Sunday, May 3, 2015

Lauren’s blog

Last Friday marked the turn of Empowerment to host Action Friday where half of the ICS Bolivia team joined us for the afternoon for a taste of life on our wonderful project. After much deliberation we decided to focus our efforts on Pampahasi Alto Children’s Centre, a centre sponsored by ChildFund in the North East of the city where children aged eight to eleven attend extra-curricular educational sessions. A visit to the centre revealed a slightly derelict looking yard with a fading mural and crumbling wall; the bland area needed a makeover in order to create a more positive and friendly atmosphere for the children. We decided to design the space in line with several of the issues we are focusing on in the centres- recycling, valuing nature and the environment, and nutrition and healthy living. Collectively we planned a wildlife mural, plants and hanging baskets made from recycled materials growing herbs, recycled bottle top art and a football pitch design.

 Pampahasi Alto Children's Centre

Tuesday morning arrived and little did we know what we were letting ourselves in for as we began the task of plastering the large wall for our mural. Armed with a predominantly non-existent knowledge of cement and some wooden trowels with newspaper handles proudly made by myself the process was a long one. Despite leaving the centre on Wednesday rather wet (what happened to the dry season?) with cement encrusted hands (the trowels weren’t as effective as anticipated…), much had been learnt and our hard work as a team paid off. Thursday comprised of painting our lovingly plastered wall white, a lot more rain and me being covered in paint splodges from head to toe. 

 Ruby, Ali, Dom and Vince having fun cementing 

With a little help from one of the arty zebras I spent Friday morning drawing our mural design on the wall. The final design encompassed the Bolivian flag surrounded by vines and flowers to promote love of the country and its natural beauty, a dream tree and wish tree for the children’s ideas, lots of flowers and insects and a few inspirational quotes. In the afternoon the rest of the volunteers arrived and we set about painting the mural, decorating tyres for our garden and creating the football pitch. 

 Our team hard at work

Me and my ladybird 

Everyone worked incredibly hard and did a fantastic job of painting whilst I tried hard not to be too bossy and tell people off for painting things the wrong colour…! Although we only had a few hours to get started on it, the afternoon was a huge success with a great atmosphere and everyone pulling together to create something really amazing looking! The second half of our Action Friday is in two weeks where we will finish the mural and our garden area.  

Action Friday team

All in all the week was a great one, by the end of it I felt incredibly proud of what we had collectively achieved. It demonstrated the importance of team work and that when we work hard and help each other we can make a real difference. The ICS slogan encourages us to ‘challenge yourself to change the world’ and while the changes we make may only seem small, over time the small things add up and sometimes they can change communities, cities and maybe even the world. 

Zebra Kate and I with our design at the end of the afternoon

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