Opening doors in Cuba

Jeri Fujimoto with Oragami book

Jeri Fujimoto, governor-elect of District 5150, displays some of the gifts delivered by the team of Rotary members.

By Jon Kaufman, director of H2OpenDoors

Along with 40 friends and supporters of the H2OpenDoors project, I took part in an eight-day exploratory expedition to Cuba on 8 April.

Members of six Rotary clubs in District 5150 and their friends and family joined The Bay Area Cuba Community Alliance, starting on the far eastern side of the island for a visit and site survey at a small village in Granma province. Each person presented a suitcase of donations to the Town Delegate in an emotional ceremony.

Women with Cuban flag

Diana Henderson and Helena Marsh, members of the Rotary Club of San Rafael, hold up the Cuban flag.

Baseball equipment, animal husbandry tools, school supplies, and children’s clothing were among the gifts for over 550 residents. The town had been home to one of the best community baseball teams in Cuba, but they have been unable to play for over two years for lack of equipment. After a great ball game, the town elders hosted us for a lunch feast.

H2OpenDoors will return in December to install a SunSpring water purification plant to provide safe drinking water for the entire community, and an additional system in a similar community near Havana.

Following the visit to the rural colonies, our group hosted a cocktail gala at Havana’s iconic Hotel Nacional for Cuban entrepreneurs to start a dialogue about Rotary and the recent visit by U.S. President Barak Obama’s administration, and to build new friendships. The 120 participants broke out into four focus groups for lively discussions about the arts, education, water and infrastructure, and businesses.

Another 40 people will be able to join H2OpenDoors between 8-17 December for a similar schedule, including a day at the Havana International Jazz Festival. For more information go to www.H2OpenDoors.org or contact me at jon@H2OpenDoors.org

1508_kaufmanAbout the author: Jon Kaufman owns KL&P Marketing, a large agency in the Silicon Valley. He has been a member of the Peninsula Sunrise Rotary Club in Redwood City, California, since 2012. Jon started H2openDoors as a Rotary project to provide drinking water technology to the poorest villages and schools who spend up to a third of their daily income on bottled water.

7 thoughts on “Opening doors in Cuba

  1. Sir,

    I am a new member of Rotary here in Callington, England. In June I am on holiday in Cuba for two weeks at Varadero. I am wondering if it would be possible to visit one of the programs in place and if possible visit a Rotary club whilst there?

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  2. Pingback: Understanding Your Relationship with Money – Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley

  3. I am in agreement with helping the people of Cuba, as a Canadian and a Rotarian we have been doing this for years both for the people and the industry. During this time I did not “the so called suffering people of Cuba” We saw a nation with Free Health Care, Free Schooling, very low crime rate if any, and a very happy and peaceful nation. Stop trying to put a MacDonald’s on every corner help where you can but not every country in the world wants to be “Americanized”
    Don R Henry
    Rotary Club of Strathcona 5370
    Edmonton AB

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  4. Opening the doors of Rotary for the suffering people of Cuba is absolutely a meritorious deed. The water project named as H2OpenDoors is a revelation and I believe people of Cuba thoroughly deserve this service. Good Luck Rotary and Good luck People of Cuba.

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  5. Pingback: Opening doors in Cuba | The Rotary Club of Carteret

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