“I predict you will come away from our week with the Cuban people with not just a deeper understanding of their country—and by extension, ours—but also with a new place on the globe you will want to consider a home away from home. I could not be more thrilled to share this time and this country I have fallen utterly in love with, with all of you.” – Pam Houston
Few places are more vibrant, vivid, and inspirational than Cuba. During the last decade, while Americans weren’t looking, Havana has become the darling of the world, entertaining millions of Europeans who go for the music, the food, the dancing, the heart-stopping architecture, the rum and cigars, the art, and, perhaps most of all, the pleasure of witnessing a country remaking itself with the full participation of its citizens.
Whether it's the urban organic farmer, the guy selling coconut ice cream on the street, the leader of a contemporary dance troupe, an economics professor, or any of the young visual artists who are taking the international art community by storm, the Cuban people give the country its vital, life-affirming energy.
No one loved Cuban culture—and Cubans—more than Ernest Hemingway, who was present for the country’s last remaking. By visiting markets, dance companies, artists' studios, sporting events, street festivals, and musical performances we follow Hemingway’s lead, making ourselves available to the stories that are literally on every street corner, in every studio, in every club, We make a special visit to Finca Vigía (Lookout Farm)—Hemingway’s plantation home just outside of Havana—and then travel the short distance to the fishing village of Cojimar.
Our home for this people-to-people cultural exchangeis Converto Santa Brigida, a beautifully restored convent in the heart of Old Havana, one block from Plaza Vieja. Featuring simple but comfortable accommodations with private bathrooms, light-filled group meeting spaces, a breakfast room, a library, a chapel, and Italian nuns as our lovely hosts, the convent provides a serene base to return to after our daily adventures in bustling Havana and the nearby countryside.
Each day we take time for writing and for discussion, delving into elements of craft, formulating questions around cultural appropriation, and examining the way an external landscape often gives us access to our internal ones. You come away from our week of engaging with Cubans from all walks of life with not only a deeper understanding of their country but with a new place on the globe to consider a home away from home.