Brian Newhouse bought a map of Hispaniola and asked us if we'd like to help paint a map of the island on one of the exterior walls in the Batey. It sounded like a fun project, so we gladly accepted.
Nazu's wife and 3 children are still in Haiti. Nazu came to the DR to find more opportunities for work so he could send money home to support his family. This was the first time we met Nazu; he just grabbed a brush and started helping us.
The mural is on the side of Elias' house (he wanted it to look as nice as possible, so he put the smooth concrete on the exterior before we began). Elias is a handyman extraordinaire and seems to be one of the leaders in the Batey. He's super dependable and one of our favorite people we've met. His wife, below, is expecting a baby any day -- we're hoping she gives birth before we leave so we can meet the baby and celebrate with them.
Brian chalked in gridlines to match the quadrants on the map so that the mural would be to scale.
Today, a group of men and boys became very interested in the map and the mural. Initially, there was a conversation among a few of them as to which side was Haiti and which side was the Dominican Republic. Once they got their bearings, they enjoyed finding places of interest, including their hometowns. It was fun to ask them where they were from and watch them hunt down cities on the map and then find the location on the wall. We sense that the mural will bring joy, pride and a sense of belonging to the residents in the Batey. It will also spark conversation and be educational. Great idea, Brian!
Elias completed the first coat of green. This week we'll put on a second coat of both colors and do some touch up work to make the mural a bit more precise. We'll post some photos when it's finished.