My soul was intact once again after making it back to the hostel. My wife and the kids were ready to head out. We were all boiling with anticipation. We were all ready to finally attend the International Conference on African and African American Culture. Within a few minutes , we were finally heading to the conference. My energy was at 100% and I was ready with adrenaline running throughout my entire body. However, I was quiet for the entire trip.
We arrived at the Antonio Maceo Revolution Square. This square was dominated with a massive statue of General Antonio Maceo and was considered the most outstanding monument in Santiago de Cuba during the 20th century. It was inaugurated on October 14, 1991, with Fidel Castro present. The bigger than life statue was a representation of my spirit and confidence at that very moment.
This hall was one of the most important halls for cultural events in the city. The first things I noticed as I entered the hall, were historical portraits of Cuban generals and historical figures including Antonio Maceo. There were quotes from these figures and artifacts from Cuban history. My energy continued to grow as I entered the the performance hall.
I entered the performance hall with musical performances. There was a Cuban Rumba group playing music. There was also a beautiful poetry being read by the conference director, Dr. Marta E. Cordiés. She was dressed in an all white dress and she danced gracefully as her poetic words captivated the room. There were also ambassadors from Africa and representatives from other countries. It was such a beautiful scene. Ironically, my family and I all wore white. Marta greeted us and welcomed us to Santiago de Cuba. Marta was like the godmother of Afro-Cuban culture in Santiago de Cuba. As we enjoyed the first day of the conference, Marta provided us with so much hospitality.
As the evening arrived, my family and I needed to get some rest. We were overwhelmed with energy and love. Marta was kind enough to have one of her recommended taxi drivers, Luis, drive us home as a courtesy. As we rode back to the hostel, the taxi driver explained how public transportation was not worth taking and that taxis are the best way to get around. He seemed very sincere and down-to-earth. We arrived at the hostel and realized that we didn’t have any change to give him a tip. We decided to pay Luis in advance to pick us up for the following day. Luis departed and we enjoyed the evening with Cuban drinks and food. I had a lot on my mind as the next day was my performance.
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