Cuba! Can you believe that we just completed the first organized chiropractic mission trip to Cuba? I have searched and searched but I have never read about any other successful organized chiropractic mission trip to Cuba” said Peter H. Morgan, DC. A special Chiropractic mission team of 10 chiropractors, 3 chiropractic students, three chiropractic advocates and 1 chiropractic office manager brought chiropractic and humanitarian supplies to the people of Cuba. It was the first time an organized chiropractic mission trip actually made it to Cuba. Peter Morgan, DC the spiritual chiropractic leader and founder of Mission-Chiropractic and co-founder of Mission Life International of New York, N.Y. led the five-day mission to the communist nation at a time when new hope has emerged among the Cuban residents. In return, the group, made new friendships and brought home a better understanding of the plight of people on the island.
“Dr. Cucci and I had to depart to Puerta Plata Dominican Republic to set up the Haiti-Dominican republic chiropractic mission trip taking place from January 1 to January 10, 2010. We went to rent two homes in Port au Prince Haiti, we met with several pastors and medical professionals, we hired professional photographers, video crew and jeeps for the chiropractic trek from one end of Haiti, through the middle of the country and finally arriving in the Dominican Republic. We will see patients in churches, village centers and hospitals. People will be waiting on line for days to get adjusted. We stayed in the DR for two days and then we took a 16 hour drive to Haiti and back. We made our arrangements and flew to Nassau, Bahamas. In Nassau we met the rest of our Cuban Mission team. We were 10 males and seven females from California, Delaware, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
The next day we boarded an Old Russian small propeller plane. We encountered turbulence for the entire hour ride. We touch down in Havana and are greeted by hundreds of Cuban workers wearing swine flu masks. It was really eerie, as was going through an extensive and enduring customs protocol. We finally exit the airport and it as if we went back in time. Most of the cars were made in the fifties and they all run and look as if they are brand new. One of our taxis is a 57 Chevy station wagon that can easily hold ten. We are staying in a beautiful hotel that overlooks Havana’s majestic harbor. The entrance to the harbor is guarded by a 400 year old fort. The Spanish raised this fort next to the harbor entrance between 1589 and 1630, with the objective of warding off attacks by pirates and enemy fleets. In 1845 a huge light house was built adjacent to the fort which makes the entrance to Havana even more picturesque. Havana appears like a mix of Spain, the Caribbean and Italy. The architecture is stupendous. There are statues and fountains in the old spacious squares. We encounter many old forts and heavenly churches. We visit extremely appetizing restaurants with musicians serenading us as we enjoy one delicious meal after the next. The highlight of the evening was when we witnessed soldiers dressed in the uniforms of the British redcoats performing a curfew time firing of the canon as they did when the British had captured Havana back in 1762. It is a ceremony of sound and lights performed on the ramparts with great fanfare and a great favorite with tourists and Cuban children who are brought in from the countryside as a treat during the holidays.
The following day we set out on our chiropractic mission work. We board a ferry that takes us across the harbor to Regla. Regla is where the common folk live. It is completely different than the down town tourist area of “Old Havana” where we are staying. As we walk by old worn out buildings and shacks, we catch glimpses through the wide-open front doors. In nearly every house there is a vase bulging with fresh wild flowers placed in the most obvious location on the table or counter. It’s strange to see; the beauty of God’s creation set among these shacks of poverty. Not the flowers, but these wonderful Cuban people.
(Photo: a blue car on the street in Cuba, see more images from the trip here.)
No clocks, no alarms, no rush, just the rising sun and the clip-clop-tick-tock of the horse’s hooves set the pace for these folks. We’re off to a converted house-church. Scheduled for 9:00 we start about 8:00. We arrive to a multitude of Cuban patients who have put on their best clothes. It doesn’t matter to the kids that some don’t have shoes or that their shirt is buttoned all wrong. They jockey for position to get a glimpse of us. Not too close, just close enough. These are simple, honest and hardworking people who have waited patiently to see the chiropractors from the United States. We address a large crowd that assembled in the church. We tell them the chiropractic story and set up our adjusting rooms. We were not allowed to bring portable chiropractic tables into Cuba, however our hosts made us a number of fantastic tables that we had in several rooms.
It was a surprise and an encouragement to see how much Cubans can do with so little, it is a truly testimony to the world that the mighty hand of God is upon them. The poverty is devastating, as is the customer service offered in all public places. In spite of this, the Cuban Church where we were stationed is growing every day more and more, about 90 percent of the church population is between the age 13-30 which is amazing! While we were adjusting we were able to see the thirst, enthusiasm, and desire the Cubans had to learn more about chiropractic. The beautiful things they do with little or no resources at all deeply ministered to our spirits.
The next day part of our team was driven about an hour outside Havana to the countryside. We set up our adjusting rooms in a small church and in a house that was attached. As we walked around we noticed that “comfort” was a foreign word. Many of the Cubans living in the home had severe disabilities. The “beds” were just simple slabs of wood, many without a pillow or even a cover. The floors were manufactured by the Pastor in order to make more room for the people who lived there.
When we broke for lunch or dinner we were told that honored guests eat first, everyone else later. They have so little yet it is offered as completely yours. They give what they have from the heart. They would want to give you every thing they have. We made a comment on how we liked the small old fashioned coffee machine, and they wanted to give it to us.
The floor of the kitchen and eating area is plain concrete but is swept and mopped perfectly clean. Life is simple. Life is slow. Generations have been born right on this property and shacks have been added to accommodate the new marriages. They work hard to live; it shows on the roughness of their feet, hands and faces, but their heart is as warm and innocent as a child’s.
All the children in the little community were drawn to us. We felt like the Pied Pipers! Everywhere we go; eight or nine children follow us. The digital camera always brings fun, laughter and smiles. The children transform themselves into to athletes, circus artists, clowns and acrobats for the camera. Suddenly they are all posing for the camera and they begin to do some gravity-defying cartwheel or flip. They immediately want to see their pictures. Their smiles and laughter are like a penetrating dagger that heads straight to your heart. They can’t stop their tongues once their heart is given to you.
I guess no one has told them they’re incredibly poor. All they care about is a quick game of soccer. They play it with a ball made out of some rubber that they picked up in some garbage dump. Some kids ride their rickety old bicycles with flat tires and bent wheels. Do they know their clothes are tattered? Do they know their homes are shacks?
As we are leaving, the kids run along side us waving a hundred times. With each wave they look you in the eye. The last wave means as much as the first. If you’re not willing to give your heart away, you should never come to Cuba.”
Here is what one of the female mission team chiropractors related to me “What an incredible experience I had in Cuba. It was 5 of the most meaningful days of my life. We spent weeks training, preparing and praying for God to use our 17 person team as he saw fit. We went to be a blessing to the wonderful people of Cuba. We were blessed far more. We had the privilege of adjusting in homes and sharing chiropractic in churches. We built relationships with the many beautiful Cuban people and delivered pure chiropractic with God’s love to as many people as possible. We were humbled to see many chiropractic miracles while we were there. We saw God working through us as we taught and adjusted in Havana and Regla, Cuba. We heard great life-changing testimonies from those that we adjusted the days before. Although we adjusted our brothers and sisters in Cuba, our team was also ministered to from our Cuban brothers through their dedication and love of God. We saw God work despite the very limited resources and the many hardships that must be endured to carry out God’s mission in Cuba. Speaking for our team, and myself, this chiropractic mission trip was a life-changing experience for both our brothers in Cuba and us.”
An international chiropractic mission trip is a life-changing experience. I promise that your life will never be the same. You will come home a changed person. On our next chiropractic mission trip in October we plan to collect and bring school supplies, powdered milk, eyeglasses and toothbrushes, Dr. Morgan said. “Take part in this unique opportunity by bringing humanitarian aid to churches in the last standing communist country in the western hemisphere. Learn first-hand about the condition of life in Cuba. Join our ongoing mission projects and interact with local churches and community homes. Meet individuals and help us help children, elderly, and the handicapped. You will have the opportunity to roam the island and see its beautiful history while spending most of your time bringing humanitarian aid to the wonderful people of Cuba.”
Dr. Peter Morgan is the immediate past president of the N. Y. Chiropractic Council, past secretary of the North East Chiropractic Council, past treasurer of the New York Chiropractic Political action fund, past CEO and cofounder of ChiroMission. Dr. Morgan is the founder of Mission-Chiropractic and cofounder of Mission Life International.
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