It has been three years since Casa de las Americas purchased the little white school bus that you see in the picture for the Santos Cruz School in Puerto Esperanza, Pinar del Rio, Cuba. It is a school for children with special needs that was partially destroyed by Hurricanes Ike and Paloma back in 2009 . Franklin Flores and Jaime Mendieta of Casa de las Americas joined a contingency of construction workers organized by IFCO to make repairs to the school. During their time there they learned of the schools’ need for transportation for the children between their homes and the school. It is then that the idea to offer this gift to the children and the families of the Santos Cruz School became a goal.
The money to purchase the bus came from the generous contributions of many friends and members of Casa that have worked and attended various Casa fund raising events. Before its delivery, the bus needed some TLC and repairs, not to mention all the necessary paperwork for all sorts of permits. Pictured beside the bus, from left to right, are Franklin Flores, Tom Whitney (from IFCO) and Jaime Mendieta. Together they drove across many states between New York and Texas. “The bus made it”, exclaimed Franklin when they arrived on Sunday, June 15, 2012. Their road trip began on Saturday, June 9th and it took a little over a week to get there.
Along the way, they met many wonderful people that offered them room and board or simply welcomed a conversation about Cuba because their knowledge of it is limited and not always accurate given the cold war that exists between the two nations. According to the three companeros, the experience of driving through so many small towns offered repeated opportunities to confirm that there are many good people that live in this country and many intelligent and just minded folks that understand that the time for Cuba and United States to have a peaceful relationship is long overdue.
Casa de las Americas is particularly grateful to Gail Walker and Luis Barrios, the Co-directors of IFCO for allowing us to join the Pastors for Peace caravan and ensuring that Casa’s little white school bus makes it to its final intended destination.
It’s time to lift the U.S. imposed blockade on Cuba, grant the wives and families of the Cuban Five visas to see their incarcerated loved ones, Free the Cuban Five, and the U.S. to have peace with Cuba.
“Little White School Bus Makes it to Texas” by Nancy Cabrero
“Hacer es la mejor forma de decir” Jose Marti
Casa de las Americas