Monday, June 29, 2009

Partnership with BuildaBridge International

Just finished watching the afternoon rain and I'm packing up my bag for my first day of lessons. I wanted to share a little bit about my affiliation with BuildaBridge International. My time in Guatemala will be greatly enhanced by partnering with BI's Artists on Call. Here's a description of BI's program:

Artists on Call International

Artists on Call is the advanced volunteer program of BuildaBridge International comprised of arts therapy professionals, artists, and community service workers trained in emergency relief through artistic intervention.

The mission of AOC is to bring--through the arts--emotional healing, to provide a sense of normalcy and aesthetic nourishment (feeding the souls) of children who have experienced traumatic circumstances as a result of war and catastrophic events around the world.

I have collaborated with BuildaBridge in many ways over my last six years in Philadelphia. They have been very generous with me as I have stumbled through the trial and error of starting the Community Arts Program at Ayuda. They have engaging the transformative power of the arts all around the world since their beginnings in 1997. For the past two years, BI has made it possible for me to attend their 5-Day Institute training professionals who work in community arts. Dr Corbitt and Dr. Nix-Early have been kind enough to meet with me regularly and guide me through program/curriculum development, vision casting and goal setting, program assessment, and more. Read more about BuildaBridge here.

For my time in Guatemala, learning Spanish is my primary goal; however, I wanted to interact at a deeper level with the communities here and BuildaBridge has provide those opportunities. They have a variety of contacts here for me to do work in the arts. As it stands today, I will begin Wednesday teaching art in the mornings at Escuela Integrada associated with LACES (Latin American Christian Education Services). I will also have an opportunity to work with Joel Van Dyke's ministry in Guatemala City. We are planning to travel to a prison in Zacapa, Guatemala to paint a mural with the incarcerated women there. And who knows what else! I appreciate BuildaBridge giving me the opportunity to enrich my experience here in Guatemala.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Antigua, Guatemala: Day 1

Originally uploaded by
(Of course, I won't be counting every day, but I'm making the most of the wifi that i've got for the moment.)

I've made it and I'm am so happy to be here. Antigua is better than everyone had described to me. So unique and beautiful. I walked all over the small city and soaked it in. Lots of
new photos on Flickr so enjoy. My host family is very sweet and speak no English (only the son speaks a little) so I'd better get busy! Tomorrow, I meet w/ the head of the school where I was to teach art (swine flu has the schools closed until Wednesday, so we'll talk about what's ahead) and then my Spanish lessons start tomorrow at 2pm and will go till 6pm every day. After spending the day trying to communicate, I'm anxious to get some Spanish into my head!

I'm enjoying Henri Nouwen's book
GRACIAS! a Latin American Journal which I started on the plane. As he describes his own leaving to journey in Latin America, he reflects on the love of those who "sent" him. He describes his friend lovingly coming to help him pack which made me think of my friend Lauren and how she kept me company my last night, ironing and helping me choose what to bring on my 8 week trip. Nouwen: "Whatever my experience in Latin America will bring to me, it will be part of a body formed in love and it will reverberate in all its members..." Wherever we are, we are all connected as the Body of Christ and what happens in our lives reverberates... I know that from having my friend Deb living and working in Thailand; what happens there in her life affects me in Philly. And that's just Deb... there's also you, and you, and you...

He writes about getting to know his neighbors in Peru: "The people speak about God and His Presence in ways I must slowly come to understand. It will take time, much time, but a willingness to learn is one thing I can bring here." Amen.

Street Performance

Thursday, June 25, 2009

too cool...

too cool...
Originally uploaded by misk77
One more fun post from Flickr...
Maurice Andre's first trip to the Ocean

untitled.charcoal, conte.11x17.Julie Perez, age 11

Just for fun; I love this drawing by Julie that she did last fall. It's a tiger mask and a portrait of her teacher and my friend, Claudie. Julie said she has trouble with lips so she gave Claudie a fan to hold.

KuKu, BuildaBridge Institute 09

KuKu, BuildaBridge Institute 09
Originally uploaded by misk77
Photo courtesy of J. Nathan Corbitt's Picassa photos from the 2009 BuildaBridge Institute.

Untitled Photography, Jazmin Lopez, age 17

Testing out blogging from Flickr...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

West Virginia Welcome

Good meal with food from the garden...

Enjoying my parents for a few days...

Crops flourishing from so much rain...

Catching up with my old friend Heather; we've known each other since the 4th grade...

...and finally, a cool West Virginia evening with a spectacular sunset. It's nice to get out of the city every once in a while.