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MARTIN
 
MURAL 20 in ISABELA, GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, ECUADOR

I learn a lot of my lessons the hard way.  And, usually it takes multiple lessons before I really learn something important.  As I got on the boat for Isabela Island, I told myself to sit closer to the front so I wouldn’t get sea sick.  It wasn’t till I sat down that I realized that I did the exact opposite of what I should have done.  The front gets tossed around the most.  You want to sit in the rear of the boat for a smoother ride.  Sure enough, everyone else already knew that lesson because all those seats were taken.  Although seating capacity was 20, we were at 22 and there was no room to move.  I was in for two hours of bumping and thumping a lesson into my brain by way of my stomach. 

Two hours can be an eternity.  I tried to break it into fourths.  Survive thirty minutes without getting sick.  Survive another thirty minutes.  This method really isn't all that effective.  And, it's just astounding how long five minutes can be.  Into the second hour, I knew my seasick pill had pretty much lost all usefulness.  I had an upset stomach and the burps started.  Not a good sign at all!  I divided that hour up into fourths, then thirds, and finally even minutes.  I tried to convince myself that surely I wouldn't get sick in the last thirteen minutes of the ride.

Look to the horizon.  Look to the horizon.  That's what I've been told to help prevent sea sickness.  When I saw Isabela Island on the horizon, it was the best medicine I could have ever had.  And, thank goodness, the trip ended without embarrassment or a nasty taste in my mouth.

Jacinto Gordillo was one organized school!  The students helped me design the mural with the theme "La Educacion es Nuestro Futuro" (Education is our future.)  I had an adult sponsor throughout the day as we painted our mural at the municipal hall.  Four groups of kids, all delightful, came in two hour shifts during the day.  I couldn't pick a favorite group because they were all so dedicated and fun.  In groups of five, the kids were able to express a little of their personalities and I was able to communicate in my very limited Spanish.

Speaking of limited español, I was interviewed for local television and I had to speak in Spanish!  Each of my three sentences was practiced over and over, but I was told I successfully communicated the thoughts. And, what were those thoughts?  My name is Phillip Martin.  I've painted murals in Africa, Europe and now the Galapagos.  The important thing for me is a community event and not just me painting a mural. 

Every time I had the kids clean the paint brushes, I told them I had a "regalo" (Spanish for present) for them.  It really wasn't the kind of present that any of them wanted, but it made the experience much less painful. The children's experience wasn't so painful but I had my share of pain.  I stepped on a tack and three or four thorns.  I'm not sure how many; I lost count.  But, on one occasion, one boy told me it was a regalo from Isabela.  I thought that was very clever.  It still hurt, but he was clever.  Some lessons are hard to learn, and I already told you I'm a slow learner.  But after the last thorn, I finally realized that I should never, NEVER walk on the grass in that area.  That was a painful lesson to learn, but once I learned it there was no more pain.

MARTIN
Copyright 2011 and 2012 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.