Our speaker was our own Dave Parsons who discussed his cultural exchange trip to Cuba last January.


Guests and Visiting Rotarians:

Sophie Horstmann, Eleonora Cherubini and Hannah Sheldon - Youth Exchange
Pat Barron - Westchester PA Rotary
Dr. John Reitz - Guest of Nenu Piragine
Gregorio Sanchez- Guest of Hazel Seaba
Sue Cronin - Year ender is June 30 at the Coralville Northridge Pavilion from 6 to 8.  Food by Valerie, BYOB.  Sign up underway with a cost of $25 per person in advance.
Phil Peterson - FAMSCO has been given notice that lease will terminate at the end of June.  Consequently, there are work days scheduled  (June 14 and June 28 from noon till 4) to get inventory prepared for shipment. There is no firm recipient identified at this point so alternatively inventory may be stored temporarily in trailers.
President Mark noted that many in the group would be traveling in near future and asked that those going abroad give 10 second recap of plans.  Destinations included France(Casey), Paraguay(Nenu), Scotland(Sue Cronin), Costa Rica (John McKinstry), Ireland (Joan Garrity), Sweden (Nan Johnson), Cayman Islands (Dave Parsons) and Poland (who?).
John Schultz noted that a family practitioner from Central America would be staying with them in order to learn English.  If anyone would like to host them for dinner or activity of some sort please contact him.  He also said that we would be hosting the AM Club's youth exchange student from Italy in the fall.  She is a conservatory-bound violinist who will be 16 when she is in the U.S.  She will be attending the Mt Vernon High School because they have an orchestra program our student, Lara, will be able to participate in this coming school year.  The Schultz's will also link Lara up to other musical opportunities in the Iowa City area.
Dave Parsons shared his recent Press Citizen article on his Cuba trip with us. He also shared that there were many Canadian visitors in Cuba leading to it being described at the Canadian Caribbean.  Those overhearing his group speak English assumed that they were Canadian.  They enjoyed the people and found them open to conversation. Cuba is a highly educated society with one of the highest literacy rates in the world.  Their health care is good.  While they do not indicate a feeling of oppression they were looking forward to "new blood" in leadership.
All infrastructure he saw was in need of a coat of paint or more.  Taxis are restored vintage American cars.  There is a mysterious shortage of toilet seats and toilet paper, prompting high fives when both were found at one restaurant.  The people were hospitable.  There was much music and dancing.  Rum (Vitamin R) was a constant throughout the day although he preferred the beer to the mojitos.  

He traveled through Iowa Voyagers.  The trips are limited to 25 to encourage more interaction.  He recommends highly going to Cuba before the Starbucks and McDonalds transform the landscape.  For now tours are the best way to go as they have booked all the limited hotel space available.