Murals 21 and 22 in Omepete Island, Nicaragua

I am the first to admit that I am slow to catch on to new technology.  Although I love my laptop and don’t leave home without it, things like Skype, Ipads, My Space, 4G, whatever the Cloud is (and so much more that I don't even know about) never occupy my time.  I do, however, use Facebook in a very limited way, and I do know exactly where and when it was explained to me.  I sat atop a hill overlooking the desert where Lawrence of Arabia marched through Jordan with a fellow world traveler.  He explained to me that nearly everyone under 25 years old -- like him -- had a Facebook account.  It's been a while since I was under 25 years old and I felt it as it was explained to me.  Any way, it wasn't long after that trip that I finally got my own Facebook account.

And, it's a very good thing for me that I did it!

Previous to my life of travels through Africa, Asia and Europe, I journeyed to Costa Rica a few times.  I made wonderful friends with several Ticos (Costa Ricans).  However, over the years, we lost contact.  But, that was before Facebook.  I know I'm not hard to find on the Internet.  However, I was still surprised when Mauricio found me on Facebook.  Right away I knew a return trip to Costa Rica would happen.  I asked Mau if he could find a mural for me to paint.

He found two.

Mau is a minister in Costa Rica.  His church planned a mission trip to help out at an orphanage in Nicaragua and I was invited to join them.

I'd been to Nicaragua before.  Well, actually, I stepped over the border of Nicaragua before.  With an American passport during the days of the Sandinistas, that was as far as I was allowed to get.  It was a bit unnerving to see machine gun toting soldiers all over the border and posters that read, "Conquer Peace".  I certainly hoped that things had changed as I planned my second border crossing.

And, it certainly was a different world.  The border crossing had no machine gun toting soldiers (at least I didn't see any) and there were no signs about conquering anything.  There was, however, duty free shopping, souvenir shops, and a lot of hammocks for sale.  It's my observation that if you want a typical Nicaraguan souvenir, you get yourself a hammock.

San Jose, Costa Rica, is in the mountains with a cooler climate.  The bus to the border was air conditioned.  So, the first thing I really noticed about Nicaragua was the heat.  I never stopped noticing it.  There was no way to not notice wet hair and t-shirt sticking to my skin by eight thirty in the morning as I walked from the orphanage grounds to the school campus.  It wasn't a long walk, and it was their winter season!  Upon arrival I was always drenched in sweat.

The teachers in the two classrooms getting murals at the orphanage run school were not picky.  They didn't care what they had painted on the walls.  They were simply thrilled to get murals.  So, the teacher in me took over and I suggested a number chart and an alphabet chart.  They loved the suggestion and I knew where to get the art.  Most of it had already been drawn for my website.  I just had to do a little rearranging.  The number chart was by far, no competition, hands down, the most complicated mural I've ever designed.  And, I loved it.