ABOUT THIS SITE:
Designed by Hood College Graduate School "Team Green":
Blaine Dockery, Patty Hesse, Sharon Jenkins and Mei Zhou,
with special thanks to Dr. Elizabeth Chang,
advisor, expert Webtweaker, and professor por excelencia.
Frederick, Maryland, USA
PRINCIPAL VOLUNTEERS & INTERNS 1994-2004:
Eleanor Hajduk, Rebecca Pisarro, Renée Bowers, Carrie Naumann,
Esther Gelabert, Rubén Salgado, Reina Flores, Audelia Flores,
Óscar Portillo, Maya Kini, Megan Shepard, Geordy Miller
FREDERICK MURAL RESTORATION PROJECT
WITH HONDURAN TRAINEES, 2000-2001:
Frederick City and County Governments,
Rentals Unlimited, Golden Artist Colors, Shared Vision
Triangle Motors, Inc., Computer Station, Frederick Underwriters,
American Airlines, Sherwin-Williams Paints, The Orchard Restaurant
Weinberg Center for the Arts, The Mail Room, Borders Books, Walden Books, AC Moore, Duron Paints, Rogers Engraving & Stamps, Dr. Ronald Manzer, Peace Resource Center, Cole’s Pawnbroker, Wastler’s Barber Shop, Way Station, Safeway, Berrywine Plantations, Mt. Airy Liquors, McCutcheon Apple Products, Arbie’s Restaurant,
Weis Markets, China Wok, Common Market, Venuti’s Ristorante, Thomas English Muffins, Sam Goody, Camelot Music, Wall Music, The Junction, Renn-Kirby Pontiac-Mitsubishi
Many of these contributors have continued to support our art resource projects since then.
Many thanks to all.
AND SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR
CIRCLE OF DONORS
A rooster crows in the dark and I awaken, wondering again how to thank you for helping. Outside the window I see a faint glimmer of dawn. I hear a couple campesinos walking down the dirt road toward the market place with their bundles of produce. My mind’s eye follows them down to a city still in ruins from the flood of 1998. My mind’s eye then turns up the mountain to the tiny town of Juncales, destroyed by a landslide. Later today I might hike up there, but I pretty much know what to expect. They are already rebuilding and sowing new crops, although the government prohibited resettlement. It is a high-risk zone; they have been cutting down the trees (it is a forested watershed area that serves the city’s fragile water supply) and they never owned property there to begin with. They were squatters – as were most of the people most affected by the floods and landslides – poor people who had managed to invade marginal areas where the landholders had decided it was not worth the expense and risk to get them evicted. This has greatly complicated the process of reconstruction. In the case of Juncales, a group of wealthy local property owners raised funds to buy a new parcel of land for the campesinos, although rumor has it that the land belonged to one of the landowners who wanted to sell it anyway. And then the campesinos refused to relocate when they realized that it was too steep and far from the road.
If anyone tries to tell you that it is easy to help people in need, don’t believe it. There is a strong pressure for people working in aid and development to exaggerate their accomplishments and minimize their setbacks. But it is a dishonest game to play. It builds unrealistic expectations and in the long run, cynicism. And then we fail to appreciate the small things in which all great goods consist.
Sara and I have not forgotten your generosity. Although you were already sent thanks on our behalf, we had hoped to follow up personally with some upbeat news about how much good your donations helped us accomplish. But it has been difficult. We did a lot to help other organizations involved in emergency aid. We finished up a mural project with children in social risk and another mural with schoolchildren up here on the mountain; I am doing an artisan research project in the Mosquitia region; and we continue trying to get some memorial projects going for hurricane victims. In spite of the difficulties, it has been good to persist and we thank you from the heart for helping us persist.
In closing, let me affirm that life in Honduras is wonderful. Sometimes it may be difficult for us, but it is much more difficult for others. Not long before our friend Paul was murdered, he had told us that he came down to Honduras to write about the campesinos because life down here is much closer to life and death. The wonderful things are more wonderful and the awful things are more awful: the tropical sun casts everything in sharper relief.
As I take a walk up the mountain road, the sun begins to rise. I’m thinking about my next painting while Dobi the dog pads along beside me. The dew sparkles in the field of blue flowers that leads down to the pine forest. Way beyond, through an opening in the pine trees, I can see the Olancho valley still plunged in night, while the mountain range beyond is tipped with light.
Las Pilitas, 26 February 2000