I came across this photo on Facebook last night of my former students Brad and Itxel, in traditional Guanacaste dress, standing in front of the mural I painted of a Guanacaste man and woman in traditional dress! A few months ago several of my former students got on Facebook all of a sudden after the school was able to get a computer lab. I can’t hardly believe it…before that, only a few families in town even had a computer, never mind the internet. I painted this in 2007 when I was a Community Economic Development Advisor with the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. I lived with Brad’s grandmother’s family my first several months in La Cruz, so we saw each other often outside of school. Itxel lived down the street, and was in my English and Junior Achievement classes (and soccer games). They look like they’re ready to go to a fiesta típica and dance to some marimba! Except for the mean faces. People don’t seem to smile too much in pictures in Costa Rica….in reality, these kids were smiling and laughing all the time. I think Brad is trying to imitate his grandfather Hernan, who always looks like that. The camera incorrectly dated the picture 2003, it was actually taken in 2010.
The past few days I’ve been taking the bus from Alexandria to Arlington. We live in a diverse neighborhood on the north end of Alexandria, close to a large Latino community made up of mostly Central American immigrants. Since I am usually one of the few gringos on the bus, it sort of reminds me of being in Costa Rica, which is where I first started making art for others besides myself. Even though I worked in community economic development as a Peace Corps Volunteer with the local people of La Cruz de Abangares, I especially enjoyed collaborating with several of them on artwork for public display. So I thought I’d post some pictures of that work, along with a few other non-art projects!