meet the peace corps: mary feels different.

8 Jan
of course mary brought her medical scrubs to ethiopia.

of course mary brought her medical scrubs to ethiopia.

october 21, 2012

mary’s illustrations finally go out in their (almost) polished form.

sometime last january, mary pitched to the group a children’s book that she had written. she was looking for an illustrator, and well, i was bored, and needed a creative outlet.

posted below is that book (with a few artistic revisions from the one that is going to print sometime soon). its intention is to give new volunteers something to share with children in their community, whilst teaching the little bastards in this country that yelling racially inspired names at anyone who looks different is f—ing rude. as you can tell i love children…

regardless, the book was not my idea, nor did i write it. it was all mary. all i did was illustrate it. so kudos should go to mary for this project. in fact, other than illustrating it, all i did was drag the deadline back over and over again, as i took forever finishing the drawings. i’m so glad i got the chance to work on this with mary, partially because i hadn’t yet had a chance to get to know her, and now that i have, she has taken her rightful place as one of my peace corps favorites (we even did a favorite album music swap, and now one of her favorites is one of my own – check it out after the jump).

mary is possibly the feistiest person i’ve ever met.

my first real mary moment came at the end of pre-service training, when a few of us were playing pick-up basketball against some habesha kids. while most of us were huffing and puffing, lamenting our descent into old age, mary was shining glass, boxing out, and throwing some vicious elbows. i’m not sure any of us saw it coming, because normally mary carries herself with a very laid back, almost reserved posture (almost), while she repeatedly adjusts her glasses and gushes over obscure medical trivia. she now writes the medical minute segment for the ishi bekka chronicle. she’s just about as proud as anyone i’ve ever met of being from detroit, and isn’t shy to brag about it at about a hundred words per second through the biggest smile i’ve ever seen. during a game of two truths and a lie, one of her truths was that she had once been fired from a job as a rape hotline operator because she was too perky.

i love that story.

it’s not just hilarious, it’s so perfectly mary. she’s caring enough to be an outreach counselor, and tough enough to do it as a rape hotline operator, but she’s unabashedly happy to be wherever she is, even if it is the rape hotline… or under the hoop slamming her elbow into your chest because you’re blocking the lane.

but working on mary’s book wasn’t just a good chance to get to know mary. i also needed a little fuel to fire my creative juices once again. i was getting a little dusty and out of practice. the result is that this book represents a slow return to form for me, as i dusted off my skills with art as actual work. the style is intended to be a childish adaptation of the work of an artist named “ben” whose work can be found in various high end establishments in addis, and is something between picasso and american street art. interestingly enough, while his style has such a unique and modern look to it, shows a clear evolution of the traditional ethiopian style of painting with bright colors, hard lines, geometric shapes, and simple, delineated shading.

we’ve briefly tossed around the idea of funding the printing of the book by selling it tom’s shoes style (purchasing one copy of the book pays to print two, and the second goes out to a PC community). if that happens in the next seven months, i’ll let you all know. until then, now that you’ve me mary through my writing, meet her through her own, though she will tell you through a devious smile that this book is entirely fictional of course.

without further ado, enjoy feeling different

* * * *

stay tuned for our next episode:

coach to india, only way to travel!

*    *    *    *Some Devil

easy listening: dave matthews : some devil


One Response to “meet the peace corps: mary feels different.”

  1. Habesha Child 03/12/2013 at 3:10pm #

    I love it! I have an Ethiopian kid, and I’m a whitey. :-) Would so love to read this story to her and show her the pictures.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: