BTSCA Newsletter- December 2015

Letter from our President

It is difficult to keep up with all of the changes regarding Cuba this year! From the establishing of full

Architecture creates Cuban delights

Architecture creates Cuban delights

diplomatic relations to constantly changing travel restrictions there is finally some hope for the possibility of easier travel for us between the US and Cuba and perhaps even hosting some Cubans here. The burdensome travel licensing requirements are also being eased and it may become easier to send supplies to our friends in Trinidad. We are hoping to organize a trip to Trinidad next spring or fall with the main focus being to physically help with some projects at the Town Library which our delegation visited in 2013.

We will again be sponsoring a Cuba weekend next April with a variety of music, speakers, and films. It’s an exciting time and we hope you can all help us to forge a revitalized relationship with our Sister City Trinidad!

-Len Westra

MARK YOUR CALENDARS CUBA WEEK 2016 April 1, 2, 3 Details to follow 

BTSCA presentation at the Rotary Club BTSCA was the topic of a lively presentation and discussion by Tina Phillips at the Brunswick Rotary Club meeting on 9/9/15, thanks to the generous invitation by Patty MacKinnon. A brief visual Power Point spanning the official sister city ceremony in Trinidad through the past and recent delegations provided the members a comprehensive overview of BTSCA. Several rotary members offered to help with any future BTSCA projects that are appropriate. Brunswick Rotary generously assisted with a BTSCA “pack the bus” project several years ago to collect school and construction supplies for a Pastors for Peace caravan. Founder and longlife member Tina Phillips informs the community

Library Update

With increased opportunities to travel to Cuba, many have expressed an interest to visit Trinidad. BTSCA has had relationship with the main library, Biblioteca Gustavo Izquierdo, for over 10 years. In an effort to encourage continued people-to-people connections with the library, BTSCA is collecting Spanish and/or bilingual children’s books to be readily available for anyone to tuck into a suitcase. Felicia and her staff are always grateful to meet new visitors from Brunswick and to have new books available for the children. One recent visitor reported that “your gifts were well received and thanks were profuse.” Donations of books (or pens, pencils, paper, crayons) can be dropped off on the side porch of 19 High St. at any time. Thank you for caring. -Donna Neff 406.4918 Library Update

Join BTSCA, Volunteer

There are many opportunities for you to volunteer with us: • Tending the mural • Cuba Week events • Refreshments • Collecting school/medical supplies On September 19 four volunteers gathered at the BTSCA mural garden to weed and prune the roses. Sue Elsaesser, Peter McGuire, Bill Cooney, and Genie Wheelwright thoroughly enjoyed sprucing up the garden. Earlier in the week Tina Phillips and Susan Weems had also put in time getting the job started. Thank you to all!

A special thanks for the donations by those who were inspired by the documentary, Havana Curveball, during Cuba Week 2015 Fae Silverman and the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine for generously funding the screening of the film. Dick Kezer for purchasing a new aluminum bat and a bucket of baseballs for the caravan to Cuba. Jane Donelon and her grandsons for collecting $57 + a large box of baseball equipment during her annual plant sale for the caravan. Deborah Luhrs for her bag of baseball gloves that will go on Caravan 2016. A contribution to BTSCA was also made by Frontier.

BTSCA Trips to Cuba

In April, 2013 11 members of BTSCA traveled to Havana and Trinidad by way of Montreal. Both Old Havana and Trinidad are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In Havana, we walked the city and visited museums, art studios, and bookstalls and ate at sidewalk cafés. In Trinidad we met with the City Historian, traveled to the Valley of the Sugar Mills and visited a maternity hospital and a nursing home. We spent a wonderful day at the Casa de la Cultura where the children sang. danced, and played music for us. We delivered several suitcases full of art supplies and musical instruments to them. We brought children’s books and met with the staff at the Biblioteca Gustavo Izquierdo, the library that BTSCA has supported for 12 years. We discussed the possibility of a future trip to help with the restoration of the building. We even met a paint maker in Havana who offered to donate his paint for this project.

IMG_0691Plans are now underway to organize another trip in the spring or fall of 2016. We hope to include the work project on the library in Trinidad as part of the program……carpentry, masonry, painting the courtyard and/or using our hands in whatever way would be most helpful to the librarian, Felicia, and her staff. Being able to work on the library will deepen our sister-city relationship and benefit the entire community.

Donations of books (or pens, pencils, paper, crayons) can be dropped off on the side porch of 19 High St. at any time. Thank you for caring. -Donna Neff 406.4918

We will attempt to factor in specific interests of the participants when designing the itinerary.

With the changes in US-Cuba relations we will now be able to fly to Havana on a charter flight from Tampa instead of Canada. The renewed interest in Cuba has generated a flood of visitors to the island. Ideal dates would be in May or the fall. Accommodations in April, 2016 are nearly full. All educational facilities, including art and music schools and the Literary Museum, are closed in June for summer vacation. If you are interested in being part of this special delegation, please complete the form below by January 15. The group will be limited to 10 participants.

To reserve a space will be nonbinding……just an indication of your interest. The cost will be determined by the number of participants, the time of year, and the availability of accommodations. Please call Len Westra (729.6365)or Donna Neff (406.4918) if you have further questions.

Boy cuts coconuts

Boy cuts coconuts



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