art, dengue and leaving on a jet plane

Our little jungle art class has been going on for three weeks now. I have wrestled with what pictures I should post and after careful consideration it feels unfair of me to put ones of the kids themselves without asking the parents permission. So instead I'm posting a couple of pictures of the art that's coming out of the classes. I want to repeat again that every single bit of the supplies we are using were donated by the blogosphere, and without you we wouldn't have had a class, no class at all.

The first picture was taken from the first class. Each child got a large piece of paper and six colors and after a long discussion by the famously amazing artist jungle queen the kids were instructed to close their eyes. Then the teacher turned up some music and the kids went at it. Believe it or not, the below was done with eyes closed by a 12 year old. I like to think of it as a ceiba tree's roots with a sun in the sky.

The second class consisted of the kids learning about dye and how it works with fabric. Then the teacher led the kids through several exercises using the dyes in different ways. That pink and white one in the middle? Yep, that was M. She's dye-natural. The kids spent a few hours figuring it out in preparation for working with larger fabric and t-shirts.
At the end of each class the teacher has each child sit and write in their art journals. Each child has been given a sketch book and they write or draw their thoughts from the class. M always draws a parrot and writes the word THE. Am not sure what THE is about but she does it every time.

The kids made t-shirts and sarongs yesterday but unfortunately I missed the class. One of the other kids in the class was sick yesterday and since we've had a dengue fever epidemic raging through our little village we have been especially watchful. Since the mom didn't have a car I offered to take her and her daughter to the doctor while the class was in session. When I got back the kids were done and my eyes near popped out of my head in amazement. I forgot my camera so will have to take some pictures later but their work was gorgeous. Using the previous class to show the kids how the dyes worked and get them comfortable with it really paid off. We are still waiting to hear if the child has dengue. Dengue sounds like a horrible thing and it can be but generally folks fare okay after a rather nasty illness. So far 300 or so people have it and only 1 has died. I watch our mosquito bites and I say silent prayers every five minutes that the bastards that have bitten us are not the ones with the fever.

There are two more classes but unfortunately I'll be missing them since M and I are returning to the US for a few weeks. We fly out tomorrow and I start work on Monday so it'll be a whirlwind and also a blessing, this job has given us all a sigh of relief. But as the clock ticks I am on one hand happy to be temporarily leaving the land of dengue and on the other rather nervous about re-entry. Y'all move so fast up there and things all of a sudden seem very loud.

I've been absent lately due to a weeklong visit from my mother in law, a woman who has never left the US in her entire life. I was rather worried about how she'd feel about all of it but I can honestly say I am very proud of her, she's taken everything in stride and has really seemed to like her visit. I overheard her saying to J you know I thought I'd hate it but I see why you moved here, next time I come I want to stay longer and when I retire how would you feel if I lived here three months at a time and I smiled because she's our first, our first family member to see this place and somehow she gets it, in a short little span of time she's understood what we've done.

I'll see you on the flip side, friends. Back to the land of high speed internet and fast food. Of first rate hospitals and groceries. Of freeways and stoplights. I'm hoping that once I'm there I'll have time to write more clearly about some things that have been rattling around in my head for awhile. Because still and after six months I am still trying to make sense of it all.

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