Monday Jan 11 Ten hours on a bus
5 a.m. alarm. Quick shower. Cuban coffee – sweet, strong, and hot. No food, which was a mistake. Crowded cab to the bus station. And then a journey across most of the island to Camaguey. Our first rest stop was supposed to be ten minutes, but lasted much longer because the bus needed repairs. The driver put on coveralls, got out his tools, and crawled under the bus. It was a modern bus, if a bit worn in places. Along the way we picked up passengers, including pastor Obed, whose English is quite good. He and Armando both have a delightful sense of humor.
What surprised me most was just how rural most of Cuba is. We were on a major highway and went miles without seeing buildings. We passed farms where oxen were plowing and horses were pulling carts. We drove over plains, past sugar cane fields, banana plantations, and pastures. We went through the hill country and finally stopped at a lovely roadside restaurant for lunch. Cuba is so beautiful and green. I think the most refreshing thing about the trip, other than lunch, was the fact that there were almost no billboards or other advertisements. In marked contrast to other places I’ve visited, no one was trying to sell things or asking for money. So far the Cubans have been among the most polite and pleasant people I’ve ever been around.
We were greeted at the bus station with a delegation of men and women from the Moravian Church. Hugs and kisses and smiles. They all know and love Bishop Sam. We are staying near the church in a lovely guest house. Tonight the owner’s mother celebrated her 78th birthday and they invited us to share in the beautiful pink and white cake. So gracious. We took a cab into the old city for dinner, and we were able to access WiFi in the square near the Catholic Church. So finally I could text my wife to let her know that I am safe and being well fed and watered. It was good to know that they are well even if one of the daughters tried to microwave a metal coffee cup!
It is now 10 p.m. and time for sleep. Tomorrow classes begin. I’ve done bilingual education and am naturally quite nervous. One of my students this fall, Angelical Religado translated all of my powerpoint slides into Spanish and Sam printed them as booklets for the participants. Over 200 pages!
And so, with prayers of gratitude, it is time to sleep.