by Dot, WFM Team Member and TMF Ambassador
Today was our third day at Sunrise Village, and it was filled with love and laughter, delicious food, wonderful people, and hard work, including some blood, LOTS of sweat, and even a few tears (of joy)!
My roommate Kelly and I rose before the sun and stumbled down to the kitchen for some fruit and tea before heading outside to start building the main attraction of the playground: the slide. The largest and most labor-intensive piece of the playground, the slide required work from every member of our team to get it going. We started by carrying all the pieces of the slide out to the playground, and, boy, were they heavy! It took about 12 of us to lift and carry the slide to its new home. Once construction was underway, we split into groups, with most working on the slide. Other groups included Kaylie and Crystal painting the swing set with a happy color scheme of yellow and pink, JaiRash and Pam laying the lines for the badminton court, while Gale, Tim and I started the long and messy task of cleaning the wall in preparation for the mural we’re going to paint with the kids. It took Gale, Tim and I all morning to clean that wall. We gleefully attacked it with wire brushes and tried with all our might to sweep away the dirt and grime to let the white paint shine through. Despite some scarped knuckles, blistered palms and being covered head to toe in white dust, I would say we were victorious! After lunch PushPeroe, Barbara and Kaylie took over and finished scrubbing the wall down with water. All the while, we all watched with fascination as the slide took shape one bolt at a time!
I had lots of fun experiences today! Rob and I took tips from the local masons when they wrapped our heads in the traditional scarf used to cushion the stones and gave us some light loads to carry. I tried to mimic their graceful posture and glide across the playground with rocks perfectly balanced on top of my head, but I couldn’t quite pull of the no-hands saunter!
Although the whole day was filled with special moments there was one half hour that stood out above all others. There are about 25 toddlers who attend preschool lessons during the day, and just before lunch, we got to play with them. I had just come down from rinsing all the white dust off and joined the group mid-round of the Hokey-Pokey. The children were wide-eyed and rather skeptical as we jumped around and sang the Hokey Pokey song at the top of our lungs. However, after a few rounds, they began to get the hang of it and tentatively shook a right hand or a left foot. Some even turned themselves around! We then moved into a very successful game of Duck, Duck, Goose! The children’s eyes lit up as they began to understand the game and they even took turns being the goose and running around the outside of the circle. We also played London Bridge is Falling Down, did a group Rain Clap, and finished with one last round of Hokey-Pokey. I will always remember their beautiful smiling faces and the love that poured out of them like rays of golden sunshine warming my heart.
After work a bit more in the afternoon, followed by a quick shopping excursion into town, we finished the day off with an awesome game of football (soccer) with the kids. I was slightly surprised and very pleased by the skill in our group (both the kids and the volunteers). One of the volunteers brought two small pop-up goals and we set them up on either end of the field. We had such a blast that we continued to play until the sun went down and the kids had to go in to study.
I feel like we crammed as much fun and hard work as possible into every moment of the day. Now, my tired, achy mussels are yelling at me to go to bed. And, as much as I am looking forward to falling asleep to the cicadas chirping outside my window, I am looking forward to the morning even more. I’m excited to make more progress on the playground, to see the kids smiling faces, to hug them until they are infused with love to the core, and to wish them a lovely school day filled with knowledge gained, as well as the pure unadulterated happiness that every child has a right to each and every day.