Earlier this year she had the opportunity to visit Old Havana, Cuba with her husband and a close friend Susan. See Susan is also a big supporter of sharing the love and has had the experience of working with teachers and students there.
Old Havana is the downtown and city center of Havana, the capital of Cuba. When they arrived, they didn’t stay in a big hotel. Instead, they stayed in an apartment right along with the residents and experienced everyday life.
Immediately they received instructions NOT to drink the water and to be very careful showering. (After a terrifying experience in Italy that sent her to the hospital and a year-long recovery, Luisa was prepared. She packed water bottles made for camping with very strong filters and some food.) Her passion for giving back now inspired an even deeper passion for clean water.
Luisa soon discovered that in Cuba there are two classes of people, high-class and poverty level. Doctors have the highest paying jobs at $600 a month. Personal trainers make $13 a month and others even less.
The government and the military own everything. The government gives the locals coupons for certain items. Like milk coupons, but they’re only for the kids. The grocery stores had long lines of people waiting patiently.
The main food staples were eggs, rice, and chicken. All vegetables are either home grown in their backyards or they have to buy them at the local farm stands.
Old Havana is also known as the historic heart of Havana. And heart it is. Luisa quickly met many amazing people, from spa owners to school directors to teachers. They made her feel at home.
In spite of their poor living conditions, the people were very gracious and happy, and they all had a big heart.
But the best part of all was meeting the school children. They visited 3 schools and met wonderful kids dressed in white shirts with deep blue scarves and maroon shorts and skirts. These kids were so playful and thrilled with simple things such as a soccer ball.
Before Luisa left, she donated Aveda products to the people she met.
The teachers, the directors, and the kids were so grateful. Luisa saw tears flowing and she received big hugs. They graciously thanked her for her help, kindness, and gifts.
Luisa will never forget the smiles on their faces. These people were all so grateful for what they do have and don’t focus on what they don’t have.
We at Soleil Salon are passionate about helping people in need all over the world as well as in our own backyards. We’ll be sharing future stories of how we’re helping others feel better, live better, and lead healthier happier lives. One person can make a change, but a community can make an even bigger difference.
We’d love to have you share our stories of Sharing the Love. Use the hashtag #SharingtheLoveProject. Thanks!
What are you passionate about? What stories can you share about how you’re helping others?
All Photos were taken by Luisa Garcia during her visit to Old Havana Cuba.