If you clicked on this blog post to find the answer to that question, look no further than Las Terrazas which is located near Pinar del Río. Las Terrazas is a small community that focuses on sustainability and the public health of community members in that town. Visitors to this area can not only stay in a hotel that has nature growing around and inside, but they have fun activities such as ziplining through the trees. They have a local doctor that knows everyone in town, but they also have a local artist that makes his art from recycled paper and materials.
We first visited the doctor’s office where we were welcomed by the local family doctor who explained how he practices medicine and how he treats his patients. He told us that he uses medicinal herbs and eastern medicines to treat his patients naturally. He also visits his patients’ homes to see how they are living and what kinds of foods they are eating so that he can assess how they can improve their overall health and lifestyle. What also was interesting was how he saw the importance of the idea of One Health, which recognizes the interconnection between the health of the environment, plants, animals, and people. The doctor also demonstrated one of his treatments for neck pain using a Chinese tobacco stick that is lit and put close to the skin so that the radiating heat could be used to treat the pain. I volunteered to try it out and it felt like a warm ray of sunshine was shining on the back of my neck. After the treatment, my neck and entire body felt a new sense of relaxation.
After the doctor’s office visit, we went to see the local artist in the area. When we entered the shop, we saw walls full of art and wooden hummingbirds hanging from the ceiling. The artist welcomed us and explained to us his art style and how he began his current form of art. He explained to us that he began recycling paper and unused materials because there was a shortage of supplies. He did not want to stop doing what he loved simply because of a shortage and thought of how he could use old materials to create something new. He started to experiment with old paper and began converting scrap pieces of paper into usable canvases for his art. His artwork consisted of the local scenery, native birds to Cuba, and famous historical figures. After the introduction of his work and shop, it was hard to not buy his handmade postcards and trinkets. That day, I left Las Terrazas learning about the benefits of practicing medicine with natural herbs and using the One Health method, and a wooden hummingbird and a postcard.