Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fifth Day at Manenberg: Painting (12/15/14)

After a relaxing weekend, we were ready to head back to the school. Because the 20 gallon bucket of white paint was not enough, Fatou suggested we get spray paint. Our problem was the cracks in between the bricks and we decided to spray them rather than meticulously paint them. We stopped at a store along the way and bought enough colored spray paint for 4 of these huge walls and not enough white spray paint. Alas, we worked with what we had. We spent the day perfecting the wall as best we could with white paint.
While painting with the children, it got messy once again. When I was working at the hand-washing bucket, one young boy was very aggressive. He was splashing water all over the place, including on younger children. He also put the towels that kids were using to dry their hands into the water bucket, thus making them useless for their intended purpose. When I asked him to reconsider his behavior and to stop the choices that he was making, he responded with a “fuck you!”. I was floored! This 7 year old just said that? With many smaller children around? He continued to scream, “Fuck you!” and “Fuck off” to me in total about 10 times. I told Felicia and Sharnay who then told Uncle Cyril. His punishment was that he had to leave the school grounds and was not allowed to help paint anymore.
We had been told by Felicia and Sharnay that the children have been getting progressively more disrespectful. They are slowly losing their respect for the elders- even the upper aged teenagers. Owens also began to remember that the last time that she was there in 2012, she worked hard over the 6 weeks to instill more manners. I hope that the children began to realize that disrespect and being rude will get them nowhere in life.
Then we went and made a mock-up design of what we all wanted the wall to look like. We had Felicia, Sharnay, and some other older girls help with the design, because again, it is not our wall. Luckily Fatou is an urban designer and has some artistic abilities. We decided on a Nelson Mandela quote, flowers with South Africa flags as their center faces, and a rainbow and stars surrounding the heart that was already there. We ended the the day with a big (roughly 114 feet) task to complete the following day.
It was Fatou’s last day in town and she needed to leave around 6:00pm that evening so we had an early dinner at a delicious Thai cafe. We enjoyed her company immensely and we grateful that have her there. Her help with the wall was more than we could have asked for and it was nice to meet some of Owen’s family too!

Again, we stayed in that night to read “Long Walk to Freedom” until we fell asleep. It didn’t take me more than 2 chapters.

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