We started the next day ready to explore outside of the center of Santiago de Cuba. Andy was real excited for us to meet his family on the Eastern side of Cuba. We took a truck to what seemed to be the middle of no where. As we drove over the bumps in the road, we all bounced around the truck bed. The farther away from the center of the city we journeyed, the more the harsh reality of Cuban life kicked in.
We traveled about 35 minutes away to a small community called Nuevo Viste Alegre. This was a residential area surrounded by beautiful trees. The sounds of Cuban Reggaeton echoed throughout the streets. We were fully engulfed into the local Cuban Culture.
We were welcomed by Andy’s aunt, cousin, uncle, and grandmother. There was no lack of warm hugs as we were shown so much love. We were also greeted by the loving community. Neighbors saluted us and joined us. Cataleya instantly made friends with the local kids.
Madelin talked to the kids and they followed each and every one of her words. Madelin explained the anatomy of a fish and even though they don’t completely understand, their enthusiasm shined through their precious smiles. The kids in Cuba are inquisitive and mesmerized with learning.
The entire community was having a good time. With nothing but music, good company, and a few Cuban beers, Nuevo Viste Alegre was like a home away from home. Although the community was poor, they offered the little that they had. Andy’s aunt prepared an amazingly delicious Cuban dish in which you could not pass up. We felt like family and as if Cuba was a place we were returning to even though it was our first time there. Everyone was chilling, especially this 200 pound pig that thought it was a dog.
I took a break to use the restroom. All of sudden, I heard Madelin scream as if she panicked. I finished using the restroom and I rush to Madelin. She became frantic as she noticed that our 2 year old was nowhere to be found. I looked everywhere in the house while running around frantically. I rushed outside with worry weighing heavy on my chest.
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