A Heifer International Tour of Lithuania & Latvia, in Pastel
Heifer International offers a number of "Study Tours" to the various countries around the world where they have programs in operation. In July of 2008 I went with a close friend, and fourteen other people from the United States, to Vilnius, Lithuania, where the tour began. Each day included a visit to several of the small farms where Heifer had provided cows, goats, sheep or beehives to a number of families in the vicinity. We were warmly received by these communities of small farmers, shown around the farm, often invited into the very small farmhouses, and almost always given an outdoor banquet of their homemade foods. It was an emotional experience that left me with an even higher regard for the work Heifer does, and how they do it.
Each day of the twelve-day trip, we not only visited farms all over Lithuania and part of Latvia, but were also taken to many of the important historic sites. We spent three days in the capital cities of Riga, Latvia, and Vilnius, Lithuania, receiving a wonderful overview of the history of both countries which have only been out from under Soviet rule for sixteen years. It was so moving to speak with people who had been sent to Siberia as children and now were finally able to live back on the land that had been in their family for years. Heifer is helping them regain the farming skills and knowledge that were lost during the 50 years of Soviet occupation.
The paintings are done in pastel from the many digital photographs I took on the trip. I chose subjects to represent an overview of the experience with animals, people, farms, and sightseeing.
Please note: Marcia is donating 25% of her profits from sales from this exhibit to Heifer International.