Painting The Nursery - Maud's Journey pt. 3

Three of us volunteers painted a township nursery. We worked on it for three mornings, but it was a lot of work, so it isn’t finished. The nursery is a house made of corrugated iron. My volunteering work is in a colorful crèche, which I think makes children happy – so we wanted the nursery to be colourful as well.

We decided on blue, but the corrugated iron made it quite difficult to paint! The nursery supervisor wanted a mother and baby painted on the wall of her house, so we came up with an easy and nice-looking logo. I drew it on the wall and we painted it, complete with flowers. It came out beautifully, and the nursery supervisor was very pleased.

Last week we had had a get-together with some of the teenage girls from the township, aged around 13 to 17 years old. The idea was that the girls would be able to talk about their personal and general life issues. We started off in a relaxed way with games and chat about lighter topics, so that the girls would feel comfortable talking about more personal issues, knowing that they could trust us. There were eleven girls in total. I was surprised that some of them looked a lot older than their thirteen years - when I was thirteen I looked younger! They were giggling a lot and I think they were a bit nervous.

After introductions, we played a game where they had to write three things about themselves - two true and one false. The other girls had to decide which of the things was false. This is a great way to get to know each other better. We then discussed their expectations about the meetings, and the rules about the meetings that they considered important, so that they could trust us and each other. It was a great experience.

Last Thursday evening we went to the funeral of the grandmother of a man from the township. We got to see an important traditional part of township culture. It was very different to what we do in the Netherlands, as there is a lot of singing and dancing. The other girls and I were wearing long skirts, a sweater and a traditional cloth on our heads. It was very interesting although we didn’t understand anything that was said.

Before we arrived at the funeral, we were running a little late - we had a lot of questions about township funeral traditions, such as whether we would see the grandmother, what procedures there would be, and so on. We couldn’t find the place where we were supposed to be, and then the car broke down! So we had to get out, hold up our skirts and push the car. All the people in the township were very amused at the sight of white people in long skirts pushing the car!

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