Lunch with Aldelberto

As I mentioned in a previous post when introducing Aldelberto; he invited us to his home to meet his family.

Yesterday, we took the ferry into town and had lunch at Aldelberto’s house with his family.

Aldelberto met us at the ferry dock in Santiago de Cuba and we walked about 10 blocks to his home. It was very hot and humid. When we were about 1/2 way there he took us into a small electronics shop that had cool air conditioning and even colder beers. He purchased 3 beers for the adults and a lemon soda for Tyler. He even bought Tyler a local Cuban chocolate carmal candy.

From the electronics store we kept walking and then he took us into a small restaurant where he introduced us to the owners who are his good friends. We continued to walk and listened to the history of his neighborhood and the age of the different buildings. He kept telling us how happy he was that we were there and that he would never forget this day.

As we walked along I asked him about some produce at a street vendor that I have never seen before and he explained to me what it was and how to prepare it. I completely forget the name now, but he says I put it in a blender with milk and sugar…. He then proceeds to buy a couple for me to take back to the boat.

When we arrived at his home he introduced us to his mother and father-in-law who were in the kitchen preparing lunch. Unfortunately, his wife Tanya was working and his children were in school, but he showed us pictures of all of them.

There were three place setting already set at a small table in the living room and he told us to sit down. We told him that we wanted him and his in-laws to sit down too. The in-laws said they would sit later and insisted that we start to eat. Aldelberto sat down with a plate and the four of us ate a wonderful lunch of fresh fish, pork, rice, mafungo, yuka and salad. There was so much food and Aldelberto just kept putting more on each of our plates.

As we were eating we made room for the mother and father-in-law who finally ate, as well. After lunch we had sweet Cuban coffee and home made guava tarts and looked at family pictures.

The father-in-law told us about his life as a fisherman and said that his son was a fisherman too. He explained that this son was the one who caught the fish that we just ate and he caught it the day before.

We gave them a bag of gifts that we brought for the family and put a few Cuban Peso’s in the bag for the delicious lunch they prepared. They were so happy!!!

Aldelberto disappeared and came back with 10 Mangoes he just picked off of the mango tree in his back yard and a couple Guava’s from a neighbors tree. He also gave us 2 huge pineapples that a friend gave him.

We are completely overwhelmed by the friendliness and generosity of the Cuban people. They have so little to give, but overwhelmingly share what they do have. We are humbled in their presence. The experience that Aldelberto’s family has given us is so much more than any about of money could ever buy.