Forty-Four Minutes

“This is your Captain speaking. We will be cruising at an altitude of 29,000 feet and will be landing in Santa Carla, Cuba in 44 minutes. The weather in Santa Carla is 85 degrees and with very high humidity.   Thank you for flying American Airlines.”  I hear this announcement six to seven times a year. 

 Forty-four minutes from the glitz and glitter in Miami with restaurants and houses full of food to Cuba where there is a tremendous food shortage.  In fact, on my last trip we were told if you want to eat breakfast you need to bring your own because there are no eggs or food for breakfast.  Endless number of shiny new cars, road so smooth you never feel a bump. Forty-four minutes to horse carts, bicycles, fifty-year-old cars and people walking everywhere.  

 Contaminated water not in one village, not in one district but the entire country, how could this be?  Twenty eight percent of all water going through the Cuba infrastructure is lost before it reaches the destination.  Nickel mines, sugarcane mills contamination this is not counting human waste pollution.  It makes you think is there anything good here?

Yes, there sure is! It’s the people!

 It’s Dani the little girl waiting at the curb for hours because she knows Dan is coming.

 It’s the nine-year old boy that was sleeping in a potato sack until we gave him and his mother blankets to keep them warm in the mountains of Guantanamo.

It’s the man that could not read because his eyes were so bad until we gave him a $2.00 pair of readers.

It’s the Pastor that thanks me so much for paying him a salary for the first time so he could buy his two-year daughter her first pair of shoes.

It’s the mother and father holding back tears thanking me because they now have clean water to drink and their son is no longer sick because of the water.

Are you getting the picture?  I could go on for pages, maybe it’s the lady that received a new Bible we were able to give her because she could not afford one. 

Maybe it’s the Galcom recorded Bible we gave a blind man, so now he can have the Bible read to him for the first time. 

Years ago, my wife came up with the phrase, “Cuba So Close, But a World Away.”   Yes, just 44 minutes.