Tag Archives: dominican republic

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!

burro

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:

Before

Before

 

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…

http://www.rootsnyc.com

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 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!

xo

A

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:

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

xo A