October 8th 2012
Today felt quieter and a bit slower than yesterday. Compared to the furious cement mixing we did yesterday to finish building the supporting pillars of the library, today’s work of painting classrooms and mending old, broken desks almost felt anti-climactic, and some of us felt a bit let down with our own efforts that day.
Having said this, we realize that this is just a different, more technical type of work which is just as needed as the brute-force, quick-results-yielding work of helping erect a building. Our bodies also needed to slow down and catch up a bit, so it was the right kind of work to do on our fourth day. Some of us also appreciated painting because it gave us an opportunity to spend a bit of quiet time with ourselves and reflect on this wonderful and intense experience that is being here.
Quiet time didn’t last long, however, because towards the afternoon a bunch of local school kids came in and wanted to help us paint. Very quickly the rooms were filled with cheerful noise, laughter, and positive energy. It is a wonderful thing to see the children come out of their shells and start interacting with us. It’s also fantastic to see them want to participate in the process of renovating their own school – this gives us hope that the work we are doing here now will be sustained in the future.
At the end of the day I took a walk around the classrooms and was surprised to see how different they looked now – it is amazing what a lick of paint can do to brighten these rooms. They now look like real children’s classrooms and not like grim, gloomy storage spaces. It was a good day’s work.