After a lot of paint, many piles of compost, a lot of gardening and a few sore bodies later, our service projects are successfully finished! The first of the four days of projects started off a little disheartening when we couldn’t accomplish the Melkbossplaas 1 & 2 gardens, however I think that we made up for it with the successes of the other two projects.
Today was especially exciting for me because I finally got to see the service project that Isabelle and I have been working so hard on all semester come through. Before going to the school today, we were split into groups of six so that we could finish the library, and get the mural finished as well. Thinking ahead of the mural, I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t be organized, and I thought that the kids wouldn’t listen and would make the mural not look neat. However, I was extremely pleased with the way that everything went.
Tamarin would go into the classrooms and take out about ten children at a time. We had two people painting the hands, two placing them on the wall, and two helping the kids clean, sort of like an assembly line. The children were very well behaved and patient and would listen to everything that Tamarin told them to do. We had no problems, although it got a little hectic when the children had a break and were all around the mural. It was so rewarding to see their faces after they put their hand print on the wall. They were so excited that they were a part of this amazing mural. We got a few pictures from the kids that said “thank you for making my school beautiful”, which I thought was so sweet and touching that they view their school as beautiful with this new mural.
While we were painting the mural, a few of us wanted to put handprints on our shirts as well. Some of the children were shy when we would ask them to put in on our shirts. Tamarin mentioned that the kids couldn’t fathom the idea that we would actually want to ruin our clothes with the paint. I think that was an interesting cultural difference, because we can actually have these shirts that we don’t care about, so it doesn’t matter if you ruin it with paint because we have enough clothes where that wouldn’t be an issue. However some of these children don’t have these privileges and wouldn’t want to ruin their shirts. I thought this was interesting because we don’t care about material items as much because we can just go out and buy new ones. Not everyone is that fortunate though. These kids might wear these clothes more than once a week so getting paint on them would be a much bigger deal to them than it is to us.
We ended the day with some finishing touches in the library, along with some quality time with the kids. This was my favorite part of the day because it was so interesting that they were so grateful for stickers and small gifts. It was so much fun, because I talked and danced with the kids and they asked me a lot of questions. More than one person asked me if I knew Chris Brown in person, and was confused when I said I didn’t, because they figured that since we were both American we would know each other. I thought this was so cute because they really do not know a lot about other parts of the world, but were so interested to talk and play with us.
I feel so accomplished that we finally finished all of our service projects, and I am extremely proud of the way that the mural and library turned out.