When we were planning our trip to Manenberg, Felicia gave us the task to paint a mural. This was an awesome idea and it was made even better because Jamie had done a mural in the past. There were no details about how large the mural wall was or what was to go on it. When we were initially driving up to Manenberg, there was a large white wall (114 feet long)with only a heart in the middle. We joked about how large the wall was and how it would be the wall that we would have to paint a mural on...turns out it was that wall.
Luckily, Owens has connections everywhere and we were blessed with her niece Fatou’s presence. She lives in Rwanda and does not often see family, so this was a perfect opportunity! It also helps that the room we were staying in had 6 beds and plenty of room to accommodate her for a long weekend. She helped with the mural, the children, and our morale immensely.
We first needed to paint the entire wall white because it looked a bit weathered. The kids were interested in the painting process, to say the least. At first it began in a well organized way, but soon there was paint everywhere. At one point I looked around and there were two younger boys shirtless and covered in paint. Oh well, the wall got painted white (for the most part) and the kids had fun. It was their wall after all, not ours!
After we went through 20 gallons of white paint, it was time for our first community tour. Uncle Cyril, who runs the SHAWCO program at Manenberg, wanted to show us around the township to educate us about what really happens in the neighborhood. We began with walking around through playgrounds and seeing children that we had not seen before! We met families and spoke with older adults in the area. I heard many different languages and everyone seemed to know and communicate with everyone else. We met an 11 year old boy who was able to speak 5 languages already. We learned more about the housing planning and development aspect of the Township which was informative and lead to a slew of many more questions. This was only part one of the community tour and we would finish the following week.
In the evening, we went to our favorite Cocoa Wah Wah to see Prince and to get the half off pasta special. Another one of Maxwell’s friends, Wolfi from his year in Cape Town was visiting from Munich, Germany. I spent last Christmas with Wolfi as well! Dinner was great and another cross cultural experience between Fatou living in Rwanda, Wolfi living in Germany, the four of us living in America, and all of us spending time and experiencing South Africa. I’m thankful for the people I know.
(Owens, Prince, Brent, Jamie, myself, and Wolfi)