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Painting a Colorful Education

After a short drive through the mountains and down a bumpy road, our vans arrived on site at a school in a village. Today was spent painting—a hobby I love to partake in while at home, but not a skill I outwardly share with others very often. Regardless, I was excited to begin this new project. Two things about today really stuck out to me while I was at the school. The first was when I was refilling my paint supply, and a woman approached me and asked if we would give her the empty paint buckets to use when we were finished with them. It was a humbling moment for me because something that we would be ready to throw away would be completely recycled for water storage and transportation in the village. We, of course, agreed, and she was delighted and gracious that we would give them to her. The second moment that stuck out in my mind today was when I was painting in the late afternoon. I spent my time today painting a diagram of the water cycle on a wall of a 6th grade classroom. When we were given different options about what we could tackle as our artistic project of the day, I was excited to try and capture the images from the classroom textbook and replicate them on a cinder-block wall. Though the wall was fairly smooth, it was still a challenge to balance the oil paints and water-based paints with each other, as well as to use Qtips and sticks and stiff paint brushes to make the water cycle clear and easy to read. Any and all difficulties I had after hours of sketching (and erasing) chalk drawings on the walls faded away when I saw the faces of some young women of the local village walk into the classroom and smile at our work; in that moment, I knew that what we were doing truly mattered for today, tomorrow, and for years to come. The young women were mothers, and told us how they had gone to that school when they were younger, but they didn’t have the paintings or resources that their children would have with these painted diagrams. Their praise and words of affirmation and encouragement made it all worth it. I look forward to going back to the school to finish the water cycle mural, and to do whatever I can to help the generation of tomorrow to learn and grow in an encouraging and colorful environment. 

-Kristen

I am not the most creative or artistic person in the world so naturally I was not especially excited to  go paint detailed murals for the day. As we were volunteering for different classrooms to paint, I chose to help with the grade three classroom which entailed painting different traffic signs. I was thinking these wouldn't be much work and boy was I wrong. Painting triangles and circles, as it turns out, is quite a challenge and I honestly felt quite embarrassed that I couldn't even paint simple shapes. However, as we painted today, there were several Basotho walking around peeking in the classrooms. Later in the day as we got more shapes on the wall, two Basotho women stood in the doorway and praised our work. They turned out to be mothers of some of the children who attended school there. As their face lit up with excitement, I realized that no matter the quality of the artwork, we are still able to provide resources for these children to learn and grow. Even my slightly rounded triangle can still help a child learn what a yield sign looks like. The little work we have the opportunity to do can make huge impacts on the lives of the children presently attending there and future generations as well. I’m realizing that even the smallest of gestures can make life-changing impacts on another’s life and that does not mean just here in Lesotho. Small acts of kindness can occur in everyday life that will make someone else’s day, week, month, etc better. We have to spread kindness no matter how small to help one another.

-Brooke

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