Monday, June 01, 2009

if you build it they will come

I took M to visit my artist friend, the one who teaches in a neighboring village. She is a prominent artist in the West. But here, her art classes are taught in a building that looks like this. It's adjacent to the village school which might actually look worse than this.
I didn't realize M would get to participate but she did. She jumped right in with the other kids and learned to make a shadow puppet. The kids here work on the floor or on simple benches inside this dirty, hot building but they don't complain because this is the only art class to be found.
After the puppets were finished the kids put on a show. M is waiting her turn while watching some of the bigger kids perform. Their stories are a bit jumbled but there is much laughter and some shyness, they aren't used to performing like this. The benches can double as work tables, an extremely creative use of simple pieces of wood. M is very proud of her puppet and was even allowed to bring it home with her. Her puppet, by the way, is an apple. She performed with the teacher who used a horse puppet. Of course, the horse ate the apple. Smart horse.
After the class I cajoled my artist friend again and asked her to bring her talent to the kids in our village and she agreed to come for a month over summer but said we have to provide the art supplies because she's already out of pocket with her current work. But it means that the kids in our village will get a chance to exercise their own potential, so that kids like G can come and learn. I remind her again about G, about how much he could benefit from her lessons and she tells me to show her a child who could not benefit from art and I had to agree.
The below picture is of G and M, practicing their art at my dining room table. He still comes round almost every day.
When I told him about the art class his grin was wide and sweet. I come too? He asked. Well of course, G. This class is for you.

I'm away this week, headed by bus to Mexico where I'm meeting my two best sister friends from the States. I'm leaving the jungle behind for a week and while I'm a bit nervous leaving M I am thrilled beyond measure at the thought of cold beers and the ocean, sisterhood and clean sheets. But between now and then I'm 12 hours on a rickety bus, getting there may be much less than half the fun but well worth it for what's on the other side.

And in case you really miss me this week, I've also written my latest BlogHer installment.  Go take a peek and let me know what you think.

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Cold Spaghetti said...

Love that G.

And getting ideas.

Have a wonderful time in Mexico! Can't wait to hear about the bus ride.

Mebsmommy said...

I would like to contribute supplies to your village's "summer art camp". Oh, and a little something for G!

email me an address to send supplies!

My kids and I will go shopping soon.

Amy B

Jenny said...

How do we send art supplies? It won't be much but it will be something.

Capital Mom said...

Me too. Let me know what you need.

Janet said...

Me too. Let me know what you need and I can send some supplies.

Crack a Corona for me and say "hi" to the ocean.

Nick said...

This is so weird, Jen. Until you Twittered about the recent earthquake in central America, I had not read a single word of your writings that did not convince me you were living in rural Philippines! I was absolutely convinced of it. Hahaha.

Amazing how similar the experiences are.

QT said...

Have fun by the ocean ~ you know what cleansing powers water (and beer) can have!

krista said...

you know you're making a difference in that boy's life, right?
in such a good way.
have a wonderful vacation...

hele said...

you are such good stuff it makes me feel hope.

KC said...

Love it. Look at M go.

And, dude the titles of our posts are eerily similar...

Have a seriously awesome time, okay?

painted maypole said...

art class for G

how much do I love you?

Kyla said...

Look at you, always taking care of others. I love that about you.

Have fun in Mexico!

Lucia said...

Enjoy that cold beer and warm sun. Ain't life great?

Bon said...

i love the two of them at the table. and suddenly a job i had one summer years ago came back, art director for an underfunded (by North American standards) camp for kids with profound disabilities, where benches were also work tables that could be pulled up to wheelchairs.

and just getting that, and remembering that hot summer, for a second i felt like i could understand a teeny bit of where you are.

don't laugh. i know i don't. but still, i wish to.

bgirl said...

i'm so behind, been insanely crazy over here...ahhh mexico. been running through my brain. the sanctuary found when there is sand in your toes. enjoy. buen viaje amiga.