Barb Sihota, a primary school teacher in Richmond, BC, Canada started hatching this model of peace not fully realizing the impact on so many.
inspired her to create this project. ”Invited to share in Chris and Cindy’s twentieth wedding anniver- sary in Mexico I wondered what do we get as a gift?”
I work in a grade three class with a teacher that was very flexible with project work and since Cindy is a fan of hearts I wanted to give her hearts. I saw a wall of hearts in a magazine and the light went on in my head that was what I was going to do; have the children make a heart.
The heart done by the student who did the Mexican flag is everyone’s favourite! That student painted to the tune of his own drum and did not follow instructions! Who can curb an artist to change his ways! Lol. The children loved the idea and their mission was to have Cindy cry tears of joy and amazement! (It worked!)
We had discussions around giving someone memories, what love means to them, doing some- thing for someone even if you don’t personally know them. They were very particular, careful, patient and focused while painting; on a mission to make it their best artwork ever. The kids love that they are truly international artists now! They are excited about the artwork hanging in the lobby of a hotel, but I think unaware of the honour that this is.”
Fast forward to this year and Barb and her friend Fiona, who now resides a major portion of the year in La Cruz and teaches English at the local school, created what I call a mission of Love and Peace, between the school in Richmond and the one in La Cruz.
Barb worked with her students ‘back home’ and brought their artwork and hung it on the school wall here. Then she brought all the materials for the children here to do the same, taking those artworks back to Richmond. She enrolled many of us to help, which was such a pleasure. The rockstar of the day… other than the children and of course Barb, was ten-year-old Diego who I asked to assist trans- late what Barb was teaching. We couldn’t have done it without him.
Barb’s overriding goal was peace, “Working to bridge a cultural gap and build an awareness of other countries other than Canada and their own little community of Richmond. To teach our Canadian children, both born and recent immigrants, that there are other children that are not as fortunate as they are and to be aware of the global community and not just their immediate surroundings. Building peace through h’art pals (kinda like a penpal).”
I received the ultimate compliment, which is so humbling “To think it all started out of a place of love in the heart of Cindy. Your inspiration and ability to bring people together makes this a perfect bridge between two little schools. You never know. Perhaps the idea will spread further and more kids will be brought together by h’art!!!”
Thanks to Barb and the team she brought together! For the longer version of this story please check our blog; www.villaamordelmar.com/blog.
Cindy Bouchard, an expat Canadian runs a Boutique Inn, Villa Amor del Mar in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. She and her husband Chris are living and lovin’ in Vallarta–Nayarit. If you want more info on La Cruz or desire… A very special vacation contact cindy@VillaAmordelMar.com