, Kathy told the audience who we were, and Rosemary told them about the dances. To make sure they weren’t stuck for words, both women read from a prepared Spanish text. We started with “Shalom, Salaam, Paz,” as people started to drift over to our venue. When we finished, Mark announced “Syp Simeon,” in Spanish, also reading from a prepared text. He noted that the music was Russian, that for fifty years we had been enemies with Russia, and that now we are sort of friends. (He did not say that the choreography was Dutch and the dance “steps” Polynesian, which might have confused matters unnecessarily.)

 

The audience liked “Syp Simeon,” as people always enjoy the comic music and the funny “steps.”  When we finished, we decided to take a few minutes over our allotted 15 and lead “The Bells of Peace.” Kathy explained the words. She and Sandra, who has a lovely singing voice, sang the song so that the audience could get the melody. We dispensed with the body motions except for the hands going back and forth like bells. We also did not do it as a round. When we finished, we left.

 

Sometime later, we received a letter of appreciation from the Casa de Iberoamerica. Here is the text:

 

Attention: Friends Church

The celebration of the Bicentennial of the independence of the countries of Latin America was the main reason for commemoration in this 17th Festival of Ibero-American Culture. With a multifaceted structure this year, a significant number of activities aimed at bringing together our American peoples developed, along with the attainment of an environment emphasizing peace at the world level.

There was one transcendental result of this effort – namely, the presence among us of participants who, having come from North America, showed the world the goal of fashioning a planet where spirituality and respect for the most elementary human rights take first place. This means that the Friendly FolkDancers, more than just a group of artists, represented for all attenders of the Festival a reason for reflection and an example of perseverance toward the universe.

Art is the motivating factor that urges our lands each year to invite guests from diverse cultures and social contexts to join us in a space in which activists, intellectuals, writers, and artists can move the principles of solidarity in the direction of a common objective. The 17th Festival had the privilege of enjoying the presence of these talented friends, who in their artistic occupation act untiringly in many regions of the planet for the attainment of a world where justice and equality reign.

The Organizing Committee of the Festival of Ibero-American Culture thanks you wholeheartedly for your presence in Holguín, and leaves open a permanent invitation to you to join us at future celebrations.

Fraternally yours,

(signed by the Deputy for Communication for the Casa)

We had been told that some young children were to go on at 9:00, so we waited through several other performances until they showed up. The children, mostly girls, were dressed in white and of various ages, pre-teen to early teen. There was a combination of singing, dancing, and poetry recital, lasting about 45 minutes. Toward the end the United States was mentioned by one of the boys; Kathy explained that he was talking about the “Cuban 5.” After the children finished their presentation, we walked back to the church. Kathy also had some lengthy conversations with David, the Party official whom we had met earlier, and his wife; she felt that they were surprised at her descriptions of the social services that her school offers to Hispanic families in need.

 

Saturday, October 30, 2010: Holguín

 

After breakfast at 8:00, we sat around the table and talked. Then we retired to a room behind the sanctuary for worship sharing and check-ins until about 10:45. We agreed to take the rest of the morning to do personal tasks (journal writing, refining choreography, visiting an internet café, assisting María in cutting out letters for a church poster, etc.).

 

Around 2 p.m. we resumed practice, beginning work on the new Peruvian dance, “Huaino.” During our break, Mark had choreographed it, based on a video of Peruvians doing the dance. Translating this work into steps we could do did not go well, and things turned somewhat un-Quakerly. Lynne brought out a “talking stick” (in this case, a pen) and had each person speak in turn. The situation returned to normal and we worked on the dance, adapting the choreography as necessary.

 

We took a break at 4:00 for 15 minutes before resuming. Finally we were able to segue from “Huaino” into “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” When we finished, it was 5:20 and almost time for dinner.

About 7:30 we left and headed over to the Vista Alegre church. For about 20 minutes we walked through town until we came to a small creek. When we crossed over the bridge, the street, gutters, and sidewalks changed. Previously there had been the standard four-inch curbs with narrow sidewalks.  Here there was a dirt area between the curbs of different heights and the pavement. The streets, while paved, were in bad repair. (Later we learned that the area is outside the core city.)

 

When we arrived at the church, we were warmly greeted with handshakes from the men and embraces from the women. We sat in the front row as people started to filter in. Instead of presenting a formal program, we were to dance with the church’s youth. Rather than the children and pre-teens we had seen in Gibara, these were young adults with a scattering of older people.

 

A young lady and man led the congregation. At 8:00 there were opening prayers and a hymn. Then we were introduced, followed by more prayers and another hymn. Next we heard a sermon based on Romans, Chapter 5, verses 3-8: “3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering pro-duces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and charac-ter, hope. 5 And hope does not disap-point us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Then there was a closing prayer.

 

At the end of the service we went out to a covered patio at the back of the church. We had brought the sound system from the church where we were staying, and Lianet had agreed to run it.  We taught a number of simple dances, ending with “The Bells of Peace.” When the program was over, we were invited for refreshments before we headed back to the church in Holguín. While María had accompanied us to Vista Alegre, she left us when we were near her home, so some young adults acted as our guides and led us back. After chatting for a time, we reminded each other to turn back our clocks for the end of Daylight Savings Time, which gave us a much-welcomed extra hour for sleep.

 

Sunday, October 31, 2010: Holguín to Gibara and then to Velasco

 

At 6:30 all of us except Barry (who wanted to sleep) gathered to walk up to the Mirador (Viewpoint) Mayabe. We walked past the children’s park that we had seen the previous Sunday and then through a section of nicer houses. [Later we learned that they were built pre-1959 by wealthy Americans (many connected with the United Fruit Company) and Cubans.] There were few people out besides the street sweepers (men with brooms and push carts) who were cleaning the gutters. We passed one long wall that had panels covered with graffiti – art rather than tags; the artist’s signature was “Undergraph.”  Continuing on, we came to a small park at the bottom of the hill. It was 482 steps to the top: we counted! Rosemary decided to wait for us at the bottom, and Kathy chose to stop about a quarter of the way up. The rest of us continued to the top, where there was a large circle with a building in the middle. We had a 360-degree view. On one side we could see the town laid out below us. It was a very big city – the 3rd biggest in Cuba, in fact. In another direction we could see the blue water of a reservoir. Moving on around, we could see the countryside spreading out before us.

 

We headed back. Even though we were walking downhill, the going was slow. We picked Kathy up on the way down and met Rosemary at the bottom. Heading back to the church, we arrived about 7:50.  We had breakfast at 8:00 and then went to the church service at 9:00. When we got there, the service was underway. The church is very modern. Carlos, who lives in a room off the dining area, was playing a keyboard, while Lianet was taking care of the sound system and manning a laptop hooked up to a digital projector. The words to the songs were projected on a screen. One of the songs was “Onward Christian Soldiers,” with many of the lines in Spanish being close translations of the original English text. The “war” aspects appeared to have been eliminated.

 

There was a break at 10:00, when we and the children and youth went out to the patio on the other side of the wall from our dining area. There we taught them some simple dances until about 10:45.  We returned to the church for refreshments and learned that another church service was going to start shortly. Half of our group elected to go to the internet café near the Parque Calixto García, while the other half remained in place. The wanderers missed the projection of part of our Middle East medley on the overhead screen! By the time they returned, our friend María was in the middle of a sermon based on Jesus walking on the water and Peter’s reaction. Then a short children’s video was shown illustrating that portion of the text. After a final hymn, the Friendly FolkDancers led the entire congregation in dancing “Dandelion” in a circle around the church.

 

Following lunch and a rest, we gathered around our bus around 3 p.m. for the ride to Velasco. We said goodbye to Lianet, Nena (the cook), Carlos, and María, whom we would not see again. We were sad to realize that our time with these good F/friends was over.

 

We drove out of town in the direction of Gibara, a familiar path. Then we turned off the road and headed toward Velasco. We traveled through land with heavy vegetation, mostly bushes, and started to parallel a reservoir. The road took us across the top of a small dam that formed one end of the reservoir. The quality of the pavement deteriorated as we moved farther from the main road. The countryside changed, marked by living cactus fences dividing up pastureland. We saw a few cows grazing and began to drive through small villages. There were cultivated crops, but generally on a small scale, such as a number of small banana plantations.

 

We finally came to the town of Velasco, where we passed an impressive multistory brick building that was architecturally very interesting. It stood out among the single-story plaster-covered cement block buildings that formed the town. We were told that it was the Cultural Center, designed by a North American architect who lived in Cuba, and that it was unique.

 

We drove to the church, where we were warmly welcomed with kisses (from the women) and handshakes (from the men). We went inside. The pastor talked to us for a few minutes before ushering us into the rather small sanctuary. The pastor explained that before the Revolution there had been a school and residence attached to the church. Since after that schools attached to churches were no longer allowed, the residence became extra-large while the sanctuary remained small.

 

We were also informed that we were to perform in the Cultural Center. Approval had not been received until several days before. Cultural Center events had to be open to everyone, so we asked about publicity. The pastor assured us that the way to publicize something in Cuba was simply to mention it in church.

 

We got back on the bus for the few blocks’ drive to the Cultural Center, giving a ride to a blind woman and her daughter. Then we all went in to look at the theater. It was a real theater! It had a curtain, a stage with a wooden floor, a 10-foot deep orchestra pit, and a few hanging lights. It could seat perhaps 300 people. However, it suffered from a lack of maintenance. The stage floor was rough and unfinished, while the bathroom off the dressing room was full of junk, as was the dressing room itself. In a large area back stage, we set out the men’s costumes on a full-size grand piano. Lynne, Kathy, and Rosemary changed in the dressing room, even though there were no lights. Sandra changed in the stairwell, and the men changed around the piano. We simply ignored the few people walking through!

 

Our first dance suite was “In Gandhi’s Footsteps.” When it was over, we dashed back stage, quickly changed, and performed the Middle East medley. Then we changed again, into our East European outfits, and went on to do “Whom God Has Joined.” We started the participation dancing with “Syp Simeon,” a dance the audience could do in their seats. Then Mark invited about 20 people to come on stage and dance with us. We taught a number of dances to them, closing with “The Bells of Peace.”

 

Pastor G. A. Lázaro’s evaluation read as follows:

 

Everything was great! These traditional dances are enjoyed by Cubans even when they’re just listening to them. We believe that your message of peace should be heard all over the world. It’s good that you invited the children and youth to dance with you. You will always have a place in our community. We will never forget you. Come back!

 

Hurrying back into our changing area, we removed our costumes and packed up. Everyone except Barry, who chose to walk, took the bus back to the church. When we arrived we were confronted with a long table filled with food, which five church members had spent considerable time preparing. After a fine meal, we said our goodbyes and left around 8:00. We reached Gibara about an hour later. When we arrived back at the church, we were warmly welcomed by the hospitable staff.

 

Monday, November 1, 2010: Gibara

 

This was our day to visit the sights of Gibara. Around 10:00 our guide, María de Jesús, appeared. She was a fellow Quaker and also the head of one of the local museums. We first walked several blocks down the street that ran next to the church in the direction of one of the main squares of Gibara. We passed a large yard with buildings on three sides and some colorful murals. Our guide explained that it was used for a farmers’ market.

 

A short distance away on one corner facing the square was the Cultural Center, built in a classical style. At one time it had been the home of one family, and subsequently had become a private club for the Spanish and their descendents. (“Mary,” as she asked us to call her, explained that before the Revolution there were also separate clubs for rich whites, poor whites, blacks, and Creoles.) When we entered, we saw a large room running the width of the building with a stage at one end. At one time the floor was wood; now it was covered with tiles. We walked out into the tiled courtyard. Again at one time the floor under the portico was wood. Under the courtyard was a cistern that captured rain water. There were various rooms around the perimeter that were used for different classes – art, dancing, sculpture, photography, etc. In the back were some young people, including one young man who had stilts lashed to his legs. He was walking around on them, while twirling some balls on tethers.

 

Leaving the Cultural Center, we walked across the plaza to the Cuban Association of Artisans and Artists. There were many kinds of art for sale: wood carvings of various sizes and complexity, musical instruments, clothing, furniture, and jewelry. Several of us bought souvenirs or gifts for the folks back home.

 

A short distance away we came to the Municipal Museum. It was housed in a two-story former home, had been severely damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008, and was under restoration. Fortunately, our guide was in charge of it and was able to show us around. The ground floor, originally a storage area, now housed a series of photographs of Gibara from the late 1800s to the end of the 1900s. There was also some old furniture.

 

The upper part of the building had housed two families: a rich Spanish family, and their son’s family.  There was an interesting lobby that we had to go through to get to the upper floor. One wall was lined with volume after volume of Spanish court decisions, some dating back to the early 1800s. To reach the upper level, we walked up a wood winder staircase. The top floor was empty of furnishings. There were a number of supports holding up parts of the building. Hurricane Ike had severely damaged the roof; restoration was under way, but money was limited, so it was expected to take years.

 

At the top of the stairs we came to what had been the dining room. Next to it was an atrium, covered by a temporary roof. Originally there had been arched glass windows along the edge of the atrium to let in light, but these had been destroyed by the hurricane. On the side of the atrium opposite the dining area was what had once been the kitchen. Our guide told us that the floors were original, made of very hard local hardwood.

 

Back on the ground floor our guide took us to a locked, air-conditioned storage room, filled with pieces of furniture, fixtures, and doors that had been salvaged after the hurricane. These included elaborately decorated bathroom fixtures (bidet, sink, and tank); doors with glass panels; and two oversized books on the lives of the Evangelists. Mary also showed us what looked like a very large walnut, which turned out to be a pincushion with holes through which pins could be dropped. On the top was a very tiny hole. When one held the pincushion right up to one’s eye and looked in the hole, one could see a painted scene of the River Jordan with people sitting on the riverbank. Mary said it was a unique item in Cuba.

 

Leaving the museum, we walked to the Natural History Museum of Joaquín Fernández. According to our guide, the building had originally housed the club for Spaniards and their descendents that had subsequently moved, after which it became a club for rich white people. Now it was a museum.  Fernández gave his collection of natural history items to the state after the Revolution, and later it became the core of the museum’s holdings. Many of the items were labeled by him, including shells, various stuffed animals, skeletons of several different kinds of whales, a human skeleton, and plants and other items related to the area. In back there was a garden. Many of the displays were labeled in both Spanish and English.

 

At this point we were running out of time. Mark had to be back by 12:30 so he could have lunch and then go to Holguín to do an interview with María, the Quaker pastor there, and ICAP, the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples, for his radio program Northern Spirit Radio. (ICAP’s fundamental objective was the promotion in all possible ways of friendship between Cubans and others.)

 

On the way back we stopped to see an art collection, housed in a building that gave no outward indication of its purpose. The paintings were by Cosmé Proenza, one of Cuba’s greatest living artists, who had lived in that building. Many of the paintings were copies of work by the masters. Others were rearrangements of the masters’ work. Still others were original works.

 

Just as we got back to the church, we came across a man selling tourist items. He had a bag with maracas, sticks that you hit together, and some wooden turtles that would move when one pulled their string.  A few of us succumbed and bought his wares.

 

After lunch Mark left for Holguín for his interviews with María and ICAP.  Both Kathy and Richard (the cook who formerly taught English) went along as interpreters. (Mark had invited Richard because he wanted a man’s voice interpreting when a man was speaking.) Ramón was going to drive them in his car. For the ICAP interview, the ministry supplied two officials and their own interpreter. (Richard reported later that theirs didn’t actually interpret, but only made sure that Richard’s interpreting was accurate.)

 

After lunch several of us opted for a repeat walk up the steps on Los Cayenes Hill to the overlook, while others chose a shorter walk along the beach. Since Mark and Kathy were off doing the interviewing, the rest of us were left to our own devices for the afternoon. Dinner was called at 6:00. While we had gotten a phone call saying that the wanderers were on their way back from Holguín, they were late arriving; in fact, we had finished eating before they showed up a little after 7:00. When they had caught up, we had a two-hour-long business meeting.

 

Commenting about our time in Velasco, Barry described the peak experience he felt while there. Mark shared the ups and downs of his interview scheduling, as it had turned out that Maria was not available when he showed up, given that she had had to run off to an interview regarding obtaining a permit for a building project at the church. The second interview was with Amaury González, David's immediate superior. 

 

With regard to tomorrow’s program at Banes, Mark suggested that we do only two dance suites. Sandra urged us to add “In Gandhi's Footsteps,” in part because it's new.  Lynne liked the costumes from the Wedding Suite. Rosemary urged us to do all three, since we had only two more performances scheduled. Kathy asked why the program was scheduled to start at 8 p.m. – might we start earlier? Lynne observed that, even if we don't understand what people are saying to us after our performance, they will probably want to say it to us anyway!

 

Plan A (with a good changing venue): “In Gandhi's Footsteps” and “Shalom, Salaam, Paz”

Plan B (without a good changing venue): “Shalom, Salaam, Paz” and “Whom God Has Joined.”

 

Regardless, we would end as soon after 9 as possible. Sandra would focus on getting the costumes packed, if her assistant Pete wanted to be part of the "socializing" contingent. In any case, the bus had to be underway by 9:15 in order to get us back to Gibara before midnight, when the 14-hour period for which it had been hired came to an end.

 

Finances:  Ramón had figured that transportation costs would now likely be under $800, though Mark noted that we had incurred an additional cost of 240 pesos to register as artists in the Ibero-American festival. Mark was also concerned about a possible problem re their return flight, given that they had missed the outgoing United flight from Eau Claire. Mark asked if we were willing to pitch in $500 or so from our tour funds toward their transportation expenses, a decision which could be ratified by the four Steering Committee members present. We ultimately agreed with Rosemary’s suggestion that we wait to decide until Friday, when the numbers would be clearer. Lynne also expressed the hope that we could support Mark and Sandra in arranging their return flight.

 

Rosemary read the evaluation from pastor Lázaro, which was very supportive. We agreed that the teaching session at Velasco was the most successful of all so far. Perhaps it was because, unlike at Vista Alegre on Friday and the Iglesia in Holguín on Sunday, we presented a full performance to set the stage and legitimize our authority as teachers. Rosemary also noted that Cuban Quaker kids have had no conditioning to become silent when somebody raises a hand.

 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010: Gibara, Guardalavaca, Banes

 

After breakfast at 8:00, we put on our bathing suits and sun block and packed towels and other needed items into our day packs. The bus arrived around 10:00, but by the time we got ourselves and our equipment on it was about 10:20. We retraced the now familiar route to Holguín, and then drove on city streets but around the city core. We ended up at a roundabout on the main highway heading toward Guardalavaca, the same route we had traveled several days before when we went to Bariay, the spot where Christopher Columbus landed in 1492.

 

Along the way we stopped at one of the many fruit stands that line the road. Out of the array of  bananas, pineapples, sweet potatoes, several kinds of oranges, bunches of small onions, tomatoes and something like peanut brittle with very little binding agent, Ramón bought bananas, pineapples, oranges, and a bar of peanut candy for each of us. The bill came to about 50 pesos, or $2. Back on the bus, Marcos passed out bananas and the peanut candy, which we ate as we drove on.

 

Passing the turn-off to Bariay, we continued on the main road. We were in pastureland, with only a few houses. At the outskirts of Guardalavaca, we pulled over to a 24-hour gas station and fast food store, where we were to have lunch before going to the beach. The fast food place had a menu of various sandwiches and a cheese and ham pizza. Sandwiches ranged in price from 1 to 2 CUC ($1 - $2); the pizza was 4 CUC ($4). Along with the description of the food item was its weight. For example, the pizza weighed 750 grams (1.65 lbs). All the food had been prepared in advance and needed only to be reheated. In addition to our food orders, Ramón bought bottles of cola, lemon-lime, and apricot nectar. After lunch, we got back on the bus; a few minutes later we were in Guardalavaca, where we parked very near the beach. 

 

We walked down to the beach, which was about a mile-long strip of white sand, three hundred or so feet wide. Planted in the sand were posts that supported circular thatched roofs providing shade.  There were also some trees. Since it was off-season (the end of the hurricane season), the beach was largely deserted. We picked an empty shady spot and took turns dipping in the surf. The water was actually not very deep and sloped out slowly. It was a very pleasant temperature. There was always someone on the beach watching our stuff.

 

Not far from where we were sitting was a tourist resort called Los Amigos. There was a large pool with a bar, with a volleyball net on the other side. People were sitting around the pool in lounge chairs. There was a dining area and several food stations. Given that we had religious visas, not tourist ones, we really weren’t supposed to be there, though some of us gratefully used the adjacent restrooms. When it was time to go, we got dressed and headed back to the bus. As we drove out, we passed the front of Los Amigos and noticed several similar resorts, one after the other, a short distance away.

 

It was about a half-hour drive from Guardalavaca to Banes. We went straight to the church, arriving about 4:00. We were greeted by the pastor, a young man, who had evidently taken up folk dancing when he went to seminary. It was clear that he loved it! He had several CDs with folk dance music, even including some that we knew. This was very unusual, given that most evangelical Quaker churches take a dim view of dancing.

 

The church had invited the community to participate in the dancing, quoting from Romans 10:15b as follows: “How beautiful are the feet of those who announce peace, of those who bring good news!” The invitation read: “We invite you to the Great Dance for Peace in the Friends Church (Quakers) of Banes, with a group of brothers and friends, Cuban and foreign. Tuesday, November 2, 2010, beginning at 8:00 p.m. We await you!”

 

We hauled the costumes and our daypacks up to a room on the second floor, where there were 12 beds. Some of our group lay down to rest and were soon asleep. Others took advantage of the shower on the first floor, most welcome after our time on the sand. Eventually, though, we decided to practice. We went downstairs and did the Hindu-Muslim suite, followed by the Middle East medley.  Since the pastor liked to dance, we taught him “Sheikhani” and invited him to dance it with us as part of the program. We then reviewed the new suite combining the Peruvian dance, “Huaino,” and “Cotton-Eyed Joe.”

 

At 6:00 p.m. it was time for dinner. We went to an outside area covered by a pitched metal roof. We were told that the former pastor, Heredio Santos, who had had that position for 32 years, had planted the area with all kinds of trees and other plants. Even though he was retired, he and his wife were still active in the life of the church. From where we were seated, we could see that we were surrounded by an urban forest. Every once in a while there would be a crash, as a piece of fruit fell from one of the trees that towered over us onto the metal roof.

 

Heredio brought out a pamphlet titled “A Bridge of Love,” that he had written in the early 1990s for a Friends United Meeting gathering in New England. The left side of the pamphlet was in English, the right side in Spanish. It appeared to be a mini-history of the Quakers in Cuba. Five missionaries, three of them American and two Mexican, had founded the Quaker church in Cuba, in November 1900, in Gibara. The pastor wrote about how there were different branches of Quakers and yet they still were all brothers. He also mentioned Marxism, noting that, when the revolution came in, membership dropped from 2000 members to 200. [It is now about 500.]

 

After dinner we went upstairs to change into our costumes for “In Gandhi’s Footsteps.” One of our concerns was that we had to leave promptly at 9:15 in order to get to Gibara by midnight. Since people were already gathering, we thought we might do some teaching before our program as well as after. So Pete and Demi went downstairs to do some dances led by the pastor, and then Mark began leading the children in some of our simpler dances. At 8:00 we were supposed to begin the program. However, one of the things we had not figured into our schedule was prayer. While the pastor spoke to the congregation in opening prayer, we had a silent circle off to the side. Then a woman offered a very long prayer. Finally it was time for us to go on.

 

We started with “In Gandhi’s Footsteps,” and then raced upstairs to change out of our saris and into the East European costumes for “Whom God Has Joined.” (The change was a lot easier for the men, of course!) When we finished, we began the participation dancing with “Syp Simeon,” and followed it with “Jiffy Mixer.” We had time for only a few more dances before we did “The Bells of Peace.” Once we finished, we all dashed upstairs again, where we helped each other get out of our damp costumes and into our traveling clothes. We had to send someone to get Kathy, who, since she was a fluent Spanish speaker, was talking to members of the congregation. When everything was packed, we went back downstairs where we quickly grabbed a few pieces of fruit from some lovely platters set out for us. A meeting was still going on the sanctuary, so we had to walk around the outside of the building to locate the bus. By the time it arrived, the meeting was ending, so we were thanked again.

 

Pastor Cóndedo A. Fernández Pérez’s evaluation read as follows:

 

We all dance in one way or another; one might say that life is a dance, in that we move to the rhythm of the universe, with which we create an invisible tie that unifies, relaxes, and gives much peace, like a gift coming from the very hands of God. Today we have felt the presence of the God of the dance through all of you. Truly the feet of those who bring peace through dance are beautiful! Today our community has received this gift whereby, as children, youth, and adults, we have danced and rejoiced in our spirits. We wish that this little time could have been extended until midnight, or even until tomorrow, so that we in our church in Banes might have learned how to be multipliers of peace in all the churches in Banes, in all the communities of Banes, in all of Cuba, and in all the world. We will always be waiting for you, and our doors will always be open to you.

 

We also heard from Julia Chaneco Ramírez, Clerk of Banes Monthly Meeting, as follows:

 

To the group of dancing brothers from the United States who have been visiting us: May the Spirit of Christ flow into every one of you. Our Monthly Meeting sends you the appreciation that we feel for your having dedicated this time to show and teach us the marvelous gift of knowing how to dance, as did King David. We feel full of joy to have received visitors from many parts of the world to share these experiences with us. We pray to the Lord that he give you all long lives so that you can visit other countries, bringing happiness and love to all. In the light of Christ.

 

Back on the bus, we headed out at exactly 9:30 through a streetlight-lit city. At the outskirts, we stopped at the same 24-hour gas station and fast food store, where Ramón bought each of us a juice box. We arrived back at the church at 11:45 and unloaded the vehicle. It was gratifying to see that we had made it back before midnight, even as planned.

 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010: Gibara

 

Breakfast was at 8:00, as usual. We then began our time together with a business meeting that lasted from 9:30 to about 11:00.

 

Reflections: *It was quite a change to be in a church where dancing was not only not seen as too worldly for Quakers but seemed to be a part of its regular activities, the local pastor being the ringleader, well equipped with lots of great folk dance tunes on CDs. *We are increasingly aware that Cuban Quakers, in working to make our tour happen more easily, may have experienced that extra work not as a burden but as a rare opportunity to serve. *We hope that this experience has had a positive impact for Ramón and his work; we understand that, in organizing this tour for us, he risked a good bit of his reputation as a leader in the Cuban Quaker community. *Ordinarily, Cuban-American governmental policies often appear as opposing storm clouds; perhaps our presence here as American Quakers and our hosts’ work as Cuban Quakers offer a silver lining to the stormy rhetoric.

 

Schedule: The following is no more than hypothetical at this point: Meet with Nevas to learn Cuban dances? Meet with the young people this evening? Kathy agreed to check with Ramón and Enelia to get more specifics.

 

Evaluations: Rosemary read three very positive evaluations of our presence and our message. Some of the wonderfully poetic phrases – such as references to King David dancing and the idea that “Friends can enjoy themselves without damaging their souls” – might become part of future PR materials. We also had lots of personal, very positive, feedback from individual members of the congregation asking us to come back. Demi noted that the count of the house was about 110 at the time of teaching “Nigun Atik.”

 

Mark shared information from Enelia and Ramón that it would be important to leave a gift of music and choreography for the kids and perhaps some of the women as well.  This gave us some clarification about the focus of the evening's program. We decided on “Dandelion,” “Negun Atik” and “Las Campanas por la Paz.” It was Mark's hope that we have good video documentation not only of us performing dances, but also of us teaching some of our participation dances.

 

Following the close of Meeting for Business, we resumed practicing the Peruvian dance, “Huaino.” Some disagreements between Mark and Demi regarding styling were resolved by looking at the video of the dance. We had just finished one of the practice runs, when the lunch bell rang. After lunch we were all tired, so some of us rested, while others went to Ramón’s quarters to try to learn some of the specifics of yesterday’s election news from Cuban TV. We later found out that Kathy, thinking that we had the afternoon free, went out for a walk for several hours.

 

Around 3 p.m. we all assembled (except for Kathy) to practice the Peruvian dance. We worked on it for more than an hour and did get better. Then we put both “Huaino” and “Cotton-Eyed Joe” together. We had just finished at 4:45 when Kathy showed up and joined us. We went through the suite several times more before calling it quits.

 

After dinner at 6:00, we realized that children and teens were beginning to filter into the compound.  The church’s youth got together on Wednesday nights, so again we were asked to work with them. The first thing we did was to teach them a few simple dances that they could perform in two weeks at the 110th anniversary celebration of Quakers coming to Cuba.  First we taught them the steps to the Israeli dance “Nigun Atik.” Then the Friendly FolkDancers demonstrated the dance, and finally we had them do it by themselves. We also taught them several other dances, closing with “The Bells of Peace.”

 

When all the kids left, Enelia asked if we’d like to eat ice cream at the compound or go out for ice cream. We elected to go out. Together with Richard, Richard’s wife Yanina, and Enelia we walked down the street in the direction of the main square and the cultural center. When we got there, we turned left, retracing our steps of several days before. We walked past the church and the plaza. Finally we came to an “El Rápido,” a fast food store. (It was, in fact, part of the same chain where we had had lunch the day before outside Guardalavaca.) Enelia said they had enough money left from their food budget so that she could buy us ice cream. Since this was a hard currency store, she would not normally go there. While she could pay for our ice cream out of her budget, she and Richard had to pay for their own. (Richard’s wife was a diabetic and couldn’t have ice cream.) After we ate, we continued our walk, going down and along the waterfront before heading back inland. When we got back to the compound, we went to bed.

 

 

Thursday, November 4, 2010: Gibara and Puerto Padre

 

After breakfast and a break, we had a business meeting at 9:30.

 

Reflections: *The end of the tour brings mixed feelings. We have a “familial” connection here, not only within our tour group but also with the local Friends who have taken such good care of us. Knowing it is coming to an end is bittersweet.   *Sheltered from the world of US electoral politics (although aware that we will have to face it when we return), we also have mixed feelings about going home. *Mark and Sandra, in particular, were wrestling with the frustration of dealing with draconian corporate politics: United Airlines had exercised its “fine print fraud” options and had completely canceled (without refund) their entire round-trip ticket because of one missed (by minutes) connection.

 

Today's schedule: We needed to connect with Maria de Jesús and the other cultural artists before leaving for Puerto Padre this afternoon at 3 p.m. (Our performance was scheduled for 8 p.m.) Mark would like one more run-through of the North-South suite after lunch.

 

Friday's Schedule: Maria de Jesús was trying to get approval for our participation in the local arts events. Kathy mentioned that they were teaching Cuban dances at the Arts Center from 5 to 7 each evening, and that we were welcome: the doors are open. Mark had asked that he have an opportunity to do a radio interview of the eight of us on this tour, and we agreed to try to do it Friday morning after breakfast. At 1:30 we had an invitation from the official shopkeeper at the artisans’ center to come over for tea, regardless of whether we found anything else there to buy.

 

Friday evening there was to be a farewell party here for us (along with a request to teach “The Bells of Peace” in closing.) Marcos and Alina would not be there; they were to take the bus to Puerto Padre with us and then stay on to visit her mother before Marcos went on to Havana on the “Wawa” (local slang for the bus) next Tuesday. So we had to make our farewells and any gifts to them tonight.

 

Finances: Currently, we thought we were on target for food and transportation costs vis-à-vis Ramón's calculations regarding expenses here. Mark and Sandra were now requesting any additional support we could offer for their ongoing travel expenses, given that United had left them completely high and dry! Various car rental & flight options were being considered. We agreed to contribute whatever we had left from our current tour travel fund plus individual donations. We also suggested that the FFD Steering Committee authorize up to an additional $500 from the General Fund if needed.

 

Then we began again to practice the new suite, “In Christ there is no North or South,” consisting of the new Peruvian dance, “Huaino,” and “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” We went over and over the Peruvian dance until we had it reasonably perfected. Then we did the whole suite to the music, whereupon we realized we had to work on “Cotton-Eyed Joe” some more. We ran through the suite several times. Finally, we agreed that we would return immediately after lunch to run through the suite once more. Just as we finished, the lunch bell rang.

 

After a short break, we returned to our practice hall at 1:00 and ran through the new suite twice. We decided who would do the introductions and then went to the dorm to take naps. Our bus was due at 3:00, but the time came and went. We chatted. Then it was 3:30. Ramón kept checking with the bus company. Finally, around 4:00, he told us that the bus would be here in another hour – God willing.

 

We went back to the dorm. The weather had turned. Earlier in the day, we had had blue sky, but as the day progressed the sky got darker. We were told that there was a hurricane, Hurricane Tomás, nearby, though it posed no direct threat. However, we did experience thunder, lightning, and a light rain, and even lost power briefly. About 5:15, Alina brought out a plate with bread and crackers covered with what looked like hummus, but turned out to be an egg salad Rosario had made. We were also offered orange soda to drink. About 6:00 Ramón announced that the bus had left Guardalavaca an hour and a half before and would soon arrive; indeed, it showed up about 6:15. As far as we could reconstruct the afternoon’s uncertainties, this seems to be what happened: The company through which Ramón contracts for buses does not actually have any buses, so it contracts with a bus company. It had recently changed bus companies, and our request had fallen through the cracks. The driver who finally showed up said that he hadn’t heard about our request until 4:30 and was filling it as a favor.

 

We left at 6:30. Once again we retraced our steps through town and out the road leading to Holguín. It was dark out, and we couldn’t see anything, though it was clear that the road was rough and winding.  Progress was slow. Every once in a while we would pass another car, or a bicycle, or even a horse cart. Finally, we reached the turn-off for Valesces, and then not far out of Valesces the quality of the road changed. Instead of being lumpy and bumpy, it was nice and smooth. Our speed picked up. It turned out that we were in the next province of Tunas.

 

When we entered Puerto Padre, we drove past Alina’s mother’s house. Alina’s mother, age 62, is a widow; her husband died of cancer when Alina was 5. Alina had a brother who managed to get to America. They think he might have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, but they hadn’t heard from him in 6 years and weren’t sure. Alina and Marcos were going to leave us in Puerto Padre so that they could spend time with her mother.

Text Box:        Alina and MarcosWe arrived at the church at 8:00 – just when we were supposed to start performing. We were ushered into the building and a room in which we could change. We had a choice of rooms, in fact: one that had lights but no door, or one that had a door but no lights! We chose the former, moving a portable blackboard in front of the door to allow us some privacy while we changed costumes. It turned out that that room had been Marcos’s bedroom for 23 years. Marcos also told us that Hurricane Ike had heavily damaged the church in 2008, when a large palm tree had been toppled and crashed into the building. We could see that a number of windows were still in a damaged state.

 

We had time for a photo in our Middle East costumes before we went on. Then we went out into the sanctuary, where we were serenaded by an original song to the tune of “Guantanamera.” We understood that the words were tailored to our visit, even though we couldn’t quite make them out. Next was an opening prayer. Pete then approached the microphone to introduce the first set.

 

When we came off, we dashed back to the changing room, where we donned our costumes for “In Christ There is no North or South” for the first time. Since Mark had neglected to bring along his black pants, two of the men wore black and the other two wore white. They also put on red leggings and colorful ponchos. The women wore their red skirts with black aprons over their white dresses along with colorful shawls and white scarves. Once again we had time for a group photo before we went on.

 

The suite went fine until the very end, where one couple botched a turn out. Fortunately, they were able to recover and ended up posing correctly for the final tableau. Then it was back to the doorless room to change into the costumes for “Whom God Has Joined.” This time, alas, there was no time for a final group photo, as Demi and Kathy had to dash back on to do the introduction, with Demi making the presentation and Kathy interpreting. The suite went fine, ending, as usual, with the “Chicken Dance.” A number of people in the audience joined us from their seats.

 

With the presentation part of the program over, we began the participation part. Once again we started off with “Syp Simeon,” and then taught several more dances. It was getting close to 9:30 when we ended our program with “The Bells of Peace,” during which one of the church members got the brilliant idea of ringing the church bell.

 

We changed out of our costumes and started to pack up. Then we went for dinner, featuring an artistic feast with several hearts – one over a rice mold, made out of stuffed green olives; another made of pineapple over a fruit plate, with a papaya heart on top. While we ate, we were serenaded by the adults, one of whom was playing a guitar. Marcos occasionally joined in, sometimes playing the guitar as well. A few of the songs were Mexican; most were Cuban. Some must have been funny, as our serenaders laughed.

 

We finally said goodbye at almost 11:00. We stopped to drop off Alina and Marcos at her mother’s.  Then we headed out, arriving back at the church compound well after midnight.

 

We had two “reviews” from our Puerto Padre hosts. Jesús Leyva Peña, President of the Men’s Society, wrote as follows:

 

It was marvelous to share with these brothers; they showed us something for the first time that we had never seen before. I believe that they made a special mark on the Friends Church in Cuba.

 

And Carlos Rafael Carralero Aguilera, “Musician,” wrote:

 

Your steps were an expression of PEACE, that sublime peace that the world requires. Uniting the peoples of the world through the juxtaposition of their dance steps, and thereby their cultures, is a great idea, because culture is the expression of the hearts of the people. God is our guide; He tells us that peace is the way to be happy along our path. We implore the dancers to keep on bringing to the world their message of peace in Christ, because Christ is the peace of the world in the midst of so much disunity.

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 5, 2010: Gibara

 

After breakfast at 8:30, we had another business meeting around 9:30.

 

Reflections:  *We were experiencing mixed sadness and relief at the last day of our tour. With the end of the last suite, in effect, we have begun the trip home. *Some of the young men in last night’s audience were probably not Quakers; in fact, they told Sandra that they were “profesores de bailar.” She watched their expressions change over the evening from puzzlement to enjoyment. *We were surprised and delighted at the level of the physical response to our presence and offerings. *There was some sense of letting go of bitterness toward United Airlines, now that a relatively inexpensive rental car was waiting for the Helpsmeets on Sunday morning in Toronto. *It was sad to see Marcos and Alina staying behind in Puerto Padre, though Mark and Marcos had been pleased when the former gave the latter his FFD T-shirt, as they had not only the same first names but the same body type. *We were pleased that we finally had a chance to perform the North/South suite and that it went well. *The tour exceeded expectations for Kathy: it brought together speaking Spanish, traveling in Latin America, being among friends, and dancing. *We felt a special connection with the musicians and singers at Puerto Padre, who seemed to be a creative core group that gave a lot of energy to this congregation. *The feast we were served last night was not only sumptuous, but appeared to be more authentically Cuban than some of our meals – that is, not focused on bread or meat or fresh bananas. *We observed that the Quaker leaders were all very talented communicators, able to move among many groups and maintain good working relationships across the board; this was especially true for Ramón, whose language skills added to his executive and people skills. 

 

Preparations for leaving: We were not to expect any more clean laundry, as there was no time for it to dry. It would be better to give away somewhat sweaty clothes than damp items that could get mildewed. We would have time tomorrow to rebalance luggage to minimize or eliminate any overage costs.

 

Today's schedule: We (all 7 of us) would interview with Mark this morning. We were invited for tea at the Artisans’ Co-operative at 1:30. Rosario had asked that we be back by 4 p.m. Beyond that, we were unprogrammed Friends here for the rest of the day.

 

Business meeting being finished, we proceeded to be interviewed (as a group) by Mark for his program “Northern Spirit Radio.” He produced a very small hand-held recorder with an external mike attached. After he recorded his intro, he asked questions of the group. The interview lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes, finishing c. 11:30.

 

After lunch, we were to attend a reception at 1:30. Unfortunately, Hurricane Tomás was headed our way. All the schools and shops were closed as a precautionary measure, so the reception was canceled. Not only that: the airport was closed as well! We wondered what would happen if it stayed closed on Saturday, when we were due to fly back to Toronto. Since there was nothing we could do about it, several of us went for walks, carrying umbrellas, just in case. Rosemary and Demi meandered all along the waterfront to the far end (considerably farther than the “Corral,” where we had danced earlier), in order to see the tripartite wreckage of a ship that had been slammed ashore in 2008 by a previous hurricane; it did start to rain, quite hard, before they headed back, so they were distinctly soaked by the time they returned to the compound. Lynne and Pete also headed for the waterfront, in the opposite direction. They had a pleasant chat with a man who engaged them in conversation in English (mentioning that he also spoke Italian). He was married, with a 10-year-old son. His wife couldn’t work because of a problem with her hands. He made his living by buying cookies and bread in Gibara and then taking the ferry across the bay and selling them on the other side. He’d buy a loaf of bread for, say, 3.50 pesos and sell it for 5 pesos. He could make 40-50 pesos a day (about $2 or less) and live on that. Because of the hurricane warning, the ferry wasn’t running that day, so he couldn’t work.

 

By the time the D’Angelos got back, the storm watch for the area had been changed to a storm warning. Another victim of the weather was our previously scheduled farewell party at 4:00, which also had to be canceled. So we went in to dinner at 6:00 and found the dining hall reconfigured for our “despedida,” or “farewell” meal. The tables were lined up in a row along one side of the hall, leaving a free space in front. Once we were seated, Richard came out and explained to us what was going to happen: we were going to have a traditional Cuban dinner, featuring rice with black beans, roast pork, cucumbers with shredded cabbage, yucca, and a type of bread made from yucca. For dessert we would have cheese and a mixture of mango and papaya jelly. Then the show started.

 

First, one of the cooks, Lourdes Jomarrón Landrove, came out to the strains of the “Chicken Dance.” She danced back and forth in front of us, going through the various motions and obviously enjoying herself. Next came a gaggle of women shaking maracas and singing (Yordanka Márquez Rodríguez, Adela González-Longoria Escalona [Ramón’s sister], Adriana Bermúdez Gómez, María Modesta Morales Landrove, and Yanina Hernández Roja [Richard’s wife]; they gave each of us a maraca and then retreated to the opposite wall. Richard explained that they were going to sing a song to us. It was a song about soccer that extolled the Gibara team over all other teams. Next, to the music of “t’Smidge,” they came back bearing drinks and trays of food. Toward the end of the meal, dessert was brought out. We were told that this was the usual farewell meal for YM guests, but the show was extra.

 

We discovered that there were several young people – 4 girls, 2 boys – waiting patiently outside. We decided that we would go up to our rehearsal room and have them dance with us. Mark put on a number of both partner and non-partner dances. Then the four girls sang a couple of songs for us, after which they tried to teach us the Cuban mambo. This went on for a while before we went back to folk dancing. We took another break, as the girls sang some Cuban love songs. By this time the two boys had left. It was 9:00 o’clock, so we asked the girls to go over the dance they were going to do two weeks from now on the occasion of the 110th founding of Quakerism in Cuba, i.e., “Negun Atik.” Then we called it a night.

 

 

Saturday, November 6, 2010: Gibara, Holguín, Toronto

 

By morning it was raining fairly steadily, presumably still due to Hurricane Tomás, now passing between Cuba and Jamaica. Breakfast was at 8:30, and worship sharing began about an hour later. It was marked by wonderful reflections on the spiritual dimensions of our visit and our connection with Cuban Friends. In the brief business meeting that followed, Mark shared Ramón’s final tally with us. It appeared that our total food and transport costs were some $172 less than the $4400 Canadian we had turned over. We were glad to leave the rest for the YM.

 

Mark had been hoping to produce instructional videos of some of our dances, and we had agreed to do our best. Using two cameras, one focusing on the big picture and the other on the feet, we prepared videos of our current repertoire, taking turns explaining and illustrating the steps. Then we began our packing, until the lunch bell rang for the last time. Afterwards, some of us continued packing while others ventured into town for the last time to shop.

 

We put everything outside, ready for our departure. Some of us left much of our clothing and even a couple of suitcases for our Cuban friends to use or pass on to others. This was to our advantage also, as it meant that we could get the costumes back to North America as personal luggage without having to pay extra for them on our charter flight, as we had done on the way down. As for the bus, it arrived promptly at 3:30 p.m. (After our previous experience of waiting several hours for a bus that hadn’t been properly ordered, Ramón had warned the company that they would be responsible for putting us up in hotels if we missed our plane!) We said our goodbyes in the courtyard and loaded the bus. Rosemary kept Ramón company in his car, which was needed to take him and Rosario back to Gibara after we had departed. As we pulled away, our Cuban friends waved goodbye. We all felt sad to be leaving such wonderful people.

Text Box:                Ramon and RosarioSoon we were on the road leading out of town for the last time. When we came to Holguín, we went past the Parque Peralta and the Catedral de San Isidero. Then we were heading out of town in a different direction. We reached the airport at 5:15, only to find nobody staffing the Sunwing counter. Finally, someone came over and started to process the passengers. After we got our boarding passes, we moved on to a nearby window to pay the exit tax of 25 CUC each. When everyone had paid, we gathered in a group to say our goodbyes to Ramón and Rosario, who had taken such good care of us for the entire two weeks. Then, one by one, we went through immigration.

 

We had time on the other side to look at the goods for sale. Rosemary bought a T-shirt featuring dancing Cubans (!), paying in Canadian dollars with a little help from the group to come up with the exact amount required. Barry bought a T-shirt featuring Che Guevara, and others nibbled at the local food. At 8:10 we got in line at the gate and were soon walking on the tarmac in the direction of the Sunwing plane. It pushed back on time, about 8:30, and dinner was served shortly thereafter.

 

We landed about 12:15 a.m. Since the change to Eastern Standard Time in Canada and the US was tonight (a week later than in Cuba), we were to fall back one hour at 2:00 a.m. In the meantime, we went through immigration individually, and then re-gathered at the baggage carousel. Slowly we all found our bags except for Barry. Ultimately, one of us insisted that he take a bag that looked like his and lo! it was his, after all. He insisted that his luggage tag had gone missing, but took it anyway.

 

We walked through Canadian Customs and gathered for a final group hug. Mark and Sandra went off to find the car rental agency, even though it didn’t open until 6:00. Barry and Rosemary looked for a cab to take them into town, where Rosemary was staying with a friend who had harbored her car while she was in Cuba, and Barry was to stay overnight with members of Toronto Friends Meeting. Lynne and Pete, who were flying on United, stayed where they were, since United used the same terminal. Kathy and Demi were flying on American and had to go to Terminal 3, but they stayed with the D’Angelos till later in the wee hours. Most were able to nap at least part of the time.

 

Epilogue

 

The last remaining issue was that of going through U.S. passport control. We all had our religious licenses to visit Cuba from the US Department of the Treasury and were just waiting for someone to ask to see them. As it turned out, our experiences were all somewhat different, two of them smooth and two of them anything but. Here they are:

 

Pete and Lynne: When they mentioned to the immigration officer that they had been in Cuba, he asked for their licenses. Pete told him they were on a religious mission and whipped them out. The officer then left briefly to confer with his supervisor, returning to inquire if they had bought anything in Cuba. Pete noted that they had received gifts and pointed to the seed necklaces that both of them were wearing. The officer asked about the value of the items and if they had cigars. Finally, he said that they were okay if they had received religious items and let them go.

 

Rosemary and Barry: Driving to Pittsburgh from Toronto, they came to the border in Niagara Falls, where they handed their passports to the US officials. "Where have you been?" they were asked. They said, "In Canada and Cuba. We were on a religious mission. We had to leave from Toronto, because you can't get there from the US." (How's that for gratuitous info? You KNOW it was Rosemary doing the talking!) "Did you bring back any cigars?" was the next question. When they said "No," the passports were returned without further comment and they continued on. No need even to mention the Treasury licenses!

 

Kathy and Demi: In the Toronto airport, they were together for the immigration process. The officer to whom they were assigned examined and questioned their documents, before ushering them into another room for more questions. There they were asked if they were aware that Cuba is a communist country. The officer explained about the embargo, noting that the travelers’ purchases there were “questionable.” He asked why they had not chosen to go to some other country, such as Haiti, for example. Demi explained that they had been invited by Cuban Quakers, and that our group had performed in many other countries. The officer seemed to accept that, but his tone remained harsh, even bullying. Finally, he said that this experience was the travelers’ “Mulligan,” a golf term indicating that he would let them by this time. However, if they tried to go to Cuba again and bring things back to the U.S., they would be held for a much longer time, be asked more questions, and not be allowed to bring anything in. Demi concluded that the officer had done the song and dance that he was hired to do – enforcing something that is ultimately un-enforceable – and that they had done their dance in return – as innocent religious folk respecting him as a person, but not because of his power to intimidate them.

 

Mark and Sandra: They went through Customs across the border from Sarnia, Ontario. When the officer heard they had been in Cuba, he took their car keys and ushered them into the adjacent building. The official who met with them was clearly dumbfounded as to why they would go to Cuba, observing that it was very dangerous there and that they were lucky to have had the Quakers to take care of them. He did not know specifically what to ask regarding what they had brought back (beyond the regular questions), so he had to look it up on the computer. At some points he was grumpy, and at other points curious, as when he asked "What is it like there?" He examined their papers thoroughly, and then searched their car and luggage. Then he let them go. They were probably there about an hour in total.

 

Otherwise, everyone got home safe and sound, tired but happy that the tour had gone so well.

 

 

 

 

 

Sandra, Mark, Pete, Lynne, Kathy, Barry, Rosemary, Demi
2010 FFD Cuba Treasurer's Report

 

By Mark Helpsmeet

 

The finances for this tour are significantly different from previous tours in that almost all tour expenses, after travel, were handled by Cuba Yearly Meeting (Ramón and others). Moreover, as with other international tours, it was necessary to use exchange rates (which vary day-to-day) in various steps to calculate expenditures. We dealt with US dollars, Canadian dollars, and Cuban Convertible pesos (CUC). Because of the economic limitations of Cuba, tour members had to pay extra to account for our own food as well. In essence, the tour expenses were covered by a combination of $2000 (US$) from the FFD international tour fund plus $400 (Canadian$) contributed by each of the 8 tour members.

 

Out of the above, we contributed $4400 (Canadian$) to Cuba YM ($1200 from FFD plus $3200 from 8 tour members) and received a receipt from them as follows:

 

Visas & Communications:                  $   800.00 CUC

All Transportation:                              $ 1120.00 CUC

Food:                                                   $ 2187.04 CUC

 

Total:                                                   $4107.04 CUC = $4400.00 Canadian$

 

Ramón told me that they had a little left over, which he fudged into the amounts to give us a receipt for the full amount.

 

The only withdrawal that I made from the General Fund, as treasurer for the group, was the $2000 noted above, and it was spent as follows, including approximations for exchange rates:

 

Baggage charges (Madison to Toronto)                                  $   120.00

Baggage charges (Toronto to Holguín)                                   $   216.27

Transportation in Cuba                                                           $ 1232.52 ($1200 Canadian)

Laundry & donations in Cuba                                                $     22.00 (20 CUC)

Travel aid to Mark & Sandra                                                  $   409.21

 

Total                                                                                        $ 2000.00

 

 

 


Responses to Minutes of Introduction

From FFD Home Meetings

 

 

(1)    The presence in our Yearly Meeting of the Friendly FolkDancers has brought great joy to our hearts. The experience was unique, as they brought to us not only the dances themselves, but also expressions of the love of God that lives in their hearts. Our community – boys, girls, women, and men – has been astonished by their enthusiasm. They take away with them a greeting of peace from Cuban Friends.

 

María A. Yi Reyna, Assistant Clerk, Cuba Yearly Meeting

Holguín, October 31, 2010

 

(2)    With the love that Christ has put in our lives, we have received this group of brothers who have come from very far away to demonstrate the gift that the Lord has given them, along with the desire that we learn to dance. It is a healthy form of enjoying and sharing experiences. We pray to our Lord that He give long lives to our brothers, so that they may go to many other places and show that, as Christians, we can have fun without harming our souls. Christ has shown his divine spirit in each one of you; may you remain fortified by his His grace and that of His father. In the love of Christ,

 

Julia Chaveco Ramírez, Clerk, Monthly Meeting of Banes

Banes, November 2, 2010

 

(3)    We were very happy with the visit of our North American brothers. They have been true ambassadors of peace. This way of uniting peoples and cultures is a beautiful witness, which makes us proud as Quakers here in Cuba. I believe that this approach helps us in the very necessary process of reconciliation among ourselves and with those like us. May God bless you abundantly and may there be many opportunities when the Lord can work so that hatred and rancor may be conquered definitively by the power of love.

 

Dikson Santiesteban Bosch, Pastor, Monthly Meeting of Puerto Padre

Puerto Padre, November 4, 2010

 

(4)    It has been a big joy to share with all of you. We received more than we were expecting. Thank God and your Meetings for the opportunity to use you as instruments of peace, not only among Cuban Quakers but among other people too. We miss you already, because we feel that you are part of our family. You have a special place in our hearts. All of you have impacted our lives in many ways, giving us your peace, happiness, joy, energy and love. Thank you for dancing among us, giving a peace message. You have opened doors that nobody can close. We are waiting for your next trip. Blessings! With love in the peace of Christ,

 

Ramón González Longoria, Presiding Clerk, Cuba Yearly Meeting

Gibara, November 6, 2010


 

 

el 13 noviembre 2010

 

Queridos amigos,

 

Les escribo para darles las gracias en nombre de todos los Bailarines Folklóricos de los Amigos para su maravillosa hospitalidad durante nuestra reciente estancia en Holguín.


Realmente apreciamos los alimentos, los consejos, el
compañerismo, y – sobre todo  – el amor que han compartido con nosotros. Gracias mil veces por su generosidad de corazón y de espíritu.


Con gran amistad,

 

Rosemary Coffey

Para los Bailarines Folklóricos de los Amigos en Cuba

23 octubre hasta 6 noviembre 2010

 

 

916 Bellefonte Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15232 USA   

 

 

 

 

 

 

[similar letter sent to Friends in Gibara]  Listen

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The Friendly FolkDancers in Cuba

October 23 – November 6, 2010

Program

Welcome to the Friendly FolkDancers 2010 tour among Cuban Friends! Our show is a physical prayer for peace, a true "peace movement." As we perform dances or lead the audience in dancing, we try to get to know the people of other countries of the world. This is our peace work.

Our performance consists of sets of dances from peoples and regions that are, or have been, at war. We are symbolically uniting them, trying to build a bridge of understanding and caring as part of the healing necessary for peace. To those in the midst of pain, anger, and fear, even the act of joining their dances with those of "the enemy" can feel threatening or appear insensitive. We intend, rather, that our dancing be seen as a prayer for the well‑being of all people, for all God's children. In the tradition of Friends, we go beyond taking sides. Instead, we choose all sides, in that we reach out to embrace all parties to a conflict. The only true victory comes when all parties win.

We begin our program today by selections from among the following sets of dances:

Peace workers around the world have benefited from the work and witness of Mohandas K. Gandhi. During his lifetime he helped knit together the Moslems and Hindus of India as they won their independence from England. This fabric was painfully torn in the aftermath of his assassination, resulting in war and, eventually, in the creation of the separate country of Pakistan. In this medley, which we call In Gandhi's Footsteps, we weave Pinjare Ke Panchhi from India with Estaferallah, a Universal Dance of Peace derived from Sufi tradition.

Shalom, Salaam, Peace is our prayer for breaking down the walls of hate and fear around the Holy Land. While we have grown accustomed over the past fifty years to thinking of Arabs and Jews as enemies, these two Semitic peoples enjoyed centuries of peaceful coexistence before the recent era. This medley includes a dance from the United States, because of our ability to tip the balance between peace and war in that part of the world, plus a Chaldean dance from Iraq. The Chaldeans are a sect of Christianity which, as of the year 2000, represented about 10% of Iraq's population. Obviously, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are related to the unrest of the Middle East. We begin with the Arabic Debka Oud and the Israeli harvest dance, Shibboleth Bassadeh. We continue with the South Side Shuffle, danced to the song I Love a Rainy Night, and conclude with Sheikhani from Iraq.

The medley that we call In Christ There Is No North or South is intended to be a north-south cultural bridge for the Americas that combines Cotton-Eyed Joe, a country line dance from the Southwestern USA, with Huaino, a dance popular in Peru and the rest of the Andes. One source documents 55 times since 1890 that the USA has intervened in Latin America, most often using its military power to promote North American self-interest. May we find ways to help one another without war or violence and to free ourselves from the blinders we wear when we look at our borders.

With Whom God Has Joined we have a different kind of medley. For all of our cultural differences the world ’round, marriage of some sort is common to all people, and this medley celebrates it through dances from several nations. We start with Hora Miresii, a Romanian women’s dance that evokes the sadness of the loss of a woman friend (typically to the village of the groom), and moves to Lakodalmi Tanç, a graceful and hopeful tune from Hungary to celebrate the transition to marriage. The pace picks up with a Croatian dance, Sukačica, referring to the bride’s cook, who prepares special dishes for the wedding feast. We end the medley with a dance that originated in Switzerland and traveled through Germany, Spain, Mexico, the USA, and elsewhere to become a perennial favorite at weddings, namely, The Chicken Dance. We invite you to join us, from your seats or on the dance floor, in this universal wedding dance.

Our planned program is only a part of our ministry. The major portion of our time with you involves participation dancing. All are invited to join us as we teach – and learn – dances that span the globe. Join us in a global prayer for peace.



Los Bailarines Folklóricos de los Amigos en Cuba

del 23 octubre hasta el 6 noviembre 2010

Programa

¡Bienvenidos a la gira de 2010 entre los Amigos de Cuba de los Bailarines Folklóricos de los Amigos! Nuestro programa es una oración física por la paz, un verdadero "movimiento por la paz." A medida que bailamos o llevamos a la audiencia en la danza, tratamos de llegar a conocer a la gente de otros países del mundo. Este es nuestro trabajo por la paz.

Nuestra representación consiste en conjuntos de danzas de los pueblos y regiones que estan, o han estado, en guerra. Estamos uniendolos simbólicamente, tratando de construir un puente de entendimiento y bondad como parte de la curación necesaria para la paz. Para los que  están en medio del dolor, la ira y el miedo, el acto de unir sus bailes con los del "enemigo" puede sentirse como una amenaza o parecer insensible. Nos proponemos, más bien, que nuestro baile se vea como una oración por el bienestar de todas las personas, de todos los hijos de Dios. En la tradición de los Amigos, vamos más allá de tomar partido. En su lugar, optamos por todos los lados, a fin de extendernos para abrazar a todas las partes en un conflicto. La única victoria verdadera viene cuando todas las partes ganan.

Empezamos nuestro programa de hoy por una selección de entre los siguientes conjuntos de danzas:

Los trabajadores de la paz en todo el mundo se han beneficiado de la labor y el testimonio de Mahatma Gandhi. Durante su vida ayudó a unir a los musulmanes y los hindúes de la India, cuando ganaron su independencia de Inglaterra. Esta tela se rasgó dolorosamente tras su asesinato, lo que resultó en la guerra y, finalmente, en la creación del país independiente de Pakistán. En esta mezcla, lo que llamamos Tras las huellas de Gandhi, tejemos Pinjare Ke Panchhi de la India con Estaferallah, una danza universal de la paz derivada de la tradición Sufí.

Shalom, Salaam, Paz es nuestra oración para derribar los muros del odio y del miedo en torno a la Tierra Santa. Si bien nos hemos acostumbrado durante los últimos cincuenta años con el pensamiento de los Árabes y los Judios como enemigos, estos dos pueblos semitas disfrutaron de siglos de coexistencia pacífica antes de la era reciente. Esta mezcla incluye un baile de los Estados Unidos, debido a nuestra capacidad de inclinar la balanza entre la paz y la guerra en esa parte del mundo, además de un baile caldeo de Irak. Los caldeos son una secta del cristianismo que, a partir del año 2000, representó aproximadamente el 10% de la población iraquí. Obviamente, las guerras en Irak y Afganistán están relacionados con los disturbios de Oriente Medio. Comenzamos con la danza árabe Debka Oud y la danza de la cosecha de Israel, Shibboleth Bassadeh. Seguimos con la danza “Shuffle” del Lado Sur, con la canción Amo a una noche de lluvia, y conclumos con Sheikhani de Irak.

La mezcla que llamamos En Cristo no hay Norte ni Sur pretende ser un puente cultural norte-sur para las Américas. Ella combina Cotton-Eyed Joe, un baile en línea del área sudoccidental de los EE.UU., con el Huaino, un baile popular en el Perú y el resto de los Andes. Al menos un documento original describe 55 veces, desde 1890, que los EE.UU. han intervenido en América Latina, más a menudo usando su poder militar para promover el interés propio de los nortemaricanos. Podemos encontrar la manera de ayudarnos unos a otros sin guerra ni violencia y liberarnos de la ceguera que usamos cuando nos fijamos en nuestras fronteras.

En A quien Dios ha unido tenemos otro tipo de mezcla. A pesar de nuestras diferencias culturales alre-dedor del mundo, el matrimonio es común a todas las personas. Esta mezcla celebra el matrimonio a través de danzas de varias naciones. Comenzamos con Hora Miresii, una danza rumana de la novia, que evoca la tristeza de la pérdida de una amiga (por lo general a la aldea del novio), y siguemos con Lakodalmi Tanç, una canción graciosa y esperanzador de Hungría para celebrar la transición al matri-monio. El ritmo que se recoge en una danza de Croacia, Sukačica, se refiere a la cocinera de la novia, que prepara platos especiales para la fiesta de la boda. Terminamos la mezcla con un baile que se originó en Suiza y viajó por varios países para convertirse en uno de los favoritos en las bodas, a saber, La danza del pollo. Le invitamos a unirse a nosotros, desde sus asientos o en la pista de baile.

Nuestro programa previsto es sólo una parte de nuestro ministerio. La mayor parte de nuestro tiempo con vosotros consiste en bailar con la participación de los asistentes. Todos están invitados a unirse a nosotros cuando enseñamos – y aprendemos – danzas que abarcan todo el mundo. Únanse a nosotros en una oración por la paz mundial.

 

The Friendly FolkDancers Tour Cuba

October 23-November 6, 2010

THE TROUPE

 

BARRY BEAL is touring with the Friendly FolkDancers for the second time. A member of Pittsburgh, PA, Friends Meeting, he learned to square dance as a kid in his brother’s barn, with his brother calling the dances. His favorite dances now are contra, waltz, and zydeco. His work as a computer network engineer took him to Asia for 7 years. In his spare time, he does web sites for friends and non-profits, including the King George VI School for the Disabled in Zimbabwe.

ROSEMARY COFFEY has toured with the FFD in Kenya, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, and Rwanda, as well as in several parts of the USA. Active in Pittsburgh (PA) Monthly Meeting, Lake Erie Yearly Meeting, and FWCC Section of the Americas, she also leads workshops for the Friends General Conference summer gatherings. An editor, author, and retired teacher, mother of three, and lifelong Quaker, she has lived in Brazil, Switzerland, and England and traveled widely. She has been touring with the FFD since 1992.

LYNNE D’ANGELO has toured with the Friendly Folk Dancers in Ireland, Arizona, Florida, and Rwanda. A native California, she is a retired dietitian. She started folk dancing in 1996 and has been dancing ever since. An active member of Strawberry Creek Monthly Meeting in Berkeley, CA, she enjoys traveling, ethnic food, hiking, gardening and playing with her twin two-year-old grandchildren..Lynne and her husband Peter have three grown children. This is her fifth FFD tour.

PETER D’ANGELO, a native of California, is a retired electronic engineer who has been folk dancing since the 1960s. Peter also loves adventure travel, hiking and backpacking. Peter and his wife Lynne have been to every continent except Antarctica. They were, in fact, going to Antarctica when their ship sank just short of the Antarctica Peninsula. They have trekked on the Milford Track in New Zealand, hiked in South America’s Patagonia, back packed in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, and tried to climb Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro. This is Peter’s fifth FFD tour.

MARK HELPSMEET has many passions – his marriage, his son, folk dancing, singing and cooking, but his latest leading is Northern Spirit Radio, a project under the care of his Monthly Meeting. Since 2005, Mark has been producing radio programs combining Quaker spirituality and activism which are also available at www.NorthernSpiritRadio.org. He spent 2 years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa and was a founder of the Friendly FolkDancers in 1986.

SANDRA HELPSMEET is a reformed clumsy person, having discovered many years ago that anyone can folk dance. She especially enjoys teaching folk dance to people who think they can't do it. She loves Sacred Circle Dances and singing with a local folk dance band. Sandra is an instructor at and founder of the Yoga Center of Eau Claire (Wisconsin). Mother of four sons and a convinced Friend for more than 20 years, she belongs to Eau Claire Friends Meeting.

KATHY LIPP-FARR is a social worker in the Washington, DC, area, who has worked with Hispanic children and families for over 25 years. She has traveled and worked in Latin America, and is thrilled to be visiting Cuba! She lives with her husband and two children, and attends the Friends Meeting of Washing-ton. Kathy turns 50 this year, and this dance tour is her favorite way of celebrating!

DEMI MILLER, one of the founders of the Friendly FolkDancers, has remained active as a dancer, teacher, and recreational choreographer. At his home town in Minnesota, he uses dancers to teach world cultures. He also teaches social dancing to adults through his work with local parks and education programs in the community. His most recent interests focus on Quaker simplicity and sustainable communities in the US.   He's very interested in how Cuban Quakers responded to the spiritual challenges of the special period after 1990.


Los Bailarines FolklÓricos de los Amigos

Con los Amigos de Cuba, 23 octubre 6 noviembre

La CompaÑÍa

BARRY BEAL (BARI) está de gira con los Bailarines Folklóricos de los Amigos por segunda vez. Un miembro de la Junta Mensual de los Amigos de Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, él aprendió las danzas de figuras siendo un niño en el granero de su hermano, quien guiaba las danzas. Sus bailes favoritos ahora están contra, valsa y zydeco. Su trabajo como ingeniero de red de ordenadores le llevó a Asia durante 7 años. En su tiempo libre, hace sitios web para los amigos y organizaciones sin fines de lucro, incluyendo la Escuela para Discapacitados rey Jorge VI en Zimbabwe.

ROSEMARY COFFEY (ROSA MARIA) ha girado con los Bailarines Folklóricos de los Amigos (BFA) en Kenya, Nueva Zelanda, Irlanda, Australia, y Ruanda, así como en varias partes de los EE.UU. Activa en la Junta Mensual de Pittsburgh (PA), la Junta Anual del Lago Erie, y la Sección de las Américas de CMCA, ella también dirige talleres para los encuentros de verano de la Conferencia General de los Amigos. Una editora, autora y profesora jubilada, madre de tres hijos, y cuáquera de por vida, ella ha vivido en Brasil, Suiza e Inglaterra y viajó mucho. Ella ha estado de gira con los BFA desde 1992.

LYNNE D'ANGELO (LIN) ha realizado giras con los Bailarines Folklóricos de los Amigos en Irlanda, Arizona, Florida, y Ruanda. Una nativa de California, es una dietista jubilada. Ella comenzó a bailar las danzas folklóricas en 1996 y ha estado bailando desde entonces. Un miembro activo de la Junta Mensual llamada “Strawberry Creek” en Berkeley, CA, le gusta viajar, la comida étnica, excursiones, jardinería y jugar con sus nietos gemelos de dos años de edad. Lin y su esposo Pedro tienen tres hijos adultos. Este es su quinta gira con los BFA.

PETER D'ANGELO (PEDRO), un nativo de California, es un ingeniero electrónico jubilado que ha praticado el baile folklórico desde la década de 1960. Pedro también le gusta el turismo de aventura, senderismo y viajar con su mochila al hombro. Pedro y su esposa Lin han estado en todos los continentes excepto la Antártida. Ellos fueron, de hecho, de camino a la Antártida cuando su barco se hundió poco antes de la Península Antártica. Ellos han caminado en el Milford Track en Nueva Zelanda, en la Patagonia en América del Sur, y en las montañas de Sierra Nevada en California, y tratáron de escalar el Monte Kilimanjaro de África. Esta es la quinta gira de Pedro con los BFA.

MARK HELPSMEET (MARCOS) tiene muchas pasiones – su matrimonio, su hijo, las danzas folklóricas, el canto y la cocina, pero su última pasión estos días es el programa de radio El Espíritu del Norte, un proyecto bajo el cuidado de su Junta Mensual de Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Desde el año 2005, Marcos ha estado produciendo programas de radio que combinan la espiritualidad y el activismo cuáquero. También están disponibles en www.NorthernSpiritRadio.org. Pasó dos años como voluntario del Cuerpo de Paz en África y fue uno de los fundadores en 1986 de los Bailarines Folklóricos de los Amigos.

SANDRA HELPSMEET (SANDRA,) quien no se consideraba buena bailarina antes, descubrió, hace muchos años, que cualquier persona puede hacer las danzas folklóricas. A ella le gusta enseñar danza folklórica a las personas que piensan que no pueden hacerla. Le encantan Danzas Sagradas en Círculo y cantar con una banda de danza folklórica local. Sandra es una instructora y fundadora del Centro de Yoga de Eau Claire, WI. Madre de cuatro hijos y una Amiga convencida desde hace más de 20 años, pertenece a la Junta de los Amigos de Eau Claire.

KATHY LIPP-FARR (KATI) es una trabajadora social que vive en el área de Washington, DC, y ha trabajado en la comunidad hispánica en los Estados Unidos por más de 25 años. Ha viajado y trabajado en Latino-America, y está muy emocionada por visitar a Cuba! Kati vive con su esposo y dos hijos, y es miembro de la Junta de Amigos de Washington, DC. Kati cumple 50 años este año, y una gira de baile es su modo favorito de celebrar!

DEMI MILLER (DEMI), uno de los fundadores de los Bailarines Folklóricos de los Amigos, se ha mantenido activo como bailarín, maestro, y coreógrafo recreativo. En su ciudad en Minnesota, utiliza bailarines para enseñar las culturas del mundo. También es professor de los adultos de baile social a través de su trabajo con los parques locales y programas de educación en la comunidad. Sus intereses recientes se centran más en la simplicidad cuáquera y en las comunidades sostenibles en los EE.UU. Está muy interesado en cómo los Amigos cubanos respondieron a los desafíos espirituales del período especial a partir de 1990.

Troupe Members

 


 

Barry Beal

142 W Swissvale Ave

Pittsburgh, PA 15218

(412) 244-1242

bdbeal@comcast.net



Rosemary Coffey

916 Bellefonte St

Pittsburgh PA 15232

(412) 682-0296 (Home)
(412) 613-2281 (Cell)

rosemarycoffey@aol.com

 

 

Lynne & Peter D'Angelo
5839 Clover Drive
Oakland, CA 94618-1622
(510) 654-3136 (Home)
(510) 435-2962 (Cell)

pvdangelo@hotmail.com
lbdangelo@hotmail.com
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark & Sandra Helpsmeet

2550 Gregerson Drive

Eau Claire, Wisconsin  54703

(715) 874-6646 (Home)

(715) 839-6855 (Work - Mark)
(715) 491-0783 (Cell - Mark)
(715) 830-0321 (Cell - Sandra)

helpsmeet@usa.net

 

 

Kathy Lipp-Farr
5713 South 2nd Street
Arlington, VA 22204
(703) 998-4120

lippfarr@verizon.net

 

 

Demi Miller
271 W King St
St Paul, MN 55107
(651) 224-0231 (Home)
(651) 592-9122 (Cell)
peersupport@earthlink.net



Nuestros Hospederos en Holguín

 

María Yi Reyna & Alberto González Fernández

Calle 20 #118 Esquina Paz Reparto

Vista Alegre, Holguín  CP 80300

53-24-421415

mariayi@enet.cu

 

Carlos Drummond Bennett

Calle Libertad #114

Iglesia de los Amigos

entre Agramonte y Garayalde, Holguín  CP 80100

54-24-463352

mariayi@enet.cu

 

Lianet Leyva González

Calle Libertad #114

Iglesia de los Amigos

entre Agramonte y Garayalde, Holguín  CP 80100

54-24-463352

 

Esther María Toro Guerrero

Calle 5ta #19

entre 2 y 8 Villa Nueva, Holguín  CP 80500

 

 


Nuestros Hospederos en Gibara

 

Ramón González Longoria Escalona &  Rosario Concepción Fernández

Calle J. Mora #13

Entre Calixto García y J. Agüero

Gibara, Holguín

844378

longoria@enet.cu

 

Marcos González Longoria Concepción & Alina López Peña

Calle Felipe Poey #523 Apto 4

Entre O Forril y Patrocinio

Ciudad Habana, Vibora

6492976

 

Enelia Escalona González

Calle J. Agüero #113

Gibara, Holguín

844109

 

Richard Roja & Yanina Hernández

Calle Cuba 191

Gibara, Holguín

 

Lourdes Jomarrón Landrove

Calle Calixto García 59

Gibara, Holguín

844608

 

Julio Rubio Sales

Calle Carlos M. de Céspedes 86A

Gibara, Holguín

844109

Subpages (1): DRC Tour - 2014
ĉ
Mark Helpsmeet,
May 1, 2011, 5:23 PM
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