Recently my school was approached by the local hospital and asked to help with a project the hospital was working on. The hospital had applied for a grant from CHAI, Clinton Health Access Initiative. The grant committee was asking local hospitals and clinics to write a proposal about how they would make their ART (Anti-retroviral Therapy) rooms and counseling rooms more kid friendly and welcoming. Our local hospital decided they wanted to paint the walls of the therapy and counseling rooms with different African animals to make them friendly and warm for children. This is where my school comes in. The hospital contacted my school and asked if they could work out a deal to have the students paint the rooms and in return the hospital would buy the school some art supplies.
This past Saturday we took 11 students, one teacher, myself and another PCV (one with artistic talents) to the hospital to start the painting. It was a great day! The kids were enjoying the project. They were creative and contributing ideas for the different paintings that were happening. We painted elephants, giraffes and zebras and next week get to go back for more. All of the completed paintings turned out great! I was so excited to see all of the effort and attention to detail that the students were putting in to the project.
My personal success of the day is that I was able to interpret between the students and the other volunteers. My sign language has improved greatly over the last few months. I don’t realize how much I’ve learned until I need to interpret for someone. There are still times that I don’t know a sign and have to ask for it to be finger-spelled or I have to finger-spell something myself but those times are becoming fewer and fewer. I will be curious to see where my sign language ability is at when I make it to the one-year mark. I hope the finger-spelling has decreased to next to nothing.
The pictures I included are of some of the animals that were painted at the hospital. What do you think? Would you feel comfortable in this counseling or therapy room as a child?