Sometimes projects just come together in beautiful ways.
With Susie’s careful planning the Chrysalis Girls Club had a full unit on HIV/AIDS. The girls got the facts about the disease as well as the realities of how the pandemic is affecting their country and even their little village. According to the municipality and our clinic, 1 in 4 people in our area is HIV positive. The girls also beaded AIDS ribbon key chains and wrote essays on how to remain HIV negative by using one of the country’s main messages of prevention, the ABCs: Abstinence, Be Faithful, Condomize.
As a culminating project Susie thought it would be fun to paint an HIV awareness mural on the school. To do this the plan was to have the grade 7 girls draft possible messages and images that could go into the mural, to take those messages to the secondary school to solicit help from learners who were interested in exercising their artistic talents by turning the girls’ ideas into a coherent mural design, and then to sketch them in pencil on the wall, itself, finally having the grade 7 girls fill in the mural with color.
This process on Susie’s original schedule was to take all of two weeks. The actual mural project is just being completed and took many, many weeks, but it happened just as planned. Given the fact that it took “a little longer than initially thought,” I was happy to help out.
The wall before the work, learner positioned so that we knew how tall to make the mural.
Before the paint the girls thoroughly washed the wall and then it was sanded.
Susie painting the primer boarder. The primer was not water based and was truly a pain to clean with limited supplies.
The girls painted our base colors over the primer, blue for the sky and brown for the sandy soil.
Our four Majadibodu Secondary artists learning how to expand a drawing using a proportional grid placed over their image and then drawn on the wall. Ah got to love the math connections here.
The boys doing their fabulous sketch work.
As the boys were finishing their sketch we had the girls come in to start putting in the color. All of the pencil lines were eventually redone with black paint and a small brush.
Stroke by stroke the wall came into its own as the girls painted away. Often there were other learners who came to watch the progress.
In the end the school went all out with their decorations. They dubbed this HIV/AIDS corner and placed tires filled with small plants in front of the wall and painted them with AIDS ribbons to match.
When the girls were done I spent countless hours touching up and in the end there were only a few extras to add. One was the names of the four learners from Majadibodu.
The second was to give honor to the Girls Club itself. (From Suz: The butterfly and signature on the wall looks EXACTLY like our Chrysalis Girls Club logo, font and all! Ben really outdid himself).
The mural can be seen from quite a distance and livens up the school and its surroundings. It was fun to do and wonderful to involve so many different people in the project. My biggest joy was in all of the conversations about HIV/AIDS that came about as I spent the hours on the wall. If for no other reason this project truly was worthwhile.
From AIDS Mural
P.S. I have two titles for this mural. I call it either, “Many Hours with a Small Brush” or “Giants in the Village.”