A Week in Havana with Eastern University - Part 5
February 25- March 4, 2017
Sherry Kull – traveling with Linda Beck, Julia Stewart, June Phillips, Susan Zacharkiw, Krysta Zacharkiw, Dawn Spaar, Frieda Brinkmann, Ingrid Cooper, Molly Rozbeh, Stephen & Christine Kim
I have only scratched the surface on our many experiences in Cuba, so all I can say is, Go. Don’t wait. Go now before it is all irrevocably changed by the influx of Americans with money.
Consider too staying at a B&B instead of a hotel, where you will have the experience of a Cuban home and family. Here is a photo of Enrique, my host, who was just a delight. As you can see, he was half artist in how he prepared and served my breakfast each morning. I told him he put joy in his food, and you could see him beam at the compliment.
If you wonder about anti-Americanism, we simply did not experience it. There was one exception, and that was at the Museum of the Revolution, which lauded Castro’s victory over the dictator Batista as well as over the CIA. One wall in particular was amusing to us in a black humor sort of way. This is the “Wall of Cretans,” and youmay recognize a few of these caricatures. From left to right it is Batista, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Sr., and George Bush, Jr. It was surprising that Bill Clinton didn’t make the wall, given that he signed into law one of the bills that has most hurt the Cuban economy, the Helms-Burton Act. Who knows why?
On the contrary, not only did we not experience anti-Americanism, the Cubans we talked with were very friendly towards us and interested in improving relations with the US. While wary of the possible harms to their socialist society from millions of tourists, they recognize that the world’s superpower is 90 miles off their coast. Drop the embargo, they all said, and let’s get along. I had a different opinion about that before the trip, but if 60 years of doing the same thing doesn’t work, why continue it? The embargo only gives the government and the people a convenient scapegoat for all of their problems, so let’s remove their excuse.
Problems they do have, believe me. We saw the best of Cuba in Havana, but it’s still a third world country. The further you get from the capital, we were told, the more rough the conditions are. And of course, it is no democracy. One of my missionary friends who has traveled numerous times from Central American to Cuba to teach Bible college and seminary courses shared this with me. The Cuban Christians warned him that were under surveillance. They had to assume that someone was always watching them, maybe even your best friend at church, and sending in reports. Don’t upset the powers that be with your teaching or you will be shut down. It had happened again and again, they told him.
Don’t take my word for any of this. Go now and see for yourself what Cuba is like. Enjoy the old cars, the drop dead gorgeous beaches, the buildings, the history, the food, and the people. Don’t forget to pray for Cuba while you’re at it. Pray that the light of the Gospel will shine brighter than the false hope of any earthly utopia.
Sherry Kull, MDiv, PhD, is the Senior Instructional Designer for Chalk & Table. Sherry also serves on the university's Faculty Development Committee.
Prior to joining Eastern in 2009, Sherry worked for many years at Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, PA. She designed their non-traditional, cohort-based MDiv program that was delivered in a blended format. She also led Biblical into its first fully online course offerings.
Sherry’s first position at Eastern was in the School of Management Studies, with one of her duties being to train SMS’s adjuncts how to teach blended or online courses. This was the genesis of the training that has been expanded university-wide and now includes implementation of Quality Matters throughout Eastern. Sherry continues to practice and sharpen her online skills with more than ten years’ experience teaching fully online courses.
Outside of Eastern, Sherry is part-owner of K9JYM, a dog-training facility in Colmar, PA. The JYM provides training classes in nearly all dog sports and hosts competitions of various sorts on the weekends. Sherry works on the management end of the business, and enjoys training with her Australian Shepherd mix Rudy in the sport of canine agility.