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ub's cuban odyssey
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UB's Cuban Odyssey
Karina Aguilar, B.S. '95, who holds a master's degree in health services administration from D'Youville College in Buffalo, was impressed with the respect Cubans displayed toward the elderly. The 24-year-old native of Ecuador was also struck by the ease and unstudied warmth of her Cuban hosts; so much so that, a month after her return to the U.S., she is still contemplating the impact of this trip on her life. "One thing I noticed, and something I still miss about the trip, is that people in Cuba have a beautiful way of being. They give of themselves in conversation. There's no attitude. They are so easygoing, even though they might be upset at their [political] system.
"Cuba totally restructured me, in that it made me think about what's important, rather than about what is only superficial," the senior services case manager for Hispanics United of Buffalo continues. "Cubans would stop by and say 'hello,' and conversations would just start up. That was so great."
Visiting a developing nation also triggered reflection on her own youth in Ecuador. "In Cuba, people were begging for pencils, gum, things like that, but not food. They begged from anyone who was not Cuban. In Ecuador, my family was not extremely poor-our house was made out of cement-but I can remember times when we had no meat for the night, just rice and beans. Those who have never lived in the milieu of a Latin American country would probably be struck by the poverty in Cuba."