This year for my birthday, I want to raise money for a cause that is very special to me. SO if you ever wanted to buy any of my work, now is the time! If you donate $60 dollars or more, you can chose a print from one of the three following illustrations at 8.5x11 which I will ship anywhere in the United States! I did all of this work while traveling last year. ALL proceeds will be going to my friend Ester and her children in Bali. Please read the story for the fundraiser below:
A year and a half ago, I arrived in Bali alone. I was pretty nervous and emotionally drained from months of traveling.
Then I met Claudina. We were on the same flight from Amsterdam to Denpasar. I think she could tell that I was overwhelmed because she warmly chatted with me. Claudina told me that she had been traveling to Bali for many years to work at an orphanage. She was planning to celebrate her upcoming birthday with the children by bringing clothing and preparing excursions, meals, and festivities. When we arrived in Denpasar, we exchanged contact information and she invited me to the celebration.
Two weeks later, I hopped on the back of a friends motorbike with a backpack full of art supplies and drove 45 minutes from Ubud to Denpasar. I was a little nervous because of the language barrier and because I'm just a generally nervous person but the moment I arrived, I knew that I had met some very important people. Claudina introduced me to the kids who ranged from infancy to adulthood. They were unbelievably kind to each other. Two boys had just arrived the day before and the older girls were already treating them as though they had grown up together their entire lives—teasing them and caring for them like older sisters. We painted portraits of each other on the floor as we celebrated Claudinas birthday. Paint was everywhere - on our skin, on our clothing, on the walls, but nobody cared. It was pure fun.
After the party, I stayed and talked with Claudina and Ester—the founder. Ester was orphaned herself as a young girl after her mother could no longer care for her. After she left the orphanage, she began taking in children. When her house became too full, she organized homes around her neighborhood that were willing to help care for the kids. Finally, she saved up enough money to start Elisama Orphanage, where the children live today. Ester still pays for most of the childrens' needs out of pocket. She cares for all of them as though they were her own—they are her own.
Two days later, I met them at the beach. We swam in the rain all day and after, went back to the house for snacks. That day will forever be in my memory—they shared everything with me and asked for nothing. I have never seen such wisdom in young people. It was a very humbling moment.
Traveling alone as a woman is not always easy, but the most important thing that I have learned along the way is just how many incredibly strong women there are in this world - from the older girls taking care of the younger children, to Ester and Claudina taking care of each other, I felt so empowered in the presence of such love and strength. So this year for my birthday, please consider helping me raise money for Ester and all of her kids. We need to support people that are doing real good in this world. Ester has to raise money right now for their rent and for the children's education. If you want to support my art, please consider supporting my friends!