Malcolm and I met this girl on our way to visit the P
Buckley Moss Society's English Program in the elementary school on Isla
Carenero. Soon this little friend will be starting school and benefiting
from the opportunity we provide for the Indian children to learn our
Pat on a visit to the Society's English program. On Pat's left is
Virginia Vasquez who, together with Malcolm, started the program four
When Malcolm and Virginia started this program four years ago with the
encouragement of the Board of the Society, the Indian children did not
have ambitions beyond growing up to be fishermen or have babies. With
the fish fast disappearing and the Indian population growing much too
rapidly, neither ambition was ideal. At the least we wanted to give
them the chance to learn English and from there get a job in the fast
growing tourist industry.
In our recent graduation class the revised ambitions included being
a teacher (the most popular because they so admire Virginia), a girl
who wants to be a veterinarian, a boy with sights set on being a pilot
for our local commuter airline, some nurses, and a lawyer. We tell them
that their ambitions are possible but will take a great deal of discipline
Our program has attracted the interest of the Government and has been
incorporated into the official program for our school and for a shool
on a nearby island. Virginia has been asked to plan the expansion of
the program to more distant islands and to help her, the government
is providing two English teachers. All in all, you who are members of
the Society, have contributed to a brighter future for some very precious
The first half of my three week stay has been very productive. I love
my air-conditioned studio with its balcony overlooking the main street.
As I paint, I listen to books on tape and when I need to stretch my
back, I walk onto the balcony and watch the Bocas world go by. Malcolm
is in the room next door keeping in touch with our staff back home via
the Internet and sending back photos of my work in progress. I recently
completed a painting of the Pentagon and I am working on another of
VMI and one of Roanoke College (both in Virginia). One of my favorites
is a scene of a log cabin by a river. Well, you will have to be patient
and wait and see them when they come out in print.
For those of you in the weight challenge: There is not
much more than a month to go to the deadline. I have five pounds more
to go and so I am stepping up my efforts but also banking on loosing
pounds when I walk the Roman road in the mountains of Tuscany next month.
I will be leaving for Italy immediately after the Iowa Collectors'
Until next week then,
Available on Tearsheet #5 in early June.