Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Today an HONOR was bestowed!!

Monday was spent coordinating and booking reservations for our trip back to the US and then on to Ecuador.  Since we will be going back to Colville, WA on May 1, then on to northern CA for our grandson's high school graduation, then down to southern CA to visit Mike's 95 yr old uncle, then to Chicago to visit family, then on to CT for our other grandson's high school graduation, and, finally culminating with our department July 6th to Guayaquil, Ecuador, it takes allot of patience to research flights, hotels, and rental cars. But it's all under control!!

Tuesday was dentist day for me.  My 2nd visit of 3.  It looks like next Monday will be the final visit for both of us, if all goes as planned.

Today, Mike & I, took our first visit over to Sarchi, the artisans capital of this beautiful country!!  This is where gorgeous woodworkers carve their craft into stunning pieces of furniture and wood carvings.  Sarchi is only 7km from Grecia and it was an easy and cheap, $1.30 round trip for both of us, through the valleys and ridges surrounding the whole Central Valley.


Included in that craft is the making of Ox Carts decorated beyond description!  Truly BEYOND description!!  In the center square of town (El Centro), is always a park and a cathedral.

Sarchi is no different EXCEPT that it displays the World's Largest Ox Cart that is hand painted to perfection in the old world style here where it originated.  The cart was built in 2006 specifically for the purpose of getting the town into the Guinness Book of World Records.



After doing some gift shopping and having a fabulous lunch overlooking a valley, we made our way up to try and find Taller Eloy Alfaro a/k/a in town as "Don Lolo".  This wood manufacturing shop was established in 1923 and uses some of the original machinery used back in the late 19th century at a local shop. Here they not only create the pieces but they also hand paint many of them.


This is where we came upon Junio quietly painting a beautiful green (verde) cart to the side of the painting area.  Mike & I had separated ourselves from the tour that was being given because it was all in French, so we just meandered over to enjoy and admire his work. Amazing precision, stable hands, and gorgeous patterns.

This is Junio!!!

He began to speak with us and Mike, of course, conversed back a whole lot more than me but I didn't do terrible.  Mike did a great job on translating what I wanted to say correctly! Thanks, Mike, you're a gem!  Anyway, Junio showed us in the shop brochure that it was him that was the painter for the Ox Cart in the square.  Wow!!  That was such a great chance to meet him.

The conversation began to get more personal and a connection was really being made with him. He then showed us a beautifully hand carved wooden statue of a coffee farmer. He told us it was carved by a good friend of his 40 years ago. And, then, he presented it to Mike as a gift.

I can't even begin to describe the feelings we both were having!! Let's just say that our first reaction was to tell him it was too much of a gift to give to "new" friends but then realized how rude it would be to NOT accept. So...we cried, we choked, we hugged, we put our hands over our hearts and bowed, and just were astonished!! All of the other painters were watching us and the interaction with huge smiles on their faces.  We were HONORED to say the least!!!!!! 

Mike has decided that he will take Junio a glass art necklace that he made while spending the day with our friend, Mike Anderson, in WA. Hopefully, this will be a small gesture to show how truly honored we were!!

So that was our special day and don't know if we're going to be able to top this one ever!!

Pura Vida, mi amigos & amigas!!!
(Pure Life, my friends!!)

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