The Dragon's Tale

Blurring Borders

Olivia Veirs, Social Media Team

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A group of high school students gathered together on July 20th-28th to go on a mission trip to Havana, Cuba. These high schoolers, who had no idea what to expect, approached the week with a shared hope of making an impact in the lives of the Cuban people and to experience moments of change.
Students were given a week’s schedule, yet knew that their daily agendas were not confined to it, simply because of their lack of knowledge on Cuban culture.
Junior, Jordan Stevenson said, “I expected the trip to look really poverty stricken,” but later learned that this was not an accurate depiction of the country.
Going into the week, the students were filled with anticipation considering that the American travel ban to Cuba was recently lifted. This team is one of the first groups to travel to Cuba, which set this trip in the limelight, being followed not only by friends and family, but also by people who hope to travel to Cuba in their lifetime.
Matt Reaves, junior, says that his experience going to Cuba left him a completely changed person and he wishes every person could have seen the week as he did.
“Going into Cuba, I had no clue what it was going to be like. I just trusted God and depended on the team I went with.” Reaves said.
With the 1950 embargo placed on Cuban imports, Havana externally looks like a city stuck in a different era. Stevenson said, “Cubans looked like they were stuck in the 50’s and 60’s with all of the outdated cars. It made me feel like I was reliving the past.”
Old cars drive the streets and old buildings constitute the city of Havana. Among all of the old, is a population of 11.48 million individuals with iPhones, 2017 fashion, and modern music tastes. “You do sometimes feel like you are stuck in a different generation but it was interesting to see modern people in an ancient country.” Reaves said.
Reaves and Stevenson said that Cuba and America are contrasting countries, with small differences such as gas prices being $5 a gallon and a civil expectation to provide transportation to hitchhikers, if able.
When the students returned to the states, they were asked how the week changed their hearts and what impacts were made in their lives.
Reaves said, “One of my favorite moments was when we all gathered and the Cubans began singing ‘How Great is Our God’ in their own language, and despite all language barriers, we knew the song in English and sang with them.”
This moment was significant to Reaves because this is when he said he realized that he had a mission to embrace diversity and to strive to make connections with people that are unlike him.
Stevenson said, “Cuba has changed me to aim to love people as much as I possibly can and to not take America’s freedom and democracy for granted.”
Each high schooler brought home a different story to tell, yet all of the students experienced moments of profound change beyond American borders. Is Cuba the greatest entity demanding transformation or is it the hearts of American teenagers?

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The Student News Site of South Oldham High School
Blurring Borders