Culture shock in Cuba

The humid warm weather, palm trees and dark red dirt captured my attention as we left the airport upon our arrival in Havava.

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As we started our journey towards Arriete, the town where we would stay the next three weeks, I saw quiet roads surrounded by light green plantations without light posts. The roads were almost empty. As we approached our destination, we were told this was almost the end of the earth—and it sure looked like it. We had turned so much and passed through really small towns. The roads were dark, and it seemed that we had gone back in time.

As soon as we arrived, youth came over to greet us. We were glad to hear the famous Cuban accent. They looked at us as if we were from a different planet. Soon, we met Pastor Asmel and his wife, Yuslavys, and their 18-month-old baby, Marcos. With a smile and welcoming spirits, we knew we were in good hands.

Only a few hours into Cuba and I was already in culture shock. I thought about the stages we had learned about. Where had the fun stage gone? It probably just lasted minutes. I had skipped to the flight stage. Before going to bed, I told Eunice how I was feeling—completely out of my comfort zone. This city girl was not expecting to feel so out of place. After all, I have been to the border many times. But this felt so strange to me. Our beds only had the bottom sheet and a pillow. Everything was dark outside with different trees, different mosquitoes—they even sounded different. Eunice promised she would try her best to help me the next day.

The next day, I felt at home. The food was good. The people were all so welcoming. The sky was blue. Even if I was still adapting, I felt much better. I knew God would hold my hand every step.

Cynthia Peralta, a student at the University of Texas in Austin, served with Go Now Missions in Cuba.

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