In the attempt to get all of my personal belongings together before I leave next week (next week!!!!) I’ve neglected buying art supplies up until tonight. I went a little bit crazy at the craft store– I had so much fun throwing all kinds of brightly colored craft materials into a huge shopping cart. I felt like I was on one of those game shows where the person with the most items after 2 minutes in their cart wins a brand new Lexus and 10 day vacation to the Bahamas, or something. Adding to the madness was my decision to drag my dad out to AC Moore 10 minutes before closing time… anyway it all worked out in the end and our dining room table is now glistening with a primary-colored array of brushes, paints, crayons and markers. In buying materials I tried to weigh quantity, durability and variety of materials I will be using this summer with the kids. Of course part of the selection process was simply submitting to a childlike whim to grab shiny/sparkly/glittery objects in the hopes that maybe I wouldn’t (hopefully) be the only one fascinated by them.
At the book store I picked out a of couple educational books on arts & crafts projects for kids. It’s SO difficult for me to only pick out one or two books when I want these kids to have so much. Also I want the contributions people have made to go as far as possible in this project, and that is one reason why I have felt so guilty providing for my own material needs. While I understand that my own health/well being is important, I feel like any money I do spend on myself could be going toward one more crayon, marker, pencil that would not be there otherwise.
It is striking how difficult it has been for me to find a supplier of children’s art books, either online or in stores in the U.S. Maybe I just don’t know where to look, but it seems like there is an educational gap in the resources available to spanish-speaking parents for their children in this country. It just seems wrong that a parent can’t provide for their kids in the ways that native English speaking parents can in this country. I suppose this is the same as with anywhere, but it just seems so wrong considering that a mile away I am in a shopping center where you only hear Spanish, where the cars play reggaeton and the taste of arroz con pollo lingers on the lips of young children. Luckily, after much searching I came across a website with a list of the best art books for kids in Spanish, a few of which I was able to find online at Amazon. I’m REALLY excited to read all these new materials and start planning, though I think the best part about this project in many ways is how little I know what to expect or how to predict what this adventure will bring for me. At this point it all still seems overwhelmingly surreal.
Thank you SO MUCH to contributors of this project who have enabled me to purchase these arts supplies: there is much more to come, but this is the first step toward bringing art to the children in Achuapa. It could not have been done without you!