Student Spotlight: Wez Ireland

Time Traveling to Cuba

Photo Essay by Wez Ireland

Primary school children on their way to class in Trinidad. Trinidad was founded in 1514. The older parts of town are well preserved as the Cuban tourism industry benefits from tour groups. In contrast, other parts of town outside the downtown districts are very run down and in disrepair.

Primary school children on their way to class in Trinidad. Trinidad was founded in 1514 and has been accredited as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The older parts of town are well preserved as the Cuban tourism industry benefits from tour groups. In contrast, other parts of town outside the downtown districts are very run down and in disrepair.

Photo Essay by Wez Ireland

It was only a matter of time before my wife took me to visit her native land, Cuba. As a British national, I didn’t have to worry about the way Americans must navigate when trying to enter their Caribbean island neighbor.  At the closest point, Cuba lies just 92 miles south of Florida. Still, from the moment we disembarked, I couldn’t shake the feeling that we’d made a journey back in time.

We planned an action-packed trip over nine days. Starting in the capital, Havana, to visit extended family, we bussed cross-country to Santiago, the country’s second city, over 500 miles away.

We made several stops, including the central city of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site founded in 1514.

In the downtown of Trinidad life bustles around grand, stone buildings erected when Cuba was a stopping point for the Spanish en route to the Central and South American mainland, years before the legendary clash between Cortez and Montezuma, and a century before the first British colonies in the New World.

In Las Tunas, at the bus station, my wife and I chatted with a man who unabashedly described himself as a pimp from Havana, touring the countryside to recruit workers.  He directed our attention to a suitcase stocked with designer jeans, cologne, electronics and other sundries for sale, beaming with entrepreneurial gusto.

Cuba is a time when: children can walk to school by themselves in the morning, and play on the street until the sun goes down… people reap what they sow. Sharecropping is a common pastime, securing nutrition for families and fodder for trade… elders are queried for wisdom and stories that have passed through generation

University students return from School on the streets of Santiago de Cuba. Neighbors gather in the parks and kids play in the streets until the sun goes down.

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One Comment on “Student Spotlight: Wez Ireland”

  1. scotman55 says:

    Great photo article, Wes.


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