This would be The Year of Change…
Nine years after my first encounter in Havana in the little-known barrio of Muraleando it felt somehow different this year. As I arrived and walked down the street towards the community centre which we helped build I knew this might very well be my last.
Perhaps it was fitting then that this phase would end with a beautiful symbol representing what brought me to the project in the first place - the children!
Since last year’s workshops, I have been working with the images created by the children in the project, to self-publish a Spanish alphabet book titled “El ABC”. The book was produced and printed in Winnipeg and was made possible with generous financial support from private donors there including the staff and partners of LM Architectural Group.
“El ABC” was unveiled to excited children and proud parents at the opening ceremony of this year’s festival in early April. Copies were distributed to all of the children who took part in the previous year’s workshops, but also to workshop assistants, artists and others in the community. A generous supply was also left for distribution throughout the year and to use as an income generator for future children’s programming long after I leave.
After nine years of laughter and tears it was finally time to say goodbye to the project. To the many incredible people we have met throughout the years who we now call “amigos”, we only say, “so long for now”.
I know I can speak for my husband as well when I say our hearts are full of love and gratitude for the incredible gift this opportunity has given us. We will continue to return to Havana and will stay in touch with as many old friends as our time permits. We look forward to continuing to help as we can, perhaps in a little quieter way, and by reaching out to other exciting new initiatives we are exploring within Havana. “Adios amigos, con amor”. – debbie