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Finding family in Cuba: Ivan's Story

Ivan's Story with Ding

Ivan believed it was fate. A last minute trip to Cuba from his home in Mexico would change his life in ways he never expected. 

Ivan’s colleague had a trip of a lifetime planned to Cuba, but was unable to travel. The trip was unusual in that it was to take place in Holguin, a region not like the popular destination of Havana but rather in the oriental part of the island. On the first morning of his trip, Ivan rented a car. Being unfamiliar with the area, it was not long before Ivan became completely lost. But for Ivan, this would be a life changing journey after befriending locals while asking for directions.

 The locals invited him back to their home for a traditional Cuban meal of rice and beans. Their home was humble and Ivan quickly realised the effort they had made to accommodate him.

To thank them for their generosity, he hired the family as guides to the area.

 Ivan explains “Imagine, I might have only been in La Havana passing through. Instead I spent my days in Hoguin and the villages around, with my family, with its people, who treated me the best way I could imagine.

 Ivan very quickly fell for the youngest daughter of the family, so much so that he extended his trip to stay with her. Their romance continued when he left despite the distance. Ivan remembers; “The distance was difficult. He used Ding to keep her phone topped-up. On a visit to Cuba the following year, he proposed and they are now happily married.

In Ivan’s own words “I thank God and my friend very much for the trip to Cuba and I am especially thankful that it was to Holguin.”

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