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MURAL 32 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Never! Never! Never! Never say never!
have learned that lesson so long ago. I realize that when you
say sentences with "never" in
them, you are just begging the universe to bite you from behind in places
where you don't want bitten. And, when given the opportunity to
bite, the universe tends to do it.
I can only
remember two "never sentences"
in my life. I'm sure there are more, but two have been repeated
so often that they are sort of seared in my brain. Of course,
I never would have said never
unless I was absolutely certain that they never
would happen. Never say never.
"never sentence" that I remember
was, "I'm from Ohio, but I will never
move back there." I always thought that Ohio was a good place
to be "from" but not "in". It was fairly safe
to say I'd never live there again when
I found myself living in Africa, Asia and Europe for twenty years.
I even bought a home in Belgium and seriously planned to stay there.
What can I say? I lost my teaching job when the economy took a
downturn. I had to sell my home. And, when I could move
anywhere in the universe, Ohio seemed to be the right place.
there was the second never sentence.
As absolutely certain as I was that the first sentence would never
happen, I was infinitely more certain about the second. There
was no way in Michigan that it stood a chance. Never!
Absolutely never! It was impossible.
I would never return to Haiti.
the world and visited so many countries. But, in all my travels,
only Haiti made the "No way, absolutely never,
I won't go back there" list. Of course, I truly believe
that most people would feel that way if they were wrongly arrested and
hauled off to prison in some country. You'll have to read the
"Adventures in Haiti"
section to get the full story. Just know, I've told people for
decades that I would never return to Haiti.
Never! And, everyone believed me.
there was the earthquake.
that earthquake, I felt like Haiti should be revisited. If any
place ever deserved a bit of color and happiness with a mural and a
community project, it had to be in Port-au-Prince. When the invitation
came my way, I had to say "yes" after so many years of saying
All of my
murals have interesting stories behind them. At least, in my humble
- and oh, so biased - opinion, they are interesting. Recently,
many of them have been linked together. The beginning of my return
to Haiti started on the mural project to the Mexican / American border
town of Piedras Negras. Now seriously, who would have imagined
that? That's where I met Laura.
church takes mission trips to Haiti on a regular basis. When Laura
came home, beaming, and told her pastor about the experience in Mexico,
he immediately said, "You have to come with me to Haiti."
And, when Laura made plans to go to Grace Children's Hospital in Port
au Prince, I was a part of those plans.
a serious time crunch to get the mural painted in the four days we had
to paint. So, the design was made in advance. I didn't get
as much input as I would have liked, but with the suggestion of "Jesus
Loves the Little Children", I came up with a Haitian twist.
That twist included a map of Haiti and the national flag. I was
satisfied because I like to give each mural a local flavor that would
only work in that specific country.
has its little challenges, but they are always overcome. The wall
in the children's wing of the Grace Children's Hospital was the bumpiest
surface I've ever painted a mural on. It soaked up gobs of extra
paint and was nearly impossible to create a smooth line. As always,
I was up for the challenge, and as always, I had wonderful volunteers
for the project. So, in spite of more than a few bumps in the
road (or in this case wall), the mural went up in the four days we had
to do it.
As far as the universe biting me you-know-where again because I said "never", well, I had such a positive time in Haiti that there were no wounds to heal. No scars. No pain. And, there is already buzz in the air about my next visit to Haiti.
So, I repeat, Never! Never! Never! Never say never!
|Copyright 2013 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.|