I recently wrote about this drawing on the envelope of a letter from Monteverde Friends School, which is in Costa Rica.
My family and Iowa Quakers have a long history with the Monteverde community in Costa Rica. It is always good to hear news of that community. Lucky (Standing) Guindon, my mother’s cousin and constant companion during their childhood, was one of the original group who went to Monteverde and lives there today. On October 14,1950, she and Wolf Guindon had a double wedding with my mother and father at Bear Creek Meeting. In 2010 I was able to travel with Mom and Dad and my sister Lisa’s family to Monteverde so we could celebrate the 60th wedding anniversaries of both couples.
One of the deeply shared concerns of Quakers in Iowa and Costa Rica relates to work for peace. Quakers from the United States first went to Costa Rica because of the increasing militarism in the United States. Costa Rica does not have a standing army.
When I shared the blog post I wrote about the drawing on the envelope with the school, I received a nice reply from Tracey Cobb, who wrote: “I told the student how impressed you were by his drawing and he was over the moon. One of the benefits of having students draw on the envelopes is to involve them in helping their school, and your note helps me to show them that their efforts really do make a difference.”
Then yesterday I received the following comment from J. Eugenio Vargas: “Sr. Jeff, it is so great to hear that the whale picture drawn by one of our students has been of inspiration for you to share more about Monteverde Friends history and connections. Every Wednesday I feel blessed by Lucky Guindon’s presence at Meeting for worship with all school. I was also happy to scroll all way down to the last picture and see Mary Mendenhall there. She must be the same Mary M. MFS Head in early 70’s. It was Mary who included me on a list of 3 Costarrican students to receive a full scholarship in 1971 so we could attend full time school there. 43 years later I was given the opportunity to be part of the school administrative team. Another blessing for me!”
Some years ago Bill Deutsch interviewed Mary Mendenhall about her experiences in Costa Rica during the annual sessions of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative). One of the main reasons for this blog post today is to allow me to share that video with you and Monteverde Friends.