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.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Event held to support projects helping rural Cuba

The following media release was used to promote a recent event that raised money for my Cuba projects. We didn't have as big a turn-out as we had hoped, so we didn't make a huge heap of money but we had fun and spread the word at least a little. We will probably try do another event in late summer or early fall.
May 12 event to raise money for humanitarian work in Cuba

When most people go to an all-inclusive Caribbean resort, they like to lounge by the pool or hang out on the beach, but one Huntsville resident has little time for that when she visits Cuba.

The first time Jenny Cressman went to Club Amigo Marea del Portillo, a small resort in Cuba’s rural Granma region, it was essentially a fluke. “My girlfriend and I simply picked the cheapest beach we could find one winter,” she said. “But, very quickly, I became hooked on the place. I literally fell in love with the country and the people of the community surrounding the resort.”

Since that initial visit in 2009, Cressman has been returning to the same location twice annually, usually leading groups that sometimes swell to over 40 participants. With the support of the people who travel with her, as well as family and friends at home, she has been able to do what she refers to as “small-scale humanitarian work” in one of the more remote, impoverished parts of Cuba. “I’m doing whatever I can to help people in this area, which is primarily agricultural.”

In order to facilitate further work, a fundraising event has been planned for May 12, 1-4 p.m., in Huntsville’s Sutherland Hall. Billed as the “Cuban Friends’ Fund Art and Fashion Show,” tickets are $10 each or two for $15. All ticket money will go to the CFF, along with a portion of proceeds from any artwork sold during the show.

The event will include a fashion show with models from the local high school, an assortment of artwork on display and for sale, a concert by the Huntsville Youth Choir, drumming with Adam Fisher, yoga with Wendy Martin and an opportunity for mini reflexology treatments by Laura Heming. The fashion show will begin about 2 p.m., featuring clothes from reVIBE! and hairstyles by Alberto Salon and Spa. It will be followed by a door prize draw. The afternoon will end on a high note with music led by Ruth Cassie.

“While I was in Cuba,” Cressman commented, “staff from Alberto Salon and reVIBE! have been working on planning this event to support my projects, which is really wonderful.” During the most recent trip, in April, she and her group were able to take 10 bicycles and several hundred pounds of clothing, toiletries, solar lights and other vital items. Most of these gifts were distributed in rural areas, to people who don’t ordinarily have the opportunity to interact with tourists. “One farmer was so grateful, he tried to give me a live turkey.”

This is the farmer who wanted to give me a thank-you turkey!
Organizers hope that, even if people aren’t able to attend Saturday’s event, they will consider buying tickets as a way to assist in raising money for this special cause. Tickets are available at reVIBE! (705-788-5078), Alberto Salon and Spa (705-788-2700) and a few other locations in Huntsville.

I  took clothes and other gifts to families in the Sierra Maestra Mountains.

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