"CUBA YES" TRIP 2016
Many thanks to - and all photos the property of - John Van Hooser
In the summer of 2016 twelve San Francisco Bay Area teenage baseball players, their families and friends, played five games with Cuban teens over 8 days of travel, hosted players' families for lunches and interactive time after games, and immersed in Cuban communities and cultures. The "Cuba - American International Friendship Tour" brought us into Cuban homes, delivered donations ("gifts") to Cubans in community centers, and enabled us to see first-hand the Cubans' amazing comaraderie, respect and support for one another. Delivering the medicines, food and other badly-needed supplies we collected by horse and buggy to disabled rural residents in their homes gave us better perspective on our own good fortune and gave many of us a sense of our greater responsibility to assist others in need. Many teens in the group felt these days were the most meaningful experiences ever, and several said that the trip "changed my life."
"I had the opportunity to accompany my 14 year old grandson on a baseball trip to Cuba with the Cuba Travel Adventures Group this summer. It was a life-changing experience as we were introduced to “inside Cuba” including warm interactions with the Cuban people. Our tour was guided by a team of highly educated, articulate young men who informed us of Cuban history to modern day.
We had a lunch lecture from a University Professor and talks from private business entrepreneurs to communal farms. We toured the highlights of Cuba and had first hand experiences with the culture in art, music, photography and dance. We even got to ride in the classic cars and the horse and buggies. Our trip extended outside the city of Havana to the countryside and the beautiful beaches of Valerdaro. We visited the haunts of Hemingway (including his estate and boat), had tea with the new American Ambassador and enjoyed the performance of the famous Buena Vista Social Club. A unique experience was delivering food to families with special needs children, bringing “state of the art” baseball equipment to the Cuban teams and interacting with the Cuban baseball players during meals provided after the games. The dining venues chosen were of high quality and we were often accompanied with live entertainment. We traveled in an air conditioned bus with a perfect balance of activity and rest. Every effort was made to accommodate our needs and comfort. I recommend Cuba Travel Adventures Group for your next vacation and do it sooner than later!!!" - Grandparent (Diane B.) on Baseball exchange tour (July 2-10)