This blog's title means "Cuban-hearted woman" (very loosely translated!). I settled on this name because it had a nice ring to my unschooled ear and, more importantly, because I think the Cuban people seem to have so much
heart, and they're in my heart for that reason. In general, the people I've met in Cuba are quite consistently open-hearted and big-hearted in the way they relate to each other or to visitors in their beautiful land. A piece of my heart now resides in Cuba, with the warm, wonderful friends I've made there. This blog is not intended to be a guide to Cuba, just a forum for my eclectic bits of writing – poetry, opinion pieces and information gleaned from my personal experience and reading.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Want to help me help Cuban people in need?

I have just added a new element to my blog...over there on the right, nestled between "LINKS I LIKE" and "ARCHIVES," you will see a "DONATE" button. That's new, and requires explanation.

It is there because I am asking, humbly and hesitantly, for you to assist me with the various projects I have launched and will be launching to help the people of the community surrounding Marea del Portillo and Pilon. I realize it will be an act of trust for you to support my endeavors financially, since I am not set up as a registered charity, but I want to assure you that all donated funds will be used to directly benefit Cuban people in need.

Why should you trust me? If you've read my earlier posts, you will have a sense of who I am, and of how sincere I am about this "cause," if you want to name it as such. Why am I doing these things? To me, it's like some sort of humanitarian calling; it just feels right to be doing what I can to help the people of that region. And, if you want to help me help them, you will have my deep appreciation but no tax receipt.

I could give you references but I'm not sure that would really prove anything other than to demonstrate I have friends who will vouch for me. In my home community, I think it's safe to say, I have a solid reputation for honesty and integrity. I am involved with numerous not-for-profit groups and have been a volunteer with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity (I wish they were able to operate in Cuba!). I have my own small retail business and I work part-time at a shelter for abused women - the shelter's executive director has referred to me as "Jenny Pure-Heart," for what that's worth!

I'm not expecting money to miraculously multiply in my Cuba-project PayPal account but, if a few people choose to donate that way, it would be absolutely fabulous, wildly wonderful and incredibly awesome. One of the reasons I decided to add the "DONATE" button is because several people offered unsolicited funds to use for my modest endeavors. Some families in Cuba have already been helped but I want to do more.

For further information on the inception of the projects I am working on, please read an earlier posting: "Projects aplenty - past, present and pending." In brief, the main elements are the establishment of a micro-lending fund and some self-employment arts and crafts activities. In the Pilon area, getting supplies for almost anything - artwork, home renovation or whatever - is a special challenge because of the isolation of this impoverished rural region and, when necessary items are available, they are often financially inaccessible.

With the guidance of my friends there, I am trying to create new opportunities for people in Pilon, and to empower them to improve their lives. But, it requires seed money, and I can only supply a little at a time from my own resources. And, it's not something that will happen overnight; like the changes Pres. Raul Castro is currently making regarding employment (less government- and more self-employment), progress will take time.

Another long-term reason for adding that bodacious button is because of the themed group trip component of my multifaceted projects...I'll explain more about that in my next posting. Tune in again soon!

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