Following the spring 2020 trip to Costa Rica, energy was high, anticipation of the completed mural was brimming, and plans were set for a return to Costa Rica in June to FINISH the mural!!!
Enter COVID-19...and our production came to a screeching halt!
As Covid-19 swept the globe, so did the reality that this project was not to be completed any time soon. Initially there was anger, discouragement, a little panic, but mostly disappointment. I was disappointed that this mural would not be completed as originally planned. My main concern was the children and community we were seeking to engage and gift the mural to. You see, the community in which La Escuela Pacifica Fernandez is located is a Hatillo district, known for its lack of resources, lack of government support, and lack of hope. I did not want to abandon the project, and I did not want to abandon these children, this school, these families, and their community.
While I continually held out hope and reassured our Costa Rica partners that we were still committed to the mural, I have to admit I was not always so sure. With the end of the pandemic nowhere in sight, I really didn't know how this was going to work out.
Let's fast forward to fall of 2021...
Costa Rica opened its doors back up to travel from Pennsylvania (Yes, their entry was even state specific!). Anju Jolly and I planned a trip in August of 2021 to visit the mural. We wanted to make a trip for several reasons.
The trip was AMAZING! While there were plenty of Covid-19 restrictions still in place, we were able to successfully complete our trip, add a panel to the left side of the mural, and reassure the community that we would finish the mural!!
To say there was renewed excitement and energy must be the understatement of the year! When our feet touched back down on home soil, we set to work organizing for the completing of this project, knowing that we could see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
Anju went to work completing her butterflies, while I set out to complete the painting.
The tricky part of this is that Murals Talk is about an exchange among children, and I was struggling mostly with the fact that I could not get into school in the US to work with kids on the mural. I managed to work with just 2 additional schools in the US before recognizing that the value in completing this work was in the children in Costa Rica and the benefits of me putting paint to canvas were obvious. So, I set out to complete the remainder of the mural mostly on my own at home.