Visiting Cuba in November of 2014 was a peak experience for me. Traveling with an accomplished group of photographers was thrilling and daunting. It increased the pressure I had placed on myself to make one meaningful image.
As it happened, we had the privilege to visit a country on the cusp of great change. Just a week after our return, the Obama administration announced the path to normalization of relations. Already, travelers familiar with the island nation are reporting stark change. I can only hope there will be benefit for all the peoples of this country. They are resilient, resourceful, and optimistic. But they are tired and they have suffered, needlessly, for too long.
I’ve recounted a bit more of the story in my self-published Four Days in Havana. You can see it under the Books & Prints link.
UPDATE! I returned to Cuba in March of this year, 2017, and was stunned to see all the change that had taken place, particularly in Old Havana. Shiny new eateries were on many corners, with designer-chic interiors and VERY good food. But now the future is entirely uncertain again. I ache for the citizens that put life-savings into opening casa particulars only to have the American tourism market stifled again.
I’ll be going back soon (hopefully December 5-15) with a very small group. Email me for details: keron @ keron psillas.com There are only 2 spots available as of July 1, 2017. In addition to five nights in Havana, we’ll venture to Trinidad and Cienfuegos. Accommodation is in a very nice casa particular in Old Havana.
I take the ‘aid to the Cuban people’ option on the visa form seriously. This past trip we were able to supply the Elder-care center with much-needed medicines, snacks, and first aid supplies. We also brought material and monetary aid to a child care center for children aged 1 1/2 to 5 that is run by an Order of Catholic Nuns. They exist almost solely on donations. I can’t wait to go back! We were treated to the most wonderful impromptu concert at the Elder Care center. Sometimes you just have to put the camera down and enjoy the experience.