SIEMPRE, TIJUANA, MEXICO
March 19-27, 2013
By: Sarah Albinson
Lisa Albinson and I went to teach linoleum block printing, and t-shirt stenciling techniques to the youth residing at the Siempre Para Los Ninos Orphanage. Our goal was to expose and teach repeatable methods in an art form that can be mass-produced and marketed, as well as be a form of personal expression and processing. We chose mediums where the materials could be easily purchased and replenished by the orphanage so that they could continue the work well after our week-long visit.
We stayed at the orphanage and for the first half of the week we taught 3 classes a day, with 15 students divided into small groups. We wanted them to get one-on-one instruction, but also rotate classes and gain exposure to both of our artistic mediums. Monte and Lisa Sanders, our main partners and links to Siempre, were our translators for the week, and blessed our entire trip with great company but also helpful cultural guidance and knowledge.
I was BLOWN AWAY by the dedication the students exhibited. It was not uncommon to find ourselves being dragged to class 45 minutes early by enthusiastic students! Some students opted to attend all three classes, come early, AND stay two hours after class for extra work time and instruction! On one particular â€œoptional work day,â€ we found ourselves dragged into a classroom that had already been unlocked and projects already begun by some of the youngest students! We began to run out of supplies! Not only were they dedicated, but VERY talented. We just received word that the directors and owners of the orphanage are working with one of the students, to help him market and produce his work (see note below). Wow!
Living on the compound allowed us to spend a lot of time with the youth and get to know them beyond the classroom. We played soccer, volleyball, listened to music, watched movies, had water balloon fights, etc., all of which were fun, but also helped us to establish trust with kids who have hundreds of people walk in and out of their lives every month.
Recent note from Siempre, April 9, 2013:
â€¦Thanks again for doing such a great job!Â Â The kids are STILL talking about what they did, asking for you to come back, and think you should live there full time….big compliments from kids who have had to learn how to reach out to others.Â We are starting a micro-business with Moises, based on his stamp — T-shirts, cards, etc.Â He’s excited about it.Â I want to produce cards with some of the other kids’ prints as well — give them a little business training in the process of giving them some independence.Â Â