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The Boy who painted with blood
(by Marilee Pierce Dunker  5/18/2017)

While I was in the Philippines I had the privilege of meeting many amazing and influential people who were once sponsored through World Vision. But the story of Elito Circa...also know to the world of folk art as "Amangpintor, the man who paints with human hair and blood"...was particularly memorable.

Elito was the youngest of seven children and his family was forced to leave their traditional tribal home when the government flooded their valley to create a dam. His family struggled after the move and he grew up very poor. He began painting at the age of ten and because he could not afford to buy brushes or paint, he used his own hair to make a brush and he used only three basic colors that he could create from nature. For red he used his own blood. According to Wikipedia he is noted today as the "First Hair and Blood Painter" of his generation and is considered a father of Contemporary Indigenous Philippine Art (Indigenouism).

Of course, I did not know any of this when Elito approached me with his gift. "He painted this just for you," one of our staff explained and as I looked at the two street children trying their best to do their school lessons I was moved because I knew I was looking at Elito's own story. I also knew this was no amateur painting, but still I had no idea who he was, so I asked him to write his name on the back.

Not only did Elito sign the painting and write his personal information on the back, but he also included the names of his World Vision sponsors, Cynthia and Leigh Brown from Perth, Australia. To my joy I have discovered that Elito honors his sponsors in every public telling of his life story, letting people know that this generous couple not only sponsored him, but they also sent him to the Central Luzon State University where he graduated with a degree in Elementary Education.

The Browns let their hearts be broken by the need of a little boy on a WV sponsorship folder and they faithfully invested in his life through their generosity, love and prayers.

It was an excellent investment. And I have the painting to prove it!

Written by Marilee Pierce Dunker
World Vision International Ambassador
May 18, 2017


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