La Vereda Mural: Finished!

23 Mar

So now that we’ve been back in NYC for a couple of weeks and are unpacked and settled, I finally have the time to post about our last week in DR working with the children of La Vereda and the completion of their beautiful mural!

I wanted to leave each child with a parting gift, and since we had plenty of art supplies left over from our classes, I decided to divide everything up into little art packs for the children.  Renzo and I decided we would give one to each child at the mural celebration party we had planned:

pack of art supplies

handmade sketchbooks for the kids using leftover paper

packing up parting gifts for the children

renzo and I had fun decorating the packs of art supplies

The last session of our mural painting was really exciting!  We had asked the children to think about the type of animals they might see, and we provided visual references for them to work from.  In addition we did some last minute touch ups and added a few details including a banner held by two birds in the sky which reads “Painted by the Children of La Vereda 2012”.

Here are some images of our last day of painting:

sunny day in the campo

guillermo painting his amazing cow

working on the mural

beautiful smile, beautiful painting

black cat, white cat

working hard!

having fun with the kids painting!

Some details:

samba, rooster, pig & lamb

cherry tree

zanahorias y flores

la vaca!


muy bonita!

Renzo and I organized a mural celebration as a culminating event for the children.  We had snacks and music, and we had a chance to give the children their art packs and say goodbye.  It was bittersweet.

fiesta de las pinturas!

fiesta fun!

hermanas lindas!

cico dancing!

good times at our party

smiling chicas

emily, diana y bebe

guillermo with his package of art supplies

One last pic of the painters and the finished mural:

Celebrating our work!

Those last few days in DR were quite a whirlwind of painting, celebrating, saying goodbyes, and packing!  It turned out we had WAY more stuff with us than we could bring back on the plane, so we ended up giving plenty of things away.  I had some extra art supplies from my personal stash that I decided to give to Diana and Guillermo, two of the older students in our art class who happen to be siblings.  I was really touched when we stopped by their house to see that the project had inspired them to start making paintings at home using the supplies from their art packs…and what made it even better was that their dad was painting with them!  It turns out their dad likes to paint and has paintings all over their home.  It was just lovely to see a family making and enjoying art together.  We left the cans of varnish and brushes with them and they promised to put a clear coat on top of the mural for us.

Here is a before and after of the full mural:




After.  The mural really brightens up the block!

After. So beautiful!

I hope the children remain proud of their work.  It is quite amazing that our group started with no formal art experience!  I think the children have created a beautiful gift for their community.  I love their painting and I hope the people of La Vereda enjoy it for quite some time.  I would love to see more opportunities for children in the campo to express their creativity.

Well this may be my last post.  I would love to post once more to just recap my favorite images from our 5 months in Dominican Republic, but the reality is now that we are back in NYC we are in full baby-preparation mode so time is limited these days.  We’ll see.

Thanks to everyone who followed the blog and our journey for all of these months.  It was really an incredible and life-changing experience and I feel so grateful to everyone in our lives who supported us (family, friends, & employers) and made our journey possible.

Now, we are embarking on yet another journey…parenthood!  So it’s only fitting that there will be a new blog coming soon…

I haven’t set it up, so there’s nothing to see or read there quite yet.  But I promise to send out an email and post on facebook once it’s up and running.

Once again, gracias para todo tu amor y soporte!

Much, much love to you all!

xo A

Our Final Days in DR- Part 2…Plantas Medicinales

7 Mar

Plantas Medicinales

With over 200 plants we had cultivated from seed, we needed to consider what we would do with them.  Transplanting them was out of the question (you can read more about that in my last post here).  Renzo had considered giving them to his mentor Jose Ramon, but Jose has a really crazy schedule running the pharmacy and we didn’t want to overwhelm him.  Renzo ultimately decided he’d like to give the plants to his Tio Rafelito.  Rafelito is very knowledgeable about agriculture and has a keen interest in natural medicine.  He had also expressed to Renzo that he was thinking of opening a vivero (plant shop).  Plus Rafelito has a flexible schedule with some spare time on his hands and the ability to care for the plants properly.  It felt like the right decision.  It was so sad packing up all the plants though…felt like giving our babies away, but we both felt they were going to a good home.  We asked Tio Rafelito to take care of the plants for us and we gave him plenty of seeds as well.  We hope to visit our plants sometime in the future and see how they are doing!

Here are some final pics of the plants & the hand off to Tio Rafelito:

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What a learning experience this has been!  While it was hard to let go of the plants we had nurtured so lovingly for the past 5 months, we are looking forward to using the knowledge we’ve gained to start over again here in NYC.  It’s nice to be arriving back just in time for the warmer weather.


PS- Check out my next post (Part 3) which is all about the conclusion of our mural project!!!

Our Final Days in DR- Part 1

7 Mar

We’ve been back in NY for just a few days but we are already adjusting back into city life in the good ole USA.  Last week was so busy with wrapping up all of our projects in Dominican Republic that I didn’t have much time to put up a post.  However, it is important for me to share with you the culmination of our work there, so here goes (in 3 parts/posts)…

Casita de La Tierra

One of the projects I have wanted to follow up on is our transplanting work on Renzo’s mom’s land.  Our original intention was to take all of the herbs we had grown from seed and transplant them there.  You can click here to read a previous post about the raised beds we dug and the herbs we transplanted there.  Unfortunately when we returned a week after our transplanting work there, we found several calendula plants missing and a bunch of other plantings which had been trampled on.  It soon became clear to us that that land was not secure from people (namely some local teenagers) and animals and that we’d be risking losing more plants if we continued to transplant there.  So we made the choice not to plant anything more there, and opted instead to tend to the plants in containers until we could figure out a better plan.  In the meantime, Renzo’s mom Taty had decided to hire her brother Nelson to build a small traditional casita on the land.  The idea was that Nelson would live there most of the time and be a presence on the land bringing more security to the property.  So although our transplanting was put on hold, the building of the casita presented a unique opportunity for Renzo to learn some traditional construction methods from his uncle.  So, towards the end of our stay in DR Renzo was splitting his time between his internship at Jose Ramon and putting in hours helping Nelson build the casita.  Here are some pics:

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Next post…find out what happened to the 200+ medicinal herbs we cultivated!  Also, final pics of the mural!