Kerry in Full Enthusiasm
The thing with yarnbombing, unlike other forms of graffiti, is that there is a lot of waiting, a lot working in the meantime, and a lot of time ticking, sitting around socializing as the stitches get stuck, the hooks pull and twist, and the art gets created. We started with about fifteen participants, and now two months later, amazingly, we still have a determined dozen still going at it. They’ve shown up twice a week for nearly two months now, through their two-week summer holiday, through two more weeks of sporadic school schedules and odd days off. They’ve stuck with the program. They’ve stayed enthusiastic.
The remaining twelve have splintered into three work groups: las mariposas (the butterflies), los leones (the lions), and los tigres (the tigers). The names, which the kids came up with, have become commonplace within in the sessions, everyone using the terms proudly, self-referentially, as they discuss current exploits. Each group has their own tree to bomb in the schoolyard, and they’ve spent most of July jointly constructing a massive “scarf” to wrap around the base of it. The meetings have become a true-blue crocheting circle, only the participants are not blue-haired grannies but rather early-teens Mayan children.
One reason for the success, beyond Emma, whose charms and kookiness are known to all of those who know me and us, is the help of others, especially former EL volunteer Kerry Griffiths, who has spent the last month helping with the project. This Friday saw her last day, resulting in one of those wild crochet parties that we all know and love so well and some rather heart-felt goodbyes, which included the boys of the group requesting that Emma find a new hot gringa to assist her. In all seriousness, Kerry has been amazing, both at the Lodge and with GUPP, and we sincerely thank her for her involvement and sassiness. She’ll be missed by all, as will her guitar-totting stud-man, Lick-Slapping Lewy.
All that said, the show must go on, and almost immediately, Emma has reined in the next “hot” volunteer to accompany her up to school. Earth Lodge newbie, Jess, will be going to her first yarnbombing session today. She’s got Kerry’s little but punchy shoes to fill, but I have the utmost faith in her doing a stand-up job. Also, by the next time I blog about GUPP, Emma’s mum, good-looking in her own right, will be here to lend a hand. So, it’s great to see folks getting involved, and the fearsome mariposas, tigres, and leones seem to be mingling well with others.
Along the same lines, we’ve got an exciting event coming up at the end of the month: the yarnbombers are going to visit Oxford Language Center in Antigua (owned by Las Manos founder Bryant Hand) to interact with the kids there and have a rather unique Guatemalan-to-Guatemalan cultural exchange. Oxford attendees come from the wealthier side of town, which rarely if ever interacts with their fellow country-people from the mountains. Our kids will be telling students at Oxford about the project, as well as giving a crochet lesson. It’s a great twist on the international community exchange usually championed by Unfinished Picture Project.
So, I, as I hope you do, look forward to the next update, to see where all these great new undertakings lead us. Don’t forget to check Facebook and/or Ning for the latest photos and such from GUPP.
This blog occurs once a week, the entries being thematically mixed between expat life in Guatemala and life as an NGO groupie. The photos for this blog, website, and my life are all provided by my beautiful wife Emma.