Going Beyond the Water: Our Family Continues to Show Up

The story remains the same: Whether it’s after a hurricane in Honduras, an earthquake in Haiti, or a flood in Waverly, Tennessee, one thing we know we can count on is this: If there is a need, our water family is going to show up with what is needed.


Such is the case with El Seminario Evangélico de Teología (SET) in Matanzas, Cuba. Since its founding in 1946, the Evangelical Theological Seminary has faithfully served its community and beyond in countless ways. SET was our very first water partner in Cuba back in 2009. Our Cuba Network is based out of the seminary. They have continually supported the 61 other water partners in Cuba, including hosting Network-wide conferences, housing water teams from the U.S., providing spare parts to operating partners, and offering technical assistance to troubleshoot a maintenance issue.


This summer, as we marked the 12th anniversary of SET’s water partnership, the seminary showed up for their community in a way no one else could: Providing overflow housing for children under COVID quarantine from a nearby pediatric hospital that had long run out of beds due to the pandemic. Carlos Emilio Ham, the Rector of SET, relayed the following details to us and we wanted to share them with you all.


Sometimes it’s easy to feel a bit defeated by all that is going on in the world right now. If you look up and out, you’ll see God’s helpers showing up, way beyond the water. Keep the faith, dear ones. As churches, we are interceding for our people, giving comfort, care, producing and sharing sense, offering messages of faith – strength and hope, as well as dialogue, reconciliation, and peace with justice. In addition, we are offering solidarity and witness, making diaconal work or service – through the Living Waters for the World project, helping and serving food for the vulnerable, and through laundry for the elderly people.


In the case of SET, the only Pediatric Hospital of the province of Matanzas, Cuba, exceeded its maximum capacity in June. The Ministry of Public Health of the province requested the help of the Seminary, to serve as an annex center of the Children’s Hospital to accommodate children who were considered suspicious of having contracted Covid-19 with their companions. We immediately agreed, following the long traditions of our institution of service to the civil society.

On June 20, we held a joint meeting, and both institutions worked intensely from that moment on to create the necessary conditions in the visitors’ building, ensuring the protection of the members of our community and the properties. We were able to fit out 120 capacities; some for those children positive to the virus and one accompanying parent; some for those who were suspicious of having it plus one accompanying parent. Also adults who are positive or suspicious of being positive to Covid-19 are also assisted here. We also host teams of 10 people, doctors and nurses for hospital aid. All capacities have been occupied since June 21, discharging those who recovered from the virus and transferring those who needed it to the Intensive Care Unit.

At present, 10 SET workers are working in the different areas. The kitchen team prepares food for 140 people every day including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks. Even when the Ministry of Public Health is supplying with all the logistics, including food items, SET offers the infrastructures, covering those expenses.


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