Overcoming obstacles. Persevering through dark times. Leaning on those you love to hold you up when you are not at your best.
Life's unexpected events and themes of empowerment have often driven the creative process of the work I do at Jewel of Havana. In fact, I named the company after the strongest woman I know, my mother. My new Snow in Havana Jewelry line is a tribute to her story, and what an amazing story it is!
My mother first came to the United States from Cuba as part of Operation Peter Pan. Operation Peter Pan (or Pedro Pan) was led by Father Byran O. Walsh in response to the mounting political regime of Fidel Castro. As Castro began closing private schools, fears that the government would begin sending minors to work camps in the Soviet Union caused many Cuban parents to risk their lives and homes to get children out of the country and into Miami.
Children of all ages were sent to America alone, relying on shelters and group homes run by Catholic Charities. The operation began in 1960 but abruptly ended in 1962, following the Cuban Missile Crisis. Because of this, nearly all of the children were without their parents until the later half of the decade. Though most were eventually reunited with their parents, some never saw them again.
One of those children was my mother. She was 17 when she came to America, after working for the underground herself. I wanted to ask her a few questions about her own experience.
What was the most challenging part of being in America?
Communication was probably the greatest challenge. I had studied English in school and was able to speak the language to get by. However, understanding people that spoke fast or use idioms that I was not familiar with was very difficult. At school, it would take me a very long time to complete reading assignments and since I had to also work to sustain myself, there was not much time for sleeping.
Introducing the Snow In Havana Jewelry Collection
Inspired by the strength and courage we all have within us to weather any storm. Jewelry elegant enough to dance the night away at the Tropicana in the romantic Cuba of my mother's youth and a symbol of their adopted country and the magic of hope and new beginnings.
Ana Maria Andricain
Ana is a metal clay certified artist creating handcrafted nature inspired artisan jewelry from her Baton Rouge studio. If you love natural gemstones and metal, welcome home!