15 Dec 2013

Christmas in Cuba - any time of year!

Here's a pair of posters I created about tandem projects I began a few years ago - sponsoring and shepherding bikes and suitcases full of clothing or other small gifts. I'm posting them here as a visual explanation of what these projects are all about, as well as a way to say "THANK YOU!" to everyone who has supported these endeavors.

The Cuban people are doing well in many respects but it is often difficult, if not impossible, for them to get basic necessities and other supplies that we take for granted here in Canada. There are no "big box" stores in Cuba! Low incomes make purchases challenging too, even in areas where there are more stores.

Marea del Portillo is located in a remote, rural region, which makes it particularly hard for people there to find and buy things they need, from socks and underwear to backpacks and bikes. I started the "JennicaCuba" bike and suitcase projects to help make life a little easier for them - so they wouldn't have to scramble quite as much to improve their lives. 

When I take these gifts, it feels like Christmas, no matter what time of year it is, and I love it! I thoroughly enjoy taking bikes, clothes and other simple items, even though I try to stay in the background and, often, don't actually meet or see the recipients. I have wonderful Cuban friends who help with delivery; I trust them completely to distribute everything to people they know who have the greatest need.

Happy holidays, everyone!


13 Dec 2013

Club Amigo Marea del Portillo: renovations & invitations...

Hola amigos!

I have been remiss in updating this site lately. However, I wrote a big review of the renovation work at Club Amigo Marea del Portillo, after returning my most recent Yoga Posse trip. I posted it, along with a few photos, on my Cubana de Corazón blog.

Here's a link to that post: Marea del Portillo resort is getting a makeover!

Or, if you want to see more photos and the review as it appeared on Trip Advisor, click here.

For the most photos, set to music, you can watch my latest YouTube creation by clicking this link: 2013 Yoga Posse. You'll see lots of shots of the renos, as well as nice pictures of the nice people who were part of my 2013 posse, and a whole lot more!

If you've been to Club Amigo Marea del Portillo and heard Robertico sing, you will likely recognize his delightful voice as the featured performer for this video. I try to use the music of local groups or individuals whenever possible. In other videos, I've featured singer/composer Luisito Rosell, another long-time musician at this resort, and the current house band, Sexteto Cubano.

For those of you who have never been to this wonderful little place, I hope I'll be able to help you change that one day....perhaps next year! I will be leading two groups to Marea del Portillo in 2014. The first one flies out of Toronto on Feb. 26 and is open to anyone - booking is underway now!

The current rates (see poster below) are good until Jan. 2. After that, I will be able to add people to the group as long as there's room at the resort and/or on the plane but I will have to get a new price quote each time. And, from experience, I can tell you it's a crap shoot as to availability and prices!

I will also be leading another "Yoga Posse" group for women in late October or early November. The inimitably bendy Wendy Martin of Ahimsa/Sacred Breath is our usual yoga instructor for this group, and she is always an asset to the vibe!

Even when she's not along though, as in the case of the Feb. 26-March 5 trip, her presence is felt because of the mentorship work she has done with Maya, a woman on staff at the resort with an interest in yoga. Thanks to Wendy's support and training, Maya will be able to lead yoga classes for the "Jennica 2014" group, if we wish.

Other fun in the works for the Feb. 26 "Jennica 2014" group includes a privately guided art tour in Manzanillo, a city about 1.5 hrs. away from the resort, and a baseball game with Cuban children in Pilón, a nearby village (12 km down the road). This group is shaping up to be both art and family oriented. There may even be some spontaneous art workshops - no promises but, if you've got a hankering to ignite your creativity, you may want to bring some art supplies!

Please contact me by email (jennicacuba@gmail.com) or phone (647-216-1791) if you are interested in joining one of my groups or have questions about Club Amigo Marea del Portillo. I'm always happy to effuse about this lovely resort, or Cuba in general, for that matter.