Sunday, July 7, 2013

Little Corn Island School, Nicaragua

We just came back from one of the friendliest and most welcoming place in the Caribbean: Little Corn Island. We enjoyed every moment on this island which included scuba diving some beautiful sites, sharing laughs with locals and expats alike, and eating so much lobster that we managed to get sick of it.

The trip to get to this remote island included three planes and one tiny boat and our dive gear took a lot of space in our suitcase but we still managed to fit our printer, a few costumes and a few shirts to take our project to the only school on the island.

It was a beautiful and warm day the morning we showed up at the school. Our new friend on the Island decided to join us and help us out since she liked the project and it was great having extra help. The kids were slowly arriving to school and we weren't quite sure how many prints we were going to have to make but as soon as the first kid was dressed up, I grabbed the camera and started snapping shots while Sara was printing the pictures surrounded by a hoard of intrigued kids.

Once again we were happy we had a rechargeable battery on our printer because the school had no electricity but we printed so many pictures on site that we did run out of battery before the last few pictures were printed. We took a group picture of the remaining kids (most of them had already run back to their house, eager to show their pictures) and we headed back to the hotel....where the electricity was down. We waited until the day after to print the last pictures and took them to the director of the school who was enchanted by the project.

Once again the smiles and the joy on these kids' faces enlightened the day and we were happy to share this moment with these incredible souls. The teachers also got a few prints on their own and were grateful for the break they enjoyed while we took over their school.

While on the island we also had a chance to witness the start of the lobster season. Hundreds of Lobster traps were piled on top of each other days before the season started. Apparently lobsters are attracted to cow skin and the stench coming from the traps was barely bearable when we would walk by them. These traps are also quite heavy and an army of men is required to get them from the shore to the boat. A few years ago, a giant pipe got stranded on the island after being lost at sea. The locals found a great use for it and they cut a huge piece of it that they use as a ramp during fishing season and as a water slide when the kids take over. It allows them to move the traps much faster from the shore to the water where they are then pulled on the large fishing boat by a system pf pulley and a lot of manpower. It takes them days just to get all the traps on the boat. They are then dropped off at sea in the hope of catching many lobsters.

We also went up to the lighthouse which is the highest point on the island where a breathtaking 360 view awaited us. The climb up the ladder to the top of the old tower, which was honestly a little scary but the reward was well worth the effort.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thank you. We couldn't do it without you!

We received  lot of items from our Amazon Wishlist this week and we wanted to thank you all for your amazing support! The kids will definitely love these new items! Make sure you take a look at the Wishlist if you haven't done so already there are dozens of costumes to choose from.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Another trip to the 99 Cents Store

The other day I discovered a dollar store at the end of my street and I picked up a few item for our project such as these firefighter hats, basketball and football and music instruments that we can give the kid when they pick their careers. The more toys and costumes we have to offer them the happier they will be!

An easy way to help our project is to donate a costume through our Amazon Wishlist. Take a look

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fiji after the flood

Some people leave a lot of sadness footprint on this earth, we try to balance it out by leaving a lot of happiness footprint.... with our prints

A few months ago we booked a trip to Fiji to go scuba diving and enjoy a relaxing week of vacation in the sun and I had tried to contact our hotel to take "WhenKidsGrowUp" to some of the local schools in Fiji but didn't really get any response.

However, a week before our departure a storm passed through Fiji and flooded the villages and streets of the Island. We weren't sure if we would still be able to go but a few days later our travel agent contacted us to tell us that all the roads had been cleared and everything was back to normal.... at least at the resort we were going to stay at.

The weather did not get that much better and we enjoyed tropical rain every day of the week during our stay so we did not get to dive as much as we would have liked but we did end up visiting the Island and meeting some of the kindest people in the world. Roads were damaged, beaches were still dirty from the storm and Fiji did not quite look like the postcards my friends had mailed me in the past.

One rainy morning we decided to hire a cab for the day and visit a traditional village on the island. We grabbed the few costumes we had brought on the trip, the printer, and a few bottles of water and headed out. After what seemed to be a long drive the cab driver dropped us off in front of a small store to buy a bag of Kava (A local drink) to bring to the village as a gift which is a traditional thing to do. Kava is made from a local root that they crush into powder and mix with water.

After another long drive, we arrived in the village where tourists were welcomed by their spoke person. We thought we were going to get a private tour when just seconds later, a giant bus filled with tourists pulled up and unloaded its group of curious Australians.

We ended up visiting the village with the group and, even though most of the villagers' houses had been damaged during the flood they all welcomed us and were smiling as if nothing had happened. Kids were running around playing in the mud with wooden sticks and broken toys and old family pictures were drying out in the sun. We could see some of the household items that were damaged by the water and the spokeperson told us that some of the families had to move in the chief's house because it was the only house that had been safe from the flood since it is located at the top of the hill.

At the end of the tour we had the opportunity to take part in a Kava ceremony where the chief made a giant bowl of Kava to welcome us in their community and we all drank from it. It has a very particular taste and leaves your mouth numb for a while. After the locals performed their traditional dance we all joined in and danced together for a few minutes. Once the ceremony was over we were invited to take a look at their handcraft and buy a souvenir. While the group of tourists gazed at the displays I started printing a few photos I took during the ceremony to thank them for having us. I handed the first prints to the elder people in their community and everyone was pleased with their print and they all wanted to pose for the camera.

Once the herd of Australians left the village we took the costumes out of our backpack and put the printer to work. We didn't have as many choices as usual since we hadn't brought our entire collection of costumes but the kids had a lot of fun picking their career and we ended up leaving the few toys we had with them. At first they were a little shy and understandably curious and somewhat fearful but they quickly warmed up to us and it became a fun activity for everyone in the village.

It was a good thing I had a few memory cards on me which sped up the process. I could take a few pictures and put the memory card in the printer while taking pictures with another memory card. Everyone was impressed by the quality of the prints and looking at the images coming out of the printer becomes a bonding experience where we get to actually talk to the villagers and get to know them better.

The grown-ups probably had even more fun than the kids this time around and I apparently put my foot in my mouth yet once again when I mockingly told the Chief that we had to re take the group picture because he was the only one not looking at the camera... I hadn't realized he was the chief!

We were happy to be able to give new prints to the families who had just lost everything they had during this natural disaster and be able to leave our footprint on the island.

Fundraiser Party

Our Kickstarter attempt to get more funds through pledges just ended and it didn't get funded this time but we want to thank every one of you who made a contribution. However, we did get a lot of support from all of you during our very first fundraising event last month.

We were at "Main on Main" in Santa Monica where we raised 258$ with the sale of Raffle Tickets during the art show "ELEMENTS 2". The prizes were all donated by the amazing artists showcasing their artwork that night and included prints, books and craft by Liz Brizzi, Christian Shenouda, Peter Shenouda, Deborah Phipps, Julie Goulin and and Sarah Huber.

The event was a success and a memorable evening.

We would like to thank everyone who attended and bought tickets to help this project.