La Vereda Children’s Mural (Mucho Mejor!)

19 Feb

MUCHO MEJOR

Today we held our fourth mural painting session with the children of La Vereda.  Our new system was mucho mejor!  I am so happy we figured this out.  Like most organizational concepts, it was pretty simple.  As the children arrived we had them sign their name on a list.  The first 5 students would paint for 30 minutes, then the next 5 and so on.

Painting sign-up sheet.

We told each child what time their painting slot was and asked them to come back at their scheduled time.  Almost all of them were happy to comply with the new system though there were several very persistent little cuties who just could not contain their excitement enough to leave and come back, but instead insisted on hanging around until it was their turn.  Lol.  We tried our best to keep them in the shade since it was so hot!  In any case the new system was delightful, allowing for so much more organization and the small group made working more pleasant for the children, as well as us.  There were beautiful moments of little voices chattering about their painting, and even moments of silence as the children found that wonderful space inside the creative process where one is in the so-called “zone” or engaged in what we can also call “flow”, a theory proposed by physchologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  You can read more about the concept of “flow” here.

One of the great parts of the day was the interest of passerby, neighbors, and family.  We had quite a few people stop to watch and admire the children working.  Some were surprised the children had done all of the painting on their own.  We also had a few children we’d never met before pass by and ask if they could participate and because our new system was so efficient it was much more easy to include anyone who expressed interest.  It was really super to feel enthusiasm for the project from the community.

Children painting. Notice the three passerby who stopped to watch us work.

The children did such fantastic work with the mural!  They started out by fixing up some spots from our last session.  Then they added casitas, matas de coco (coconut palms), and a mata de mango (mango tree).  The wee little ones did a great job adding fruits and veggies to the “tierra” layer of the mural.  They painted zanahorias (carrots), cebollas (onions), yucca (cassava), tomate (tomatoes), and calabaza (squash).

Here’s what the mural looks like now:

Lookin' good!

Phew!  After 2 1/2 hours working in the hot sun Renzo and I were quite sweaty, hungry, and thirsty.  As usual Luz & Robert had a delicious Dominican lunch waiting for us.  Before we headed home, Renzo wanted to stop by the back of his Grandfather’s house to see if we could grab some guava off the tree.  We saw some ripe ones but they were pretty high up.  After a few minutes of throwing rocks at the hanging guava, Renzo’s Tio Victor came out of the house to show us how it’s done:

Tio Victor climbing the guayaba tree

Climbing trees is no big deal around here, lol

One of my favorite things about Dominican culture (and Carribean culture in general) is how ready and willing people are to climb just about any tree to procure fruit!  No one around here ever seems too tired or busy to hoist themselves up a tree to grab you something tasty.  There’s something so free-spirited and generous about this characteristic of the culture that I think is very special.  Think about that the next time you feel too tired to get off the couch to get your sweetheart a tasty treat from the kitchen! Jaja.

As we were about to leave with our guayaba (guava) I told Renzo I was craving agua de coco (coconut water) and I asked if he could find out from Victor where we could get some.  Earlier in the day we had seen some vendors passing by but we were too busy painting with the children to bother with buying any.  Of course Victor’s response was something along the lines of “Why buy coconuts, just go out back and get some off the tree.”  So another tree-climbing venture ensued, though this time help was enlisted from Renzo’s very-skilled-at-tree-climbing cousin.  He must have knocked down about a dozen coconuts for us to take home.  (Did I mention Samba LOVES coconuts?  Playing with them, eating them, drinking from them…they are his favorite tropical doggie toys!)  The one they opened for me was soooooooo sweet and delicious!  I am really savoring these special moments with such little time left here.

Ask & you shall receive... agua de coco. YUM

All in all it was a beautiful day.

Here is a slideshow with some pics:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More updates on the mural (& our plants) in the next few days…

xo A

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7 Responses to “La Vereda Children’s Mural (Mucho Mejor!)”

  1. Kristi February 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    For some reason I love this post the most. The mural looks amazing and i am overjoyed to share the fun, joy and dedication of your artistes and the community spirit. You keep mentioning leaving soon. Has it been a year already? Wish I could be there with you…I too love coconut water. Hola Renzo!
    Kristi

  2. dominicanroots February 19, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Thanks so much Kristi! This project with the kids is just amazing. I keep wishing we could stay the full year so I could spend my time convincing other people who live on La Vereda to let the kids paint their walls with their art. It hasn’t been a year quite yet, but since I’m pregnant and due in April we ultimately decided to return to Brooklyn in March. Thanks so much for keeping up with our blog and giving your feedback. I really appreciate it and I would love to hear about your journey this year as well! xoA

  3. ANA February 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    DEAR ANNE AND RENSO, THANK SOOO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE BEEN DONE, IN MY VEREDA!!! I LOOK FOR YOUR POST EVERY DAY AND I WILL MISS THEN A LOT!! YOU DID A WONDERFUL JOB, AND I KNOW FOR SURE THOSE KIDS WILL NEVER FORGET YOU!!! PAPI’S HOUSE LOOK VERY NICE WITH THAT MURAL….

    THANK YOU AGAIN AND GOD BLESS YOU!!! SEE YOU SOON

  4. dominicanroots February 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Gracias Tia Ana Maria! I’m so glad you are happy with the work we are doing, since that is your neighborhood! It means a lot! xoxo A

  5. jackie February 19, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    muy bello!1 quedo todo!!! es cierto quisieran muchas paredes tener un mural como ese en nuestra comunidad!!! muchas felicidades!! ANNY AND RENZO!!

  6. Evette C February 25, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    This is truly awesome! I know you guys are going to leave these kids with so much inspiration and creativity. I know this means a lot to them. I haven’t commented before, but I like to check out this blog once in a while to catch up with the amazing things you guys are doing. I showed this to my bff, who is also a teacher like me, and she really wants to meet you! I’ll see you at your baby shower:)

    Renzito’s cousin, Evette

  7. dominicanroots February 25, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Thanks so much Evette! It’s been really wonderful. Looking forward to seeing you at the shower! xo A

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