The pavement stops before you arrive to the small beach towns in the area where we are currently living, and bumpy dirt roads wind their way to the coast. Most people who are from here or live here full-time are used to dogs lounging in the street, monkeys occasionally scurrying to a tree on the other side of the road, moms riding their bikes with a kid or two balanced on the handlebars, and people walking to the store or beach. It is generally a slow pace, and the potholes and obstacles usually keep people from driving too fast. But recently, with the influx of tourism and especially during holidays, many people come from the inland cities or from other countries where they are used to speeding on the highway every day, and they drive that way here. A few pets were killed by hit and run drivers, one of which was a rescued dog that had just been nursed back to health and was scheduled to be flown to the U.S. by his new adopted family just days after he was killed. This story and others had the community talking about what we could do to prevent speeding and dangerous driving in the area. Road signs were suggested and since we love creating visual messages, we volunteered to organize a community sign painting event!
Luckily we had lots of spare driftwood boards to use, and received a donation of recycled wood from a neighbor. We prepped the boards with a coat of white paint, and planned out some lettering and symbols to use. Many people from the community came to help make signs, and we had some pretty funny messages painted that are sure to catch people’s eye as they pass and remind them to slow down. Lots of children participated, painting dogs and cats, and spelling out in shaky lettering “despacio” (“slow” in Spanish) on their signs. We even had enough wood to make some signs for the beach, reminding visitors to take their trash with them, and recycle.
It felt great to use our art skills to help the Playa Junquillal community and get others involved in creative projects. After this experience we hope to organize more creative events or art classes for kids in the future, possibly inspiring some artists in the next generation! We really hope this sign painting effort will have a positive impact on the community and potentially save some pets’ lives. Thanks to everyone who came to help!!
Check out our photos from the event below.