Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The mural a few more pictures...

 Third day of working on the mural, didn't work very much as we visited another center today. We progressed a little on the painting. Again, many people stopped to look and comment. In particular, one lady with her bicycle stopped to look and speak to us for at least 10 minutes, though we had no idea what she was saying we tried to communicate as best we could. She was very nice and seemed very interested in the mural.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The mural, update

Our first painting day on the mural. We have painted around half of the mural. Again today many people stopped and watched including a group of young men, an older man, and a young woman with her daughter. This time was slightly different though as I was painting with the three local volunteers from Volunteers for Peace. They were able to tell me a bit about what people were saying. Apparently the comments were that it was very nice and beautiful. It was nice to be able to hear what people thought, after all these people will probably be walking past this mural frequently it is just as much a part of their lives as the children and teachers of the center.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

painting the mural... drawing

Today we drew on the mural (actually Stacey drew it and did a great job!). Stacey copied the drawing in pencil and we went over them with permanent marker. Again many passersby paused to observe, expressing either approval or confusion at what we were doing. The director arrived at the center towards the end of the day and nodded her approval, she even gave us a thumbs up! She told us it was good and that we had "good spirits". I must say this kind of made my day.

sketching out the pictures with a pencil

Visited by a little old man who nodded his approval
The mural traced over with permanent marker (left side)

The mural traced over with permanent marker (right side) , look closely

Next step: paints! We are thinking bright yellows, pinks, red, orange, and green. looking forward to it. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Visiting Hanoi 2- the Temple of Literature

This weekend we visited more things in Hanoi. We visited the Temple of Literature which is the site of the very first university in Vietnam- needless to say this was a long time ago (though I can`t give you the exact dates). There were many students there in cap and gown with their framed diplomas with proud parents taking their pictures. The grounds of the temple were so calm and peaceful after the hussle and bussle of Hanoi. It was like a little oasis in the middle of the city.

Entrance to the Temple of Literature

animal hedges, a cousin of our Peace House rat perhaps?

Tablets for each year of doctoral graduates, each graduates name is inscibed and the tablets sit on a turtle's back


One of the many Vietnamese kings

Painting a Mural!

My mother`s lovely drawing

The wall before we started painting

My fellow volunteers and I have made a plan to paint a mural at the center. This week we had a chance to speak with the director about it. We have been assigned the outside wall, this has become our entire responsibility. A hired painter is painting the classrooms and the office (which was covered in a very interesting wall paper!). More about the painter later.  So we have begun work in earnest on our wall, and are returning to the dorms dirty, tired and covered in paint- which is great! We have three panels to paint and I have turned to my mum and sister for some artistic support. The director wanted us to paint some children so my mum came up with a really wonderful drawing for it. Sorry about the pictures being in the random order, the formating on the blog is causing me problems...

Us on the first day of painting with my friend Heo, sometimes helpful, sometimes a pain in the you know what...

The wall after the second day, progress! We decided to buy the better quality paint on the second day (which actually covers up the existing mural)
one more layer to go...

Our first day of painting, yes we are standing on a table

We began painting the wall with white paint and found it attracted many spectators who were very amused to see a bunch of white girls painting a mural in the middle of Hanoi! The other three girls I am working with: Amelie,Emily and Stacey are all very keen on the idea also, and excited about what we are going to paint. The next step is to show it to the director! I will keep you posted. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Visiting Hacau Homeless Shelter (orphanage)

Today I visited the Hacau orphange in order to donate the clothing I had brought from Canada. (The other volunteers must have thought I was a bit of a princess with all that luggage...). One of the staff of VPV gave me a ride on the back of his motorbike (a scooter really). That was an experience in and of itself. It wasn't at all scary. Although there don't seem to be any real rules of the road here, the way the traffic flows and people drive seems to be fairly safe and make sense. The essential rule to follow is that the big trucks and buses rule the road, next come the cars, then the scooters and motorbikes, follwed by the bicycles, and lastly the pedestrians. As long as you give priority to the larger vehicles you are ok, you can dodge in and out of traffic and drive the wrong way on a one way street.

The orphanage itself was very nice. A large courtyard, a bookshelf full of books for the children, and fairly nice bedrooms (about eight children to a room). Most of the children were out when I arrived as they were attending a soccer camp there were about 10 older children playing games with some volunteers. There are no babies at this orphanage the youngest child being around 3 or 4 years old (so I am not sure what they will do with all the baby clothes I brought but oh well...). I spoke with some volunteers there. They were part of a workcamp, around 20 volunteers were at the orphanage (for about 30 children). These volunteers seemed to be very frustrated about their placement as there didn't seem to be much for them do.

After the orphanage we went to the other volunteer dorms in Hanoi (which houses the workcamp volunteers). I met a few volunteers there that seemed to be voicing the same concerns as us. Are being useful here? Is our contribution really of service? Can it be better?

 Before returning to Peace House we also went to the Morninstar caring center. This was a very large building with at least 4 floors. The facilties were very nice, they had a pool and a speech therapy room. I met two americans there who were providing training for the teachers about autism. What a contrast with the Phuc Tue center!

Here are a few pictures of Hacau.

Children's bookshelf

Dining room


balcony/hallway to children's bedrooms, the bedrooms open directly to this outside balcony

Children's bedroom

courtyard with volunteers playing with children