Sonia McReynolds goes to Cuba!

Sonia McReynolds, a life-long Tucsonan from the Westside, and her husband Herb McReynolds, chief of staff at the Emergency Room at St. Marys Hospital, share here about their recent trip to Cuba.

Sonia organizes a monthly lunch brigade to Casa Maria from her parish, Most Holy Trinity. Thanks to Sonia and Most Holy Trinity!

by Sonia McReynolds

Our trip to Cuba was everything we expected and much more. My husband and I went to Cuba solely as a humanitarian, educational, and cultural trip and not for political reasons. We visited Cuba with a tour company, which was the only method of travel to Cuba via the United States.

The cities we toured were Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santa Clara, and Havana. All of the people were friendly and welcoming, especially the elderly and children. We were able to visit some of the schools where children displayed their musical talents with pride. All of the children in Cuba receive free education from elementary school through college. Cuba’s goal is to eliminate illiteracy through government funded programs. Not only does Cuba provide free education, they also offer free health care for all individuals. Government health programs provide free health coverage for hospital services, physician office visits, medication, etc.

Once per month, every Cuban receives five pounds of rice, five pounds of sugar, and two pounds of beans, free of charge. Should families require more than this ration, they must pay for additional staples at the rationing store.

We were invited to visit Casa Asilo, an adult care home operated by “Las Hermanitas”, Catholic nuns. Casa Asilo was founded in 1886. This nursing home currently has approximately 400 residents. Onsite physical therapy is available as well as physician and nursing care. Some of the residents perform in plays, sing, and dance in their beautiful theater where they entertain other residents. They even have annual Olympics where the residents compete in various sporting competitions. The residents we spoke with seemed very content, comfortable, clean, and happy. This nursing home depends on donations from the public and organizations to offset the expenses that resident pension plans cannot meet.

Our trip included; visits to historical sites, botanical gardens, art galleries, cathedrals, military canon ceremony, symphony performance, strolls through the cobblestone streets, rich architecture, Afro Cuban jazz, Salsa, chef-led cooking class, rides in vintage cars, delicious food, and friendly Cubans, etc. We also had a fascinating political discussion with an ex-Cuban-USA diplomat. It’s amazing how much we experienced and learned about Cuban culture and how the people live as we enter a new era of USA-Cuban relations. My husband and I are already looking forward to our next visit to Cuba.

__________________________

traducido por Alicia Nunez

Sonia McReynolds, Tucsonense del lado Oeste de la ciudad y su esposo Herb McReynolds, jefe de personal en el cuarto de Emergencias en el hospital Santa María, compartieron con nosotros su viaje a Cuba.

Sonia organiza los almuerzos que traen a Casa María cada mes de su Iglesia Most Holyn Trinity.

Gracias a Sonia y a la Iglesia Most Holy Trinity.

Nuestro viaje a Cuba supero nuestras expectativas. Mi esposo y yo fuimos a Cuba como un viaje humanitario, educacional y cultural no por razones políticas. Visitamos Cuba con una compañía de excursión, que era la mejor forma de viajar a Cuba de los Estados Unidos.

Las ciudades que visitamos fueron Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santa Clara y La Habana. La gente era amable y nos daba la bienvenida, especialmente los ancianos y niños. Pudimos visitar algunas escuelas donde los niños mostraban su talento musical con orgullo. Todos los niños en Cuba reciben educación gratis desde la primaria hasta la preparatoria. La meta de Cuba es eliminar el analfabetismo a través de los programas que el gobierno provee. Cuba no solo provee educación gratis, sino que también tiene seguro de salud para todas las personas. El seguro de Salud tiene cobertura gratis en los hospitales, visitas al doctor, medicamentos, etc.

Una vez al mes, las personas reciben 5 libras de arroz, 5 de azúcar y 2 de frijoles sin costo alguno. Si las familias necesitan más comida necesitan pagar un precio por ella.

Fuimos invitados a visitar Casa Asilo para ancianos administrado por “Las Hermanitas” monjas Católicas. Casa Asilo fue fundada 1886. Este asilo tiene aproximadamente 400 residentes. Hay doctor, enfermeras y también tienen terapia física disponible. Algunos de los residentes tocan instrumentos, cantan y bailan para entretener a los demás residentes. Incluso ellos tienen competencias cada año donde los residentes compiten en varios deportes.

Los residentes con los que hablamos se veían felices, cómodos y limpios. Este asilo se mantiene de donaciones de la gente y organizaciones para mantener los gastos ya que las pensiones no alcanzan.

El viaje incluía; visitas a lugares históricos, galerías de arte, catedrales, ceremonia militar, teatro, paseos a las calles principales, arquitectura, jazz afro-cubano, salsa, restaurantes principales, etc. También tuvimos una plática muy interesante con un ex-diplomático cubano-americano. Es fascinante lo que vivimos y aprendimos acerca de la cultura cubana y como la gente vive, mientras entramos a la nueva era de relaciones de Cuba y Estados Unidos. Mi esposo y yo estamos preparándonos para nuestra siguiente visita a Cuba.

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