With my service nearing its end, I wanted to leave an artistic contribution to the community. Earlier on I tried to paint a world map, but it didn’t really work out. I always had the goal of creating an entrance sign made of plastic bottles, but instead made a garden wall. The idea of an entrance sign, however, still was inspiring. Since I arrived, the highway entrance for Renacimiento was a bit underwhelming. Some visitors even thought, “Am I here? Where do I go now?” Along the highway, travelers can glimpse creative casetas and signs indicating the names of their respective communities- Bajo Cedro, Quebrada Pastor, Rio Uyama. So when the opportunity flourished to create a mural on our caseta, I was stoked!
It started when Fernando asked me to help him paint over the existing caseta. He saved up two gallons of white and black paint, and was determined to cover up all the disturbing drawings and phrases inscribed by adolescents on their way to school. With the help of another volunteer, Ire, we finished the job in a few hours. Going from a mellow orange to white and black seemed a bit stark, so I asked Fernando how he would feel if we used my extra colorful paint to create a mural. He was thrilled! Over lunch we began discussing what to write and draw, and invited my little neighbor Lauriana along. Ire and Fernando took charge of scribing the “warning messages” to deter maliantes from ruining the new painting. As I slowly wrote RENACIMIENTO along the principle wall, Lauriana went to town accenting the seat with yellow dientes. After I drew the outlines of a coconut tree, sun, cloud, cacao tree, and Ngabe woman, Lauriana colored them in.
In total it took us six hours and we were pooped by the end! It was so worth it though as we soaked in the positive reactions of community members. Everyone absolutely loved it, and we are now all holding our breath for the first signs of maliantes. Every time I pass or get off at our caseta, I feel a sense of pride and “home”. I am so glad we were able to still collaborate this far into my service and leave behind un recuerdo de Edi. They joke that the Ngabe vigilante in the mural is me :p. Falta Kabe! Edi and Kabe will miss Renacimiento SO much, but their spirits will forever stay here. As another volunteer once wisely said about her own serive, Chelsea is excited to return home but Edi is sad to say goodbye.