By Kevin Stoda, Germany

OK, I tried to be romantic!

Last Saturday night I wandered up the Kaiser Friedrich street from my flat to the Ring Church in Wiesbaden.


This church had recently been renovated, and at 8pm Saturday June 20th a band from Cuba was playing in the evangelical church’s sanctuary. The group, “Los 4 del Son”, that was playing that night is a four-member house-band from old-town Havana’s bar, “La Bodega del Medio”.


The Cuban group has been touring on-and-off in Germany and in other lands in Europe for the past seven to eight years. The band, “Los 4 del Son”, plays a huge variety of musical genres of Cuba in interpreting both modern and traditional tunes. Their repertoire includes salsa, meringue, bachata, and son, but often interprets popular music as well, for example, tunes from Carlos Santana.

Because of the variety of their music, the band, “Los 4 del Son”, is quite popular in the old town of Havana, but it has certainly also been popular in-and-around Wiesbaden and Frankfurt this past year as well.


For me, what was most fascinating about my visit to a musical evening at the famed Ring Church in Wiesbaden on Saturday night was that within the first minutes of music the audience in the church aisles were swaying.


By the second song, two or three members had moved to the front of the church and were dancing in front of the podiums at the alter where the band was playing.

By the third song, people were getting up in the aisles and dancing.

By the fourth tune, I …


I had been drumming on the church bench and tapping my foot for some time.

As people got up to dance in the beautiful traditional stone church in Wiesbaden that Saturday night, romance and rhythm filled the air. People of all ages were up dancing in the aisles, in front of the sanctuary, and in the back rows of the sanctuary.

I soon decided I would send my wife in Kuwait an SMS. The SMS stated, “Baby, I am in a big old church in Germany and there is a Cuban band playing away. I want you to hear and enjoy this music with me. Pick up the phone when I call and listen in.”

Naturally, with the throbbing Latin beats and singing–echoing in the beautifully renovated sanctuary–, I realized I would not be able to communicate well with my wife, but as the German bureaucrats in Wiesbaden have kept me separated from my wife for most of the past 6 months, I really wanted her to share this special evening and experience with me.


I then dialed my wife’s (Maria Victoria) cell phone number in Kuwait about one minute later. The cell phone rang and rang.

Finally, it appeared to me that the phone call had been picked up because the second and minute counter for cell phone calls began to click away or register on my cell phone.

The music was fun. I tried to whisper into the phone some romantic words as the volume in the sanctuary increased to a fervid tempo. Slowly, I could stand it no more. I, too, got up and moved to the area of the room in front of the place where a pulpit still stood to the side of the musicians. The audience laughed. They (the audience) laughed—not because I was dancing by myself (others were dancing by themselves, too) but because I was dancing with my cell phone held up to my lips and whispering into it, i.e. as I tried to communicate my love and desire to enjoy this music and this night’s experience together with my wife located thousands of miles away in the Middle East, i.e. where public dancing between males and females is not accepted.

Finally, after six minutes of this procedure—and with me still doing salsa steps on the floor–, I looked at my phone’s minute counter. Next, I went ahead and switched off my phone—but I continued dancing. In the next break in music, though, I sent my wife another message asking her if she had enjoyed the music.


During the intermission, I went back and drank wine and ate peanuts with one of the members of the band. We chatted in Spanish as I reflected that I had not danced so much to Latino music since I had lived in Mexico over seven years earlier.

This Maringa musician was from the Western Part of Cuba. His name was Wilver. He and I talked about his family at first, and then I eventually shared that my wife was far away from me, too, because for nearly six months I had not been able to help her get a visa to come and join me in Germany from Kuwait, where we had married in December 2008.

Soon, I added, “I had called my wife on the phone while you, ´Los 4 del Son´, were playing music so that my wife in Kuwait could enjoy the music and possibly dance to the music, too.”

Wilver nodded in full approval, “I had seen you. Yes, that–dancing with one’s wife–is something a man (separated from his wife for so long ) ought to do (even over the phone).”


A few minutes later, Wilver, his partners, and the other spectators were all back out on the floor of the Ring Church sanctuary and the music was taking off once again. Suddenly, I received and SMS. It was from Maria Victoria. In it she said, “Sorry, Honey, I was watching the film, AUSTRALIA, at our friends´ Jay and Sonia. So, I missed your call (to dance).”

“Well, at least,” I thought “a romantic can’t be hurt for trying to reach out over the phone to his distant-loved-one.”

I continued to dance.

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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