Cuba on My Mind

Rob and I and our friend Jean (and a dozen other folks who were in our tour group) just got back from CUBA!! I’ve wanted to go for a long time, and it is getting easier for Americans to go legally.  It turns out to be a beautiful island—no surprise. Havana looks a lot like, well, this:

IMG_0022-300x225

IMG_0076-225x300

IMG_0115-300x225

IMG_0114-300x224

We also traveled to the countryside, where we visited a tobacco grower:

IMG_0185-300x225

IMG_0217-300x225

And the studio of Jose Fuster, an unbelievable mosaic artist.  He has covered his own home and that of many of his neighbors in intricate, quirky mosaics:

IMG_3538-e1414775698246-224x300

And an organic farm that is also trying to incorporate some permaculture practices:

IMG_3423-e1414776315453-224x300

There’s a lot that I could say about the trip, which was full of wonderfully jarring moments.  But in terms of the subject of this blog, I feel like the main point should be the way that a sustainability ethos is manifest in everything from food growth and meal prep to building repair to the materials that artists have access to for their work.  In that regard, Cuba is incredible.  I understand that the emphasis on sustainability is of necessity.  But what we saw was most definitely a reduce/re-use/recycle world.  And while I also realize that as tourists our access was managed, some of what we happened upon was most definitely the product of chance.

For me, one lingering question is whether this will last as the climate changes.  While we were there, Raul announced that he would not seek another term as president after this one ends.  And that means that life there is bound to change in ways that are hard to imagine.  It’s hard to know whether living lightly will be a value people strive to retain or a remnant of a hardship-filled past they are glad to leave behind.

(thank you Rob and Jean for sharing your pics!)