Our students will have plenty of unique stories to tell at the end of their semester in Cuba. Not long after their arrival, Hurricane Irma hit the island after carving a path of destruction through the rest of the Carribean. After much discussion with various authorities and with our team on the ground about where our students might be safest, the decision was taken to shelter in place.
Our residence was solidly built and had plenty of food and water and our staff were able to be with students throughout the entire storm. During the hurricane, our students, accompanied by the Resident Director Angelica Salazar, had time to learn how to cook some Cuban dishes, as Lorenzo Rodríguez, our landlord is a gourmand and devoted chef, to play games and to sing an awful lot of songs as electricity was being cut and the brunt of the storm passed over. Luckily, the residence sustained no harm but the area where our students live (Vedado) was affected by fallen trees, flooding and the general debris of a storm.
In the aftermath of the hurricane, our students decided to help the community by picking up the debris and cleaning the streets. This display of good will has been very much appreciated by the community, staff and at the University of Havana.
We hope the rest of the semester is less bumpy for our students and Director! However, we know that these experiences can forge resilience and bonds and shared memories that can last a lifetime. We look forward to hearing more stories as our students continue the semester.