My mindset, Before and After CUBA – GCELE May, 2015

The Human Mind

“The human mind is very limited in that it can only ponder its current perception of reality and cannot stretch very far beyond what it ‘thinks’ it knows.” Beau Norton

Stop, Think, Plan, Act then Rethink
Stop, Think, Plan, Act then Rethink

I was so enthusiastic about the Global Citizenship Equity Learning Experience GCELE and I was among the first to apply to the Team Cuba. what a joy, when I received an email that I have been selected. I went for the interview and two weeks later I was told I have been chosen to participate in the Cuba GCELE 2015, I was so excited I started telling all my friends about this awesome opportunity. I went ahead to start the  Spanish lessons that was organized to equip us with some Spanish vocabularies.

The truth is, I knew next to nothing when it comes to Cuba before the 2015 GCELE Program. In my mind was the single story of Cuba, When I hear about Cuba, all I could think about a communist state, an isolated economy, old cars, tobacco, coffee and sugarcane production. Upon getting to Cuba on the GCELE learning experience, there was so much to discover, from culture, political system, education, health care, housing, tourism and more importantly sustainable urban agriculture thus permaculture etc.

Group picture
Arrival at Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport – Varadero

It was an awesome opportunity to travel on the GCELE 2015 team to Cuba. Big thanks to all who made this an extraordinary adventure possible, with special appreciation to the Centennial College board of governors, GCELE office, sponsors and donors, faculty members, partners and an outstanding team for this life time learning experience.

We visited our first farm site on the second day. It was a mixed farming site of about 33 hectors of land where they planted food crops, medicinal crops, fruit crops, cereals, and vegetables, tree crops that protected the environment and also serves as food.

Tour at our first farm

They also raise farm animals like cattle, sheep, goat, pigs, and horse, duck, chicken, geese, hamsters, rabbits. Here in the same farm they also have a fish pond and a small lake for rearing fishes for food. The farm has a bio-gas plant that produces natural gas that is used for cooking lighting camp lamps.

Nursery beds for vegetables

The people who work here uses very simple farm tools like bullock and machetes they occasionally use tractors to support the labour. What amazes me most is the commitment to which these people work. They intricately create simple tools and invention to make production effective and easier.

I thought about the volume of work that was going on there and I really how important passion is when it comes to commitment to what we do.

The one of the goal of this farm is to produce affordable, quality food for the aged, pregnant women and other vulnerable in the society.

This Goal was strong enough to motivate every activity that was going on in the farm and it was successful. Where there is a will here is a way, find a passion and be willing die for it.


Small Home Family Urban Farm – Permaculture

Turning our waste into useful materials

Opinion and point of view are such an interesting issue. It always reminds me of the half full – half empty scenario.

What comes to mind looking at the image on the right? Manure or human waste.

The passion with which the people of Cuban work was amazing. We visited a small family urban farm in Habana. This was about the 300 x 300 square feet in size. Operated by the family with has eventually become the livelihood of the family. This small farm provided the house and community with vegetables such as tomatoes, pepper, lettuce, cabbages, Okra, etc. fruit like mangoes, grapes, guava, papaya etc. on this same piece of land they also raise animals like chicken, pigeon, fishes.

from waste to manure
Turning our waste to useful material such as  manure

This family farm is watered by harvesting rain water that is collected and stored when it rains. The farm is designed into zones using home waste materials such as empty bottles worn out tires etc. The amazing thing about this farm is how the owner and his family creatively use everything that would have otherwise been called waste in an advantageous manner. Human waste, both solid and liquid is collected, treated and use as manure. Scrapes from cars are used as support for holding tomatoes can, large discarded tubes and tires from cars and trucks are used as beds and the list can continue endlessly.

Using empty bottle and household to make fence
Using empty bottle and household to make fence

One of the things that stunned me about this farm is the love and the passion with which the family work and how judiciously the used waste materials to their advantage. The also used the natural resources such as the rain water harvesting and solar drying of food. The suns energy was also intricately used to heat the water system in the house which was mind blowing. The fruit trees in the farm did not only provide food but also serve as shade and a study area for small community group.

GCELE group with farmer and wife
GCELE group with farmer and wife

When we left the farm, I realized and thought about the amount of resources that are available and how they are wasted each day, if we could be considerate about our environment and the earth, what a change we could make in this world.

My mindset, Before and After CUBA – GCELE May, 2015.

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