By Gaby OrwickTwo weeks into our travels, the first kids’ art project came to life at a lovely little orphanage (orfanata) in La Fortuna. We had contacted a couple of schools and were about to visit another one, when our wonderful hotel hostess Shirley offered to give the local orphanage a call to check if they might be interested. And not only did the Hogarcito director say “yes!” – she confirmed for the following day.
We were beyond thrilled for the opportunity – hadn’t realized how eager we were to get to work!
We found all the art supplies we needed at the local Libreria Dylan downtown, and for ~$60 stocked up on enough paper, color pencils, paint and brushes for not only the ~15 kids we were expecting to work with, but hopefully for a few more future drawing experiences in the house.
We tried to align and get expectations in check – not speaking the language was definitely going to be a challenge, but we felt confident we can overcome it with a little help from the staff and google translate by our side. Gaby’s Spanish is slowly “coming back” too and we’d been getting around fine so far.
A couple boxes of fresh fruit, juice, milk and treats from the local Pali grocery story in tow (another $50 well spent!), a bag of art supplies and giddy excitement in our hearts, we drove up just before 2 PM.
The place was quiet when we rang the bell by the big iron gate. Isabella greeted us warmly, and Diana, the director, only one who spoke English, gave us a tour of the house – cheerful, clean, neat, just lovely.
We had read about the orphanage and were still overjoyed to see how well the kids are cared for, when they most need it. There was even a brand new trampoline and everyone was vying for a turn. One of the older girls was especially reluctant to let her turn go, but even she was all smiles and quickly warmed up once the paint and brushes came out …
We worked outside, around a table that barely fit everyone. One the kids got creative and asked us to tape the paper to the wall, other grabbed a set up and extended into the playground. Everyone except the babies joined in. 14 kids, ages ~5 to 12, about even number of girls and boys – we were pleased and impressed at just how sweet, respectful and attentive they all were.
While the self-portrait (autorretrato) portion of “how you see yourselves in the world” theme might have gotten lost in translation, the creative little artists used the brushes with skill and mixed fun colors.
Many painted the Arenal
symbol of the area and gorgeous backdrop to the project. Most painted multiple pieces, and could have kept going, had the staff not called them in for snack time.
Time flew by, yet felt all-consuming, and the couple hours spent with the kids will forever be in our hearts. And though no photos (of the kids) were allowed, for safety and privacy reasons – we’ll never forget those faces.
We stayed to play ball and draw some more, laughed out loud silly, made paper airplanes from the scratch paper, and just enjoyed a special moment of being a part of each other’s lives. So wish all the very best for each and every one of these darlings.
Thank You for inviting us in and being a part of StudioEverywhere!
~ Gaby Orwick | Sept 1, 2015