In Cuba, foreigners are only allowed to use official government taxis, which cost just under a dollar a mile. Locals mostly use shared taxis that run a set route – you can get in and out anywhere along the way for just under fifty cents.
I liked the price of the shared cabs and the drivers liked the idea of picking up an extra passenger, so I often found myself squeezed into a 1950 Dodge with nine other people.This was great fun until one day we turned a corner and two policemen waved us over to the curb. Instant pandemonium broke loose inside the cab.
The driver, it turned out, had no cabbie license, so it was imperative that we convince the police that we were in fact all friends rather than paying passengers. This was easy for everyone else – all they had to do was shout out their names and agree upon a destination. The problem was me.
I grabbed the driver's arm.“My name is Karin. What’s yours? Julio? Look, I’m marrying your brother who lives in Miami and I came down here to meet your father before the wedding and you’re taking me around to see –“
“And you have two children called Maria and Tomas!” a little old lady in the back shouted.
“And your sister, Lucinda, was against the marriage because she’s older than you and she wanted to get a husband first!” another woman with a bag of oranges threw in. Cubans are great storytellers.
“And your two cousins, Pedro and Marco, hate Julio because –""Shut up, I’ll never remember all that!”I said.
By then the police had arrived. They pulled me aside and one of them started questioning me. There was a lot on the line – if I failed then they would take away Julio’s vehicle.
So I told the cop about falling in love with Julio’s brother. I laid it on thick, with lots of tedious detail. Every once in a while I’d say, “Oh there's so much more - it took us years before we could be together...”
Nothing a guy hates more than a chick flick.
The policeman actually escorted me back to the cab and opened the door for me. By then the other passengers had all gone their separate ways, so I never did find out what my two cousins had against my fiancé’s brother.
I always thought the most difficult part of this program would be getting teachers to embrace new technology. After all, not every educator is fluent in iMovie or MovieMaker. I was so concerned about this that I included 300 still photos in each of our modules in case a teacher decided to duck the whole video idea and just have their students create Power Point presentations.
One day it happened: a teacher wrote to tell me that his students would only be using the stills. I realized he was afraid of the editing software and tried to explain how easy it was, to no avail.
About two months later, a bunch of videos arrived from my Power Point teacher. I called him up to thank him and casually asked if he had learned how to use iMovie. “Goodness no,” he replied. “The kids did the editing. I just helped them with their storyboards.”
Nowadays when a teacher tells me she doesn’t want to use the video footage, I agree immediately. I figure her students will talk her into it. They always do.
Who doesn't do daily battle against an overflowing in-box?
In an effort to send you only material that you want to read, we are splitting our newsletter in two. This current TAKE 2 NEWSLETTER will continue to focus on behind-the-scenes stories of getting footage and the wonderful ideas that our teachers and students come up with to use it. It will be published every other month.
In addition, whenever we launch a new set of footage from Cuba, Sudan, or Japan, we will put out a MODULE-SPECIFIC NEWSLETTER with links to sample footage, stories, and curriculum. Anyone on this list will also have access to tutorials on Moodle, Jing, Tagxedo, and other free, cutting-edge educational software products that teachers might wish to incorporate into their classrooms.
If you are interested in subscribing to our MODULE NEWSLETTER, please click here. This is an opt-in list. If you do not wish to be put on this list, you don’t need to do anything. We will continue to send you this Take 2 newsletter approximately every other month.
“Merci mille fois.”
Mary Dowden, Teacher
Junipero Sierra High School