Monday, July 14, 2008

Painting at CCH

Last weekend I began drawing the outline for a mural at the Centre for Children's Happiness - the orphanage rescuing children from the dump site in Phnom Penh. The drawing took about 4 hours so it seemed probable that the painting would take at least 6 hours... As the director also asked for the other rooms to be painted I reckoned it would take the best part of the day.

We began painting on Saturday morning and finished on Sunday afternoon.... a bit longer than anticipated. This was with the children and their Khmer teacher helping as well.

Buying paint here was easier than I thought - Although it was quite funny when I was told some of my paint would not be available for another 2 - 3 hours as they were not "making paint now" - It was 11.30am - so Lunch time and nothing else would get in the way of that.

The paint was expensive by Cambodian standards and so when the people in the shop asked if someone was doing the painting they were more than surprised at the response - That we would be doing it ourselves!! ...If you have just spent $60 on paint why would you not pay someone $5 to paint the room for you??!! They couldn't comprehend the western madness of DIY even after I had shown then the drawing I had prepared to paint the mural and how we were not doing standard painting!

Painting began on Saturday at midday and ended as the sun was setting at 6pm. One room was complete but the final touches to the mural and the second/third rooms had to wait until Sunday... when painting began again at 10am and finished at 4.30pm (and the third classroom did not get started)! .... I am quite tired but definitely very worthwhile especially when the younger children would come in every now and then to look and try and say some of the words.

The end result was excellent and will really help the kids learn. All this for $100/£50 - Such as small amount of money but this will cheer up the classroom and make a big difference to the new environment for the children's learning.

....I learnt how to sing "If you're happy and you know it" in Khmer but I have forgotten.


Children and their teacher paint the walls in bright colours



Some keen children were directed to paint the less tricky parts of the mural by me and did a very good job!


defying death on the scaffolding




The finished product....



A last minute request by the CCH teacher - To write "Welcome to English" on the end wall...

Here is a photo collage of the whole thing - its too big to take one photo so here are lots stuck together to get an overall impression (some small bits are missing). Its quite large - as you can see from the (small) child in the right handcorner.








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