Josephina and the village of Marea del Portillo

Josephina is the local woman who brought the Guarda to our boat in her small row boat. She speak a little English; therefore she interprets for the community.

The first day we met her she had mangoes, green beans, cucumbers and fresh baked bread for us and did not want any money. She only wanted old cloths or anything else that we could give her from the boat. She also told us she would try to get us anything we needed while we were here.

We told her we would take fresh bread every day and any extra fruits and veggies that she had.

Each day when we went ashore, she found us and took us to her house. She would have “gifts” from the other families in the community. One family gave us butter and cheese, another family brought tomatoes and cucumbers, another family butchered a pig and offered us as much fresh meat as we wanted and another family gave us ice cream. I don’t even have the words to explain how this made us feel.

As we walked around this small Cuban village we see happy, smiling faces. Their life is not easy, but they do not complain. They can not just jump into a car and drive to a grocery store to grab a few things for dinner. We saw only 3 cars in the entire town, 2 of which were taxi’s. People used horses and mules to get around. Even in the main (paved) road that went through the edge of town we saw more horse and buggies then we saw motorized vehicles.

The Cuban people in these smaller villages must think about their needs months or years in advance. They have to either grow the food they eat or raise it. They are extremely proud of everything they have and then they are graciously willing to share it with us, as we pass through their town. The generosity of the Cuban people is amazing.