Sunday, March 9, 2014

Christmas in March: A look back at the Pageant

Though we are March and in Lent, I have wanted to spread out my posts over the course of some months. So here is a look into my Cuban Christmas.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves in this post but the annual Christmas pageant takes place Christmas Eve starting at 9:30 PM and ending close to 1 AM.

A dancing angel
Keeping guard of baby Jesus next to the stables
(which I had the chance to design)

It was good to see that so many people came
out to participate in this celebration

Yohandy working the lighting

The music group singing Christmas carols

The three kings

Presenting the gifts

More singing

A full house. Over 150 people came for the celebration

The two people to the far right are the two daughters of my 
host here in Cuba, the Rev. Aurelio de la Paz

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Cuban Baptism

Some important history about the baptisms with the Episcopal Church in Cárdenas is that recently, with the arrival of Aurelio (my host father), he has been stricter with the requirements needed for someone to be baptized. Before the Episcopal Church was the place that people could go to to be baptized “easily.” Now he requires people to attend the Alpha Course, which is a basic course in Christianity, as well as an introduction to the Episcopal Church and its traditions. Another way people can be baptized is to attend church regularly and attend the Bible studies that are held every Monday. The reason for this is to show and teach about why it is important to be baptized. Recently, a few weeks ago, we baptized two people. The community and people being baptized really understood what the whole event was about. At first the community did not accept this “strict” practice, but now people are starting to understand why it is important to teach before baptism. The following pictures are from the ceremony that was held a few weeks ago -- my first baptism in Cuba. 
Aurelio pouring the holy water into the font
Gospel procession
The godparents and the candidates for baptism 

Presenting a candle to the newly baptized, representing
the light of Christ
The passing of the Peace normally lasts about 10-15 minutes 
Aurelio celebrating the Eucharist

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Long awaited blog updates: Church in Itabo, Matanzas

With the visit of my parents to Cuba in January, I have sent out a flash drive with long-awaited updates.  (I cannot post pictures from Cuba with such slow internet speeds).

Church in Itabo.

In one of my earliest blog posts I mentioned this church as an example of sustainable agricultural practices that are beginning here on the island. Now I have the opportunity to share some of the pictures.
The back portion of the property. Crops pictured here include: potatoes, beans, onion, garlic, yuca, malanga, mango, avocado, and at the very end on the property in the beginnings of a pig pen with its own methane processing plant along side. 

The bell tower of the Itabo temple.
The formation of a tornado. Luckily it never touched ground because it was literally nearly above us.

The chicken coup. The chickens here produce nearly
100 eggs daily.

Yes, they have turkeys too.
And rabbits too
These are the bee hives. They assist with the pollination of the surrounding crops and also supply the church with honey. One interesting thing I learned about these bees is that the entrance to their hive in never left unguarded. The little circle at the bottom middle of the box always has a bee keeping an eye out. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Excursions with the youth of the Episcopal church.

The following pictures are from a youth conference that was held in Cardenas in November.

The Church band playing for the conference.

Yohandy posing for the camera.
Full house.

A day at the beach
Nothing better than a Cuban BBQ

The Kind of Work I have been doing

This post is to give you an idea of what type of manual work I have been doing down here. Construction and painting have been the most prominent tasks.
Everything must start somewhere. This project started by hauling 30 sacks of cement outside of my bedroom (The room with the AC.)

The first phase of building the path. 3 square meters down, 48 more to go.
The mixing of the cement is by far the hardest job of all. Everything here is by hand.
  Fuersa Cubana
Finishing up the project.
Taking a quick photo break.
It was surprisingly comfortable.
Painting a handrail to be installed in the dormitory. An extremely tedious process.

The installation. The welding machine is something that I was and still am terrified of. It is a pure Cuban invention and makes an eerie buzzing sound when plugged in.
Cementing protection for the dormitory rooftop.