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Throwback Thursday Peace Corps Art

Throwback Thursday Art

The other day I was thinking that I have a fairly extensive body of work from the past several years, and I’m going to start sharing bits of it every Thursday on my Facebook fan page, on my Twitter page, and right here on this blog!

As many of you know, from 2006 to 2008, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Costa Rica, working in Community Economic Development. In my spare time (there’s plenty of spare time in rural Costa Rica), I enjoyed, you guessed it, painting.

Over the course of a few months, I sketched and painted a detailed world map onto the side of the local elementary school, where I taught Junior Achievement and English, and was a soccer star (until I played with other adults). The map had every single country on it, with the names in Spanish, as well as some inspirational quotes on the sides.

"art with meaning" "custom art" "custom painting" "world map mural" "Costa Rica" "La Cruz de Abangares" "Guanacaste" "costa rica art" "world map painting" "community mural"

"la cruz de abangares", "world map mural", "costa rica", guanacaste, art, artist, painting, "community mural", "school mural"

The quotes read (translated):

“The more we know the world, the more we love it.”

“The Earth is ours, let’s take care of it!”

“Almost always, the creative and dedicated minority has made the world a better place.”

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

la-cruz-flags-and-world-map-mural

world-map-photo

Once the map was finished, we used it to teach geography through trivia games. The kids really enjoyed it. Most of them learned a lot, although one boy already knew the name of every single country in the world, where they were located, and some information about each country! He showed me his book one day that he studied to learn all of that. It was pretty impressive.

Since then, the school built an additional room, which enclosed the map inside.

World Map Inside La Cruz Costa Rica

We definitely had a good time at the school, both learning:

La Cruz School Kids Costa Rica

and having fun!

La Cruz School Kids 2 Costa Rica

Lastly, I recently donated to the National Peace Corps Association and got this cool bumper sticker artwork to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps!

Peace Corps Bumper Sticker

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Refreshing walks and hikes

Getting some fresh air

Do you ever feel like just getting out of the office or your house for some fresh air? I know you do! We all do. There’s nothing like walking through nature to clear your mind. This weekend I took a walk with my wife, which has started to become an annual thing, through a regional park to see the fall colors and the Potomac river. I could stare out at the bright colored leaves next to the Potomac for a whole day.

Taking “nature walk” to the extreme

Thinking about these nature walks got me to thinking about the biggest nature walk I ever did – a 3 day hike through Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica. I’ve heard several times that Corcovado has the most concentrated biodiversity in one spot in the entire western hemisphere. National Geographic even called the Osa Peninsula, where Corcovado is located, the “most biologically intense place on Earth.”

We walked for three days in the muggy heat through the jungle, crossing several rivers along the way. We heard all kinds of birds and howler monkeys off in the distance, saw wild bores and a spotting of the rare danta (tapir in English – like a mini elephant), and several pizotes (not sure of the English translation, but I know I’ve never seen them in the U.S.). The most beautiful part for me was walking along the ocean and seeing dozens upon dozens of wild, bright red scarlet macaws flying along the coast. I think I was so enchanted that I didn’t even get a photo of it! I did get a few of them in the trees. Here are some photos!

(this hike was in 2008 near the end of my Peace Corps service in Costa Rica)

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