mi prima, Rosa.
I met Rosa for the first time in August. The family had gathered from all across the continent to celebrate the life of our beloved Aunt Helen who passed earlier in the year.
Rosa was adopted by my relatives, Jamie and Peter Terrell. I had heard the story of how my cousin Rosa came to live with the Terrells and was excited for the chance to finally be introduced. From the moment I met her, she amazed me; as someone who had been through so much pain and injustice in her childhood, Rosa was the brightest, most spirited person in the room. Although neither of us spoke the same language, we sat down at the table and began to work on some coloring books together.
Due to an accident Rosa lacks both hands to work with so she uses her mouth to color and draw. The finished piece she gave to me was detailed, vibrant, and frankly astounding. I was so struck by Rosa's creativity, positive attitude, and passion for art that when she asked for me to teach her, of course I couldn't say no.
(i still need to learn spanish.)
Rosa was born into a Tzotzil de Chamula Mayan Indian family from Nachic Chiapas, Mexico, in April 1994. Her father worked for coffee plantations and they moved often through the harvest season. Eventually both of her parents died of alcoholism so by age 12, Rosa was orphaned.
The eldest sister, 13 years old, was now in charge of her four younger sisters including Rosa. Finding it difficult to take care of her with several epileptic attacks a day and cerebral palsy, she decided to tell the police that Rosa stole money so they would take her away. Rosa ended up in a local jail with no one to bring her food.
The jail is open to the street so the women of the community saw she had epileptic attacks. Because she was an innocent handicapped child, they complained to the authorities who let her out of jail after a few weeks. After that, Rosa became a beggar on the street in the village.
One day a kind lady invited Rosa to her home to eat and asked Rosa to tend the fire in the kitchen while she went to grind corn for tortillas. Upon returning from the mill she found Rosa, passed out from an epileptic attack, in the fire burning in the hot coals. She pulled Rosa out and sent her back to the street, as she had no money to pay for her medical expenses.
Three weeks later a nurse visiting the village saw Rosa, who now had gangrene infection in her charred arm, and called the Red Cross. On the day that doctors amputated Rosa's arm, Jamie Terrell was visiting her future son-in-law at the hospital, and heard about Rosa's situation.
Peter and Jamie Terrell live in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas Mexico, and have been working with Indian communities for over 30 years. For two years Peter and Jamie had been praying for a chance to adopt a child who did not have anybody who wanted him/her. So the Terrells asked permission to take Rosa home. Two years later they had all the legal papers and Rosa was adopted!
For three years all communication with Rosa had to be done through a translator who spoke Rosa's native language until she learned Spanish. Since she lost her mom and dad, she has also lost two brothers to alcoholism. Rosa is social, fun loving, usually very happy and a grateful 23 year old kid who is developmentally near ten years old. She wants to learn to draw and paint and currently has to use her mouth to hold the brush or pens. So that's where I come in. For two months next summer I will live in Chiapas with the Terrells, and my primary goal is to get Rosa the tools and education she needs to achieve her dream.
There are currently TWO WAYS you can help us out. One is by donating to our GoFundMe, or even just sharing it on Facebook! Even if you can't afford to donate, just spreading the word about Rosa's story will help us reach our goal faster.
The other way you can help is by attending (or even just purchasing the ticket to) my show in January, where I will be fundraising for the trip and Rosa's art supplies. The show is on Wednesday, January 24th at the Mansion Costa Mesa, CA. It is a fabulous showcase of multiple artists and this year I have been invited to attend. Not only do I get the opportunity to show my work, but also the donations I collect and proceeds from my ticket sales will go to Rosa's fund.
>>> buyyyyy tickets <<<3
Here's how it works. Once I sell 20 tickets, I get into the event for free. This is a huge chance for me, a starving artist, to spread the word about my cause while getting to promote my work. For every ticket sold after 20, $10 is credited back to me and that's an awesome bonus to throw on top of whatever donations I collect while I'm there! So there is a lot of fundraising potential here!! Even if you don't plan to attend, every ticket counts! At only $22 per ticket, consider it a holiday donation to a local artist, and a tiny investment in the future of the arts.