Thursday, 09 May 2019 15:32

Promising Offspring Grows on the Lombardy-Las Tunas Twinning

Written by István Ojeda Bello
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Promising Offspring Grows on the Lombardy-Las Tunas Twinning Photos: István Ojeda

The generational renewal of the twining between the Italian region of Lombardy and Las Tunas could be in the sustained exchange, for three consecutive years, between students and professors from the city of Lecco and their colleagues in this province of eastern Cuba.


Las Tunas, Cuba.- Since 1997 the Coordination in Lombardy of the Italy-Cuba National Association of Friendship (Anaic) and the provincial delegation of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) established a twinning that resulted in the stay here of activists of the European nation. They have not only made direct material contributions to alleviate the effects of the US blockade in more than a hundred institutions of Las Tunas; but, most importantly, they have shared their commitment to a much more just world.

Italian students in Las Tunas

In the year 2017, the inhabitants from Las Tunas and Lombardy decided to explore other edges in the narrow ties already worked, focusing especially on the new generations. Thus, each month of April, successive groups of young people from the Bertachi Institute and the Manzoni Lyceum began to arrive in order to approach to the daily life at the Juan Cristóbal Nápoles Fajardo (El Cucalambé) Professional School of Art, and the Luis Urquiza Jorge Vocational Pre-university Institute of Exact Sciences (Ipvce).

In this 2019, the stay of the boys and girls from Lecco was just four days and together with the spaces reserved for knowing lifestyles, national symbols and characteristics of both countries, the tour was oriented to sites of economic and social relevance of this territory. They were, among others places, in the Constructores del 2000 childcare center and in the Majibacoa sugar mill. In the same way, the participants highlighted the pleasant sensations of being the builders of new bridges of fraternity.

Caterina Saglio, 18 years old, said that "it's something very particular, very intense that has made me grow". She will shortly finish her studies at the Manzoni Lyceum to start studding for being an aerospace engineer. Belkis Fajardo Prado, a girl of the same age that is studying at the IPVCE of the Capital of Sculpture in Cuba, said that "Despite living in a completely different country, we learned all dances and traditions. In addition, we got new friends that will always remain.

Italian students in Las Tunas

The experience is not only enriching for the youngest, also their educators feel that something has changed in their lives, and for good. This is what Professor Giovanna Gentile, teacher of the Manzoni Lyceum, believes. On her second trip to Las Tunas, she was thrilled to hear a young man from Las Tunas who sang a song in his native Neapolitan dialect after touring the Campus Pepito Tey of the local University.

Gentile expressed that her boys and girls will learn a lot about how the students here get involved in solving the problems of their schools and how they participate in many activities beyond the teaching. Alan Scopel, who came to the front of the "Bertacchi" group, felt satisfied his expectations that included not only accompany his disciples but also explore options of academic exchange with educational centers in this part of the country.

For his Cuban colleagues, the impressions are similar: Amauri del Río, an IPVCE professor said that "Each droplet of solidarity is important to us and we greatly appreciate it. This is one of the most beautiful ideas that the twinning between Lombardy and Las Tunas has given." Nurys Catallops, director of the El Cucalambé Professional Art School, expressed that "The meeting takes place for the third time, but every year, each young person, each boy or girl who has come and transmitted his/her experiences, an inner world, not only their culture. José Martí said that Homeland is humanity and there is a beauty in seeing how love unites us because the Cuban Revolution is love."

Italian students in Las Tunas

Ermenegildo Caimi, secretary of the Coordination in Lombardy of the ANAIC, said that "each one of those guys from Lecco comes back telling everything they've seen and that's why we want to continue these exchanges. Las Tunas deserves it."

Globalization certainly diminishes cultural distances; and in the level of knowing each other, it has made these Italian and Cuban teenagers discover that they listen to identical commercial rhythms. However, they begin to explore their own idiosyncrasies, finding a new meaning for actions that in other contexts would be less relevant, such as singing their own national anthem or seeing themselves in the pleasant trance of explaining aspects of their lives that they considered inconsequential.

It may be that the seed is sown there, in which new desire sprout to bring the twinning between Lombardy and Las Tunas to the 21st century.

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