An Incredible Three Days (Part One)

We spent two full days and two nights in the campo of Majagaul. 

That is it. 

But that is seriously all it took for me to fall in love with this place.  I feel so honored to be able to call the beautiful people of this campo my family now.  It still amazes me to think that a community of strangers can come into your life and change it for the better in such a short amount of time, but now I know it is possible.

They didn’t speak any English and my Spanish is elementary at best, but this language barrier didn’t even matter for these three days.  From the moment we were first introduced, my family whole-heartedly embraced me.  They carried my bags up and down the hilly road to their home, they offered me coffee and mangoes and coconut juice, they made sure I always had a place to sit.  They made me feel like I belonged.  We did the best we could to verbally communicate with one another about our lives leading up to this point in time.  But for the most part, it was through pictures, dancing, laughter, dominoes, gestures, and just sitting around and enjoying each other’s company that we became the family we did. 

I cannot even begin to describe the hospitality my family showed towards me.  It was unreal.  And this was coming from a family of ten that has overcome many challenges, including a son’s battle with leukemia and a daughter who has been blind since birth.  On top of their many familial hardships, these people have close to nothing in this campo, yet they shared whatever they could with me.  They went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable and content.  I have never felt so welcomed into a new and “out of my element” atmosphere so quickly in my life.   

Materially speaking, my family and I had little in common.  They still take bucket showers, go to the bathroom in latrines in their back yards, and just recently received a water system which now runs throughout their campo.  They can pretty much rely on their electricity going out every night and they cannot even brush their teeth in a real sink.  But none of this even mattered for the three days I was there; in fact, I hardly even thought about our economic differences.  We were able to connect on a level deeper than this.  A level in which we were able to just enjoy each other’s company, appreciate the breaths of fresh air we brought to each other’s lives for this short amount of time, and thank God for the many blessings he has given us in different ways.

Majagual is a beautiful place.  The endless hills we were surrounded by were lush, green, and beautiful…Jurassic Park style.  The stars were incredible and the view from the home where we ate all of our meals together was breathtaking.  We would literally gaze out over the rolling hills of palm trees and flowers to the ocean every morning during breakfast.  Because it was so beautiful and because the community was so tight-knit, it made me wonder why they would ever want to leave such a place for cities like Cien Fuegos that are dirty, loud, and crowded.  But building the latrines we did during the day helped me realize why so many people do in fact migrate to the cities. 

This community of Majagual barely has any control over this beautiful land they live on.  The land is owned by a select few who have a lot of money.  They then control the people of the lands however they wish.  So while this community harvests cocoa beans and various other crops day in and day out, they barely reap any of the benefits of such back breaking work.  We were literally building new latrines for houses that have been a part of this campo for over 30 years now and still didn’t have them…. 

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