By Chris Morville ~
It is the day of departure for our journey to Cuba and Miami, Florida to embark on a 14 day journey in what is, for the most of us, uncharted territory. Only a few people on this trip has previous existing relationships with each other, so It was obvious that relationships would be formed over the course of the next two weeks(whether they be positive or negative). For me, I only “know of” a few people on the trip, and the rest were complete strangers to me as I saw them arrive at the airport. This made me quite nervous on how I would acclimate to so many new people in my life and being forced to make friendships so quickly, and i’m sure many of the other students feel the same way. However, everyone seemed to be very friendly and willing to meet the other students on the trip right off the bat, so my tensions were eased rather quickly.
Thankfully my Dad is an employee at Newark airport and he was able to give the students a first-hand look at airport operation by bringing us up to the United control tower. This little field trip was able to take everyones mind off of stressful travel and brought everyone into the same area to get to know a little bit about each other while in a stress-free environment. I would like to think that this helped ease the tensions we all had of traveling to a foreign country.
As we stepped down from the tower and made our way toward the gate, we were all very excited (and tired due to the fact that most of us got up at 4 a.m.). Once we stepped on the plane and taxi’d on to the runway, our trip officially began.
It was quite an interesting feeling knowing that none of the other students have been to Cuba before, so we were truly all going into the country with a blind view. Some of us had an idea of what to expect but I think I can speak on behalf of the students when I say most of us were shocked when we stepped off the plane and took our first steps on the island.
The airport was crowded, and right away the lock of resources was showcased. The arrivals terminal had one run down bathroom with no toilet paper and their was only one small stand with access to bottled water when you exited the terminal. Before arriving, I was told that resources in Cuba were scarce, but I needed to see it first hand to truly understand.