Ianthe Duncan-Poole, IPD ’19

Cuba J-Term Practicum

The greatest experience I’d had was realizing the beauty in reconnecting with my ancestors through Cubans, especially Afro-Cubans. The experience was as if I’d come back home after being gone a while and was rejoining family and friends; I was home, I’d be lost and was found. While I’m Cuba I met family members, not strangers, I met loved ones who knew they’d loved me when they saw me. From everyday people we met, academic professors/professionals, tour guides, and students they embraced me, hugged me, spoke with me and told me I was their family. And when I got there I felt that love and they felt mine. Everywhere I went I met a new friend or family member who I showered with love and acceptance, and in return I was met with the same type of loving care. Cuba has inspired me, Cuba has shown me love, Cuba has changed the course of my work, and riddled me with intention. I love people, I love all people, but my heart rejoices when I met members of my own African diaspora; displaced by waters, racism, and white supremacist ideology; the unspoken bond that occurs is like no other and in Cuba the excitement that arose from simply acknowledging the similarities from our skin tones and hair texture was the only needed introduction. It was uncanny how many Cubans asked if I was Cuban and told me I looked Cuba; that level of acceptance in foreign lands are rare, especially for Americans, because normally we stand out greatly, but to blend in, meant I was exactly where I was supposed to be, but beyond that I was home. A profoundly unimaginable experience is how I’ve felt about Cuba. To know a people is to share in their inheritances, whether that be fortunate or misfortune, you’ve signed on to experience their truths.

“Cuba: A Love Story.”

Click here to check out Ianthe’s photo essay, “Cuba: A Love Story”

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