I just returned from another week in Cuba. During this trip I was able to travel to Potrerillos, Cienfuegos and meet new friends in Cumanyagua. The purpose of this trip was to introduce build teams to the opportunities that Dwellings has in the country, as well as solidify processes for our future builds. Overall, it was a very successful trip.
We have been learning difficult lessons in Cuba. The country is unlike any country we have ever built in before and there are a great many rules and regulations we just learn in order to accomplish our goals. Over the past several months we have been challenged with new customs and immigration regulations, labor laws, supply shortages, major hurricanes, as well as changes in U.S. policy regarding our visits. This has caused us to be on our toes and find new and creative solutions to these unique opportunities.
To date we have completed 4 homes in Potrerillos, constructed a facility in order for us to host teams, and begun the foundation work on our 5th home. In addition, we have hosted 4 build teams and various exploratory groups. We have purchased block making machines, taught our ground team how to manufacture and build with these materials and have sought after avenues to secure materials for future homes. It seems that we have reached a place where we are ready to begin.
Cuba will be different than our other locations. There are many more regulations that we must abide by in order to continue our work there. While in country, teams will need to be inconspicuous, and respectful of the ever changing expectations that this country has on American visitors. Dwellings is sending some of the first teams in the country’s history with the intention of providing homes for families in need. We are attempting to provide homes and hope, yet acquiescing to the country’s desired public persona of a nation that does not need outside assistance.
Cuba is a proud country. The motto, “Patria o muerte”, (Fatherland or death) is seen almost everywhere you look. As we enter the 59th year of the revolution, the nation is changing. Public elections are being held for the first time since 1958. The winds of change are felt in the lives of the people, but there remains a precarious balance between the systematic socialism and the desire of a free market. Dwellings stands at the precipice of this new Cuba and it’s exciting to witness first hand.
Never have I met a more beautiful, caring and inspiring people. I feel at home here and look forward to the next time I can greet Manuel, Onora, Maya, Raisa, Angel Luis, Javier, Odett and so many others. I look forward to sharing a small cup of coffee, laughing about my bad Spanish, consuming vast amounts of flan and hearing the childish laughs of Raisa’s kids. I can’t wait to hear Angel Luis break out his guitar and sing songs about a faithful God and the freedom only He can provide. I’m counting the seconds before I can begin laying the bricks that will become the walls of a new home for a MORE than deserving family.
The time is now. Let me introduce you to my Cuban family. Come be a part of transforming a family’s life together. Spend a week in one of the most unique, beautiful and amazing countries you’ll ever visit and see how just 5 short days can completely transform YOUR life. The winds of change are blowing. Can you feel them? Patria o muerte!