Waking up and knowing it will be the last full day in Cuba can mean different things for everyone. Some excited to back home, others not wanting to go, and then there are those who are too exhausted to formulate opinions. As we made our way to Havana, I thought that I was feeling all of the above.
Today we watched a performance of African Cuban culture. In small seats we sat, watching interpretations of the sun, earth and sea gods performed by a group of five dancers. Gabe was asked to dance with the sea god, (and did so graciously, of course) three drummers wearing traditional robes began to play. To me, it felt like this performance was not done out of love, grace, or expression, but as a sham to separate tourists from the money in their wallets. I am wondering how many times those drummers and dances have punted there feet against the street, sang there voices dry, and played their fingers numb, we then moved onto a barber shop cooperative.
Cuba is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Here, in this street, we glimpsed Cuba’s other half. Something essential to see for those of us who want to understand all of Cuba’s multidimensional self.
Chris helped us culminate the trip by helping us write our own leadership stories. We reflected on what type of leaders we were before coming to Cuba and thought about what we learned about leadership during the trip. Each person found something about themselves that they wanted to share with the group: a habit they want to change, a passion that was galvanized by this Cuba trip, an appreciation for the country we stood in. Our leadership stories framed our adventure in Cuba: we began and ended the trip thinking about what kind of leaders we all wanted to be. Now looking back at our time, we can see how our individual leadership styles contributed to our enjoyment of Cuba.