Posted by: thebluemusicblog | February 28, 2015

30 DAYS THROUGH CENTRAL AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN – CAYMAN ISLANDS 1

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Cayman Islands – three islands in the Caribbean Sea. Paradise. A part of UK, photo of the Queen, the Prime Minister is David Cameron, weather is not typical British! We get up at 02.00 for a 05.00 o’clock flight from Havana to CaymanIslands and are welcomed by Greg Smith, the CEO of the Cayman Islands YMCA and we go straight to one of the schools on the island for a One Million Voice session with the pupils. An interesting experience for us all, and we could already observe one of the many relationships created by the youngest YMCA member of World YMCA.

IMG_8036The landscape is unbelievable, beautiful, the city is well organized and sunny most of the time!

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We move on to see several possible facilities of interest for the YMCA, among them the second biggest skating park in the world.

IMG_8056Flowers in February, with deep, strong colors.

IMG_8062We visit after school programmes, since it is Friday the kids are allowed to watch TV and eat snacks.

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The rules of the game at the school we visited for One Million Voices. The only strange thing for us is that the school is sponsored by a fast food chain.

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Pastor Randy is the President of Cayman Islands YMCA and was in Estes Park last summer when they became official members of the World YMCA. An excellent friend and hospitable host!

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CEO Greg impresses me, he is very well organized, has a visionary mind and courage enough to make the YMCA have a great impact on the island. He is a team builder and relationship builder, and a superb host! We need leaders like Greg in the YMCA.

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Antonio Merino from LACA is giving his speech – excellent! Toni is the new General Secretary in LACA.Sorry for the poor quality, but that is the only photo I had time to take before I had to go up and speak myself.

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This evenings reception   is for the founders of the YMCA and other donors and supporters. I meet with two government ministers and a lot of community pillars from Cayman – it is clear that the YMCA is well rooted in the local community. Earlier in the day we are invited to visit the Deputy Governor, and on Monday we will meet with the Premier on the island and early in the morning Romulo and I will be interviewed by the National TV. So a very well prepared visit with lots of doors open for the YMCA.

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The reception included 75 donors and supporters of the YMCA, here the last group of smiling supporters.

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Breakfast next day together with new and old friends from Cayman, to the left is David, CEO and President of Greater St. Petersburg YMCA in Florida, a solid supporter.

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We continue to travel around the island to visit possible sites for a future YMCA centre, and this is a church centre very close to the sea and with a lot of potential.

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Jeff to the right is responsible for the Swimming pool and sports fields belonging to the Dart cooperation and situated closely to the International School. A possible partner for the YMCA.

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This is one of the venues for YMCA programmes a Saturday morning. Base Ball is popular here like in Cuba.

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David from St.Petersburg, Florida, to the left, visiting a beach resort that has potential for YMCA partnership.

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Since it is Saturday, we are invited for a boat ride to the sandbanks outside the island with fabulous corals where we can snorkel away and see colorful species of all kinds, and before we know it we are surrounded by 20-30 Sting Rays, huge fish with a wing span of more than 5 feet, and they are playing with us. A unique experience in the warm water.

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All the black spots under the water are huge Sting Rays, a fabulous experience. I hope I can show you some close ups tomorrow.

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Sailing back home after fantastic snorkeling over the tropical corals and playing with big fish.

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Dinner at a restaurant on the beach. Where Ingunn is sitting, a few days ago Al Pacino was having his dinner. The owner of the restaurant, a fan of Godfather movies tells us stories about his meeting with Al Pacino, and we became quite excited ourselves! The owner came to the island 30 years ago from Austria as a restaurant worker, and is now owning one of the best restaurants on the island. They serve Apfelstrudel!

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A steel barrel band at the Cayfest – festival, a cultural happening taking place one weekend per year.

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Youth Empowerment on Cayman Islands!

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Good night with a photo of the ambience at the Wharf Restaurant! Tomorrow is Sunday and we start the day at Pastor Randy’s Baptist Church. Happy weekend, wherever you are!

 

 

 


Responses

  1. Fantastic! I love these reports! This was particularly fun because I was at World Council Mtg, when Cayman Islands Y was admitted as our ‘youngest’ mbr! Good to see those beautiful beaches, and know Y of Greater Saint Petersburg, FL is a ‘partner’ here. I grew up @ Tampa/St Petersburg area, and can see the potential here, for the partnership! Lastly, I love the photos of you all doing what they call in Florida: the StingRay Shuffle. You have to ‘shuffle’ your feet along the sandy bottom to make sure you don’t step on them; they look so scary but are actually very gentle & sensitive creatures!


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