Friday, May 28, 2010

I went to an art show...and liked it!

I am not a big fan of art shows. I am sure they are great. I am sure that many people enjoy them immensely and that they convey a side of human nature that I am missing. (Indeed maybe it is why I get people upset so much).

I think it is because I always have something that is in my mind more productive to do. Sitting and listening to music, or wandering around looking at pictures is a form of relaxation that I generally do not allow myself.

But today I went to a free art show that probably made the whole trip in and of itself.

It happened after a brutally hot day of rubble removal (the AM was possibly hottest it has been since we got here) in which we now have filled more than 4 large dump trucks of concrete rubble that has been painstakingly removed from the remnants of a house in which three people died in downtown Leogone.

The truth be told, in spite of the fact that it is somewhat fun to swing a sledge hammer, I am not a huge fan of doing rubble removal. Essentially it involves going to a site that previously had been someone's home or place of employment but is now a pile of large cement blocks and, by hand (remember there is no power and VERY little heavy equipment) systematically break the large chunks of cement into smaller cement chunks which can then be hauled off the site into a large pile to await removal by the UN or other contracted group.

In Haiti, you get all of that plus rubbling has the additional charms of being “one hundred and Haiti degrees”, dirty, dusty, and with an audience of interested bystanders, many of whom are all too glad to jump in and help in bare feet or sandals.

Consequentially we were all hot, tired, and looking for any solitude one can find in a small camp of 110 people as we loaded up the tap-tap and headed back to camp through the narrow (and exceedingly bumpy) streets of Leogone.

About a quarter mile from camp we pass what is affectionately known as the “Gutter Bar”. Typically there are a handful of volunteers whose jobs finisher up early at the bar as the tap-taps second trips are completed. Good-natured yelling typically occurs between those on the tap-tap and those on the two outside benches.

Today was different. Maybe it was because we were earlier than normal but in place of volunteers (I have never seen a local resident there), were the children of the bar owners-the very children we had played with and given notebooks, pencils, and crayons yesterday. I am not sure who saw whom first, but quickly they jumped up and down and held up their notebooks for the world (or at least one v ery small corner of it) to see.

After unpacking the tap-tap we headed down to see them. It was great. In addition to a cold bottle of “Limonade” the kids gave an art show of all of the many drawings they had done (interspersed with few repetitions of multiplication tables for good measure).

The show went on through each of their notebooks.  Some of the drawings were in pencil, others in crayon.  They showed pictures of flowers, cars, and even James Bond—OO7 himself and as they did they were each carefully say what it was in Creole to help teach some of their language to us.

Then suddenly the page turned and instead of saying anything, they just pointed and giggled. On the page was a colored picture of ….me. Adorned in my long blue pants and long sleeve yellow shirt that have become almost my trademark. Oh and they also gave me the honor of having a full head of hair.

After that the budding artists used my camera to take pictures (“foto foto” of each other) as well as of the volunteers who were by now coming in for anything cold (the camp has no refrigeration) prior to dinner. Additionally the artists' mom, dad, and grandmother came out and spoke for a bit thanking us for the supplies and getting into various photos.

It was one art show I would definitely not want to miss!

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