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Mark Ahrens

Mixing the Waint

Kids in the schoolyard

May 28, 2013

This morning, we were up bright and early, 6:30 to shower before breakfast at 7:30. I went ahead and took a shower. 5 minutes later, Scott attempted to shower, only to find no water at all. The story was repeated at breakfast as we had no water throughout the building. Kwesi talked to the manager, offering an ultimatum that if things didn’t improve, we would start looking for a new place to stay. We will see if that helps.

After breakfast, we loaded up our luggage that had the supplies we brought with and headed to the school to start sorting. Just about the time we were done sorting at the school, the kids got a recess and suddenly, we were the center of attention. Of the 350 kids at the school, I am guessing that 150 came over to swarm us, have their pictures taken, steal my hat, etc. It was a little overwhelming but still fun to see all the kids so excited.

After their recess, it was time to get started painting. We were tackling the computer room first, which had one wall painted already. All 4 walls were going to get painted, so one group tackled the painted wall, while the rest of us took the other three. It was then we found out that the paint needed to be watered down before painting. We found out later in the afternoon, it was because we would normally whitewash the wall so it would take a coat of paint better, but there wasn’t any available at the store. That being said, the paint was all so watered down, we started calling it waint instead

Priming the walls for paint

Priming the walls for paint

After we got a couple of coats on the walls, we headed back for a late lunch. We had red-red, which was not red like it was supposed to be. It was still delicious, as were the fried plantains that are customary with red-red. We all ate very well after the hard work in the morning, then headed back for a few more hours of painting.

This time, we were tackling a room that was only getting a single color of paint. One thing I forgot to mention about the bare walls, we had to use a flat shovel to scrape the walls. We did that instead of sanding before painting. It wouldn’t be so bad, except for the tiny bits of concrete which fly everywhere, but seem to be most interested in my eyes and mouth. After lots of scraping, we got started painting. This time things went much faster. With almost everyone working on the same task, we actually knocked out a first coat on two of the classrooms. This means tomorrow, we should have both those rooms to paint, then only one more. I am guessing there is more work after that, but it felt good to make such good progress today.

Playing Frisbee in the Yard

One other thing, the kids did have another recess in the afternoon, just before we left for lunch. It was amazing watching the kids playing, especially when the Frisbee was brought out. I was a little tired, so I sat back and watched. It made me a little sad missing my boys, but also amazed that the kids Will’s age were doing the same stuff I see him and his friends doing on their playground at school. It is just inherent to all kids everywhere I think, that when you are 4-5 years old, there is a lot of running, pushing, and playing to be done. It was even crazier to think that at the same time I was watching the kids play in the afternoon, Will was having recess at his school that very moment.

When we got back to the hotel after all the work, the water was flowing well in our room. The breeze was great this afternoon and it is cooling down a little. It was a pretty darn good day.