Local Episcopal clergy to travel to Cuba


ATLANTA — Rev. Dr. Donna Mote is no novice when it comes to Cuban travel. In less than 24 hours, the Atlanta-based pastor will embark upon her sixth trip to the country, a journey she has made almost routinely since 1996.

“It’s been a strange experience to always have to get permission, a license through the Department of Treasury [to travel],” Mott said.

But when she departs from Atlanta Sunday evening, she knows that this trip, and others to follow, will be much less guarded.

Dr. Mote, an Episcopal chaplain for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, is among a nine-person delegation headed to Cuba from the School of Theology at Sewanee. The group will travel to the country for a week, leading classes and visiting the Episcopal Cathedral of Havana, among other stops.

Hours before departing, Mote sat down with 11Alive’s Blayne Alexander to talk about her upcoming trip. It is the group’s first trip since Presidents Obama and Castro jointly announced the beginning of normalized relations between the United States and Cuba.

“I, personally, was elated, as were people traveling in the group” Mote said about hearing the news. But she says for many of her Cuban colleagues, while also excited, their response was more measured.

“They’ve been used to doing so much with so little for so long, they just adapt and go on no matter what happens,” she said, adding that theirs was more of an ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ mentality.

Blayne Alexander, 11Alive

January 4, 2015

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