March 3rd, 2008

Twenty-first report from Peru.

Jim and I have spent the day touring the Foundation Ninos del Arco Iris. It is absolutely beautifully built, a real piece of art, using round stones for all the baseboards and custom metal work of a sun and moon everwhere. It is by far the most gorgeous and most expensive place that we have stayed. We came because 100 percent of funds from room rentals goes into the Foundation, and we're now reaping the benefits of a beautiful place. We were both very happy that the gorgious compound is not just for us gringos but it is to show the hundreds of poor kids that come each day here that it is possible to build beauty with all native materials.

After seeing the hotel reception classes, electricity, woodworking, computer and sewing for the older students, I sat down to paint. Almost immediately I was surrounded by kids. Thankfully art transends the language barrier because I spent the rest of the day doing sketches of kids and giving them to them. Of course they love the tiny paint box and the tiny water bottle and collapsible brush! I still had cards of a painting of my three kids when they were young ,Singing in the Rain, and that is a terrific give away for these South American kids.

The little kids start their time here with a shower and then a lunch and then the learning begins. It is quite regimented but that does keep things moving smoothly and also there are allot of skills like being clean, tidy, polite and on time that aren't neccessarily part of these children's lives. If they are to escape a live of severe poverty then perhaps these skills will be a real help in making a good impression and keeping a job. 
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