Saturday, July 2, 2011

Clouds, Stars, & Posters

The Project . . . continued. . .

Turning the maternity's blue ceiling into a sky took a whole day of wielding a sponge. I found it to be a very enjoyable pastime. I have long loved clouds, and now was my chance to create best puffy clouds I could manage. Overall this goal was met with the exception of one cloud that turned out the shape of a Dorito chip. This was remedied with a few extra swipes of the sponge. Watching the ceiling’s transformation, the patients seemed confused. Why was I ruining my lovely paint job by smearing white paint all over it? However, after the 2nd cloud was completed, the light dawned.

"Is that a cloud" ask one lady shyly, with a look of amazed wonder.

"Yes it is!" I affirmed, excited that it was recognizable.

From then on they watched with silent interest as the sky took shape above them. With similar interest they observed me mixing the yellow paint and creating a sun shining out from behind two clouds. As I was gathering up my things and heading out the door that evening, a patient called to me in French.

"It is beautiful!"

I smiled. "You like it?" I ask happily.

"Yes! I like it! It is very good."

"Thank you!" I beamed. "Now you can pretend you are outside even when you are inside!"

She smiled widely.

Armed with a butter container of yellow paint and a small paintbrush, I climbed the ladder in the delivery room. My goal for the day was to turn this dark blue ceiling into a night sky. I had painted clouds the previous day. Now it was time to add some "starlight." My paintbrush poised, I suddenly realized I had no idea how to paint stars! I bowed my head briefly and asked for a little help from the One who knows the most about star-making. The first one I tried morphed into a shooting star, due to a slip of the paintbrush. Oopsy! After a few stars that looked a bit challenged and awkward, I began getting the hang of it. In a moment of inspiration I decided to try painting some constellations--Orion and the Little Dipper--in hopes some imaginative mind might see them. At the end of the day I flopped down on the delivery table and attempted to count the golden stars in my night sky-scape. At least 170! My mind said "Wow, that’s unbelievable!" My neck and arms said, "Yup, we knew it!"

Throughout the day people stopped by to observe and share encouraging comments. They certainly know the art of appreciation. It made my job twice as enjoyable! I finished off the day by painting a big crescent moon. Satisfied, I walked home stiffly with a kinked neck and happy heart.

I have mentioned in previous posts how mothers often give their babies water instead of breast milk. The lack of nutrition has disastrous, sometimes fatal, results for the little tikes. In my first few months I often heard Danae bemoan this fact and wish for a picture which would show these women the terrible effect this has on their babies. Many of these women cannot read and she felt a pictorial representation would be the most powerful way to communicate the lesson. Though I am no art major, I determined to do what I could. For the past few days I have been working on making three posters to hang in the maternity ward. One depicts a woman with a very chubby, healthy baby who breast-feeds. Another shows a women with a skinny, near-death looking baby trying to give it a glass of water. The third poster will contain a simple explanation, written in both French and Arabic, for those who can read. These will be framed and hung in the ward. My prayer is that these posters will be instrumental in saving some babies’ lives.

More to come
I am returning to my work as a nurse tomorrow. The tile for the delivery room must be purchased at Moundou at a later time. Already there has been such a positive difference. Let me once again thank all those who contributed to this project! It is not over yet, but at every step of the process I am amazed at God's goodness.

Editor’s Note: As you know, Heather had hoped to provide mosquito nets for patients in the hospital. Due to resistance from the hospital staff, this part of the project is being postponed until support from the local nursing staff can be won. Instead, at the request of the OB/GYN, the money will purchase tile to cover the floor and lower half of the walls in the delivery room, making it easier to keep the area clean and sanitary.

1 comment:

Caitlin said...

I love your art projects! It will make a huge difference in the patients outlook! And I hope you can take pictures of them when they're done :)