IMG_1883

Women Crossing Worlds: Cuban Visitors at WATER

Last week, we were fortunate to welcome two of our friends from Cuba at the WATER office. We were joined by Clara Luz Ajo Lázaro and Raquel Suarez Rodes visiting from the Seminario Evangelico de Teología (Evangelical Theological Seminary) in Matanzas, Cuba. Clarita (as everyone calls her) is Vice Rector and Professor of Theology in the seminary and Raquel is an ordained Baptist minister at Marianao Ebenezer Baptist Church and part of the Martin Luther King Center, a faith-based social justice organization, both located in Havana.

IMG_3946

Taking our guests out to enjoy the lovely summer day: (R to L) Mary E Hunt, Clara Luz Ajo, Raquel Suarez Rodes, Melissa Feito, Wendy Mallette, Dana Tufariello, Emily Harder, Diann L Neu, Elizabeth Hardt

During their visit, they shared their incredible wisdom and wealth of experiences with us, and we shared our abundance of materials and resources from the WATER office.

IMG_1887

Clarita (left) and Raquel (right) with materials donated by the FaithTrust Institute, which they will bring back to Cuba.

IMG_3967

Hard at work surveying materials on sexuality and sexual ethics.

We were also joined by a number of WATER friends from the area who were excited to chat with our guests about the work they do in Cuba. We discussed the challenges of being faith leaders in Cuba, the role of religion in Cuban society, and the work that all of our respective organizations do to create justice.

IMG_1877

WATER colleagues and our visitors after our meeting.

IMG_1869

Getting to know each other and sharing our stories.

IMG_3949

Summer intern Melissa Feito and Raquel making English and Spanish sense. 

IMG_3954

Mary E. Hunt and Clarita clarifying points in conversation. 

Our guests also took the time to get to know Washington DC and everything the city has to offer. We took them to visit the The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the National Museum for Women in the Arts, the MLK memorial, and FDR memorial. Here are a few moments from our day out:

20160721_142535

Raquel and Clarita visiting the MLK memorial, in honor of Raquel’s work with the MLK center in Cuba.

IMG_1894

Our Cuban visitors and (half-Cuban) intern Melissa paying their respects to Nuestra Señora de Caridad (Our Lady of Charity, La Cachita), the patron saint of Cuba, in the National Basilica.

20160721_095504

Clarita, Mary, and Raquel admire the altar to Our Lady of Guadalupe at the National Basilica.

We’re so glad these influential women had the chance to visit our office and share their wisdom with us. It was truly a wonderful experience in cultural exchange which we are confident will continue in the programs we outlined together.  We all enjoyed ourselves a lot as well…

IMG_1907

Look who we found! Pity he wasn’t part of our important conversations. 

Thank you Clarita and Raquel for your visit!