Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rótulos Milton

Well, enough about us. Let's talk about, ... well it's just us. Us, us and more us. For this, I make no appologies. The fact is, if you didn't care about us as much as you like to pretend you don't, you wouldn't be reading this. I know, I know. The title of the blog may be a little bit exagerated, since not all of our adventures are amazing, but you are, in fact, reading it. I also make no appologies for this since you, the reader, will likely have had a hot shower either sometime before reading this or will have one shortly after. By shortly I mean within five months of course.

I made an airbrush yesterday. You can't put me in a third world country, take away all my toys and tell me not to play. I built this little bruiser out of an old ink jar, a radio antanae, a bit of bamboo and a piece of tubing from a broken iron. What you can't see in the photo is that the other end of the tube is connected to my mouth, making my lungs the air compressor. The advantage of this is that I can control the air pressure with my mind instead of buttons and levers. The disadvantage is that my air compressor is encased in a broken rib (the tragic result of playing soccer in a muddy field against fast little kids who have eaten, breathed and slept soccer for their lifetimes, in a pair of plastic-soled street-purchased sandals). Every breath is agony. I am now working on some various tips to refine the spray. I am making them from tapered metal writing pen heads.

Rótulos Milton

Here is a story for you. A friend of ours, María (name changed to protect the people who have never used the internet or a computer and will never see this anyway), sells tacos. Actually, she makes tacos and her sons sell them. Lately the taco market has dropped through the dirt floor and they can barely eat. Her eighteen-year-old son is a bit of an eighteen-year-old. By this I mean that work is for other people who don't have important social lives. He was a member of our Art Club we started when we first arrived here. He has also been participating in a drawing class I have been giving and an English class. The kid has talent. He just needed some direction. Well, I helped him to start his own business. I helped him with the capital and I am overseeing the financial part and guiding him on the creative and p.r. parts. The business is that of making signs. Sounds simple enough, but this is a resource strapped country and sign making generally consists of the person in the house who knows how to write misspelling two or three words on a piece of paper with a pen, which is then glued to the front of the house. The thing is, there are so many home businesses that are unmarked because of this system. We started with a sign for his mother, which was free, to have a sample to show when looking for clients. She repairs clothes, in addition to making tacos. We decided to advertise for her.

We made the sign using used clothes (some of them may even be yours!) because it is cheaper than buying fabric. We can buy used clothing for ten to twenty-five cents U.S.$ per article. "María" now has over 2,000 córdobas of work to do (about $100, also known as enough to live on for a month or two).

With photos of this sign we moved on to other clients. More used clothes.

We have a Mill sign to make this week and a background to paint for a local photo joint. Milton is learning how to balance the expenses and the income and calculate his profit, fifty percent of which automatically goes to his mother as rent, food, etc. I am really proud of him and his work. After a couple more jobs I will step aside and let him run things.

One night while working, he brought a picture of his head and a catalog for clothes that he had cut up. he said that the body on the picture had been damaged and that he just needed a new body to save the photo. This was the only body in the catalog that was the right proportion to his head size. His intention was to have me photograph it and he would have it printed at the photo store to replace the old (skinny) one. Notice the giant sports bra behind him! He wishes! Hilarious. Enjoy this taste of Nicaragua!

1 comment:

Matt said...

forgive the cliche' but man, you never cease to amaze me. Truly. The air brush is super cool (sorry to hear about the busted rib though), and helping to get the sign business going, awesome. Once again making things here at home seem very "ordinary". (yeah, I know, it's all relative.) Nice work my friend.