Monday, November 22, 2010

Crunch Time

We have about a week left in Arad, and tomorrow is technically the last day of compulsory attendance at volunteering. After waiting for some final logistics that went a little slow since it was our first time going through the process of getting the necessary money (from what was fund raised last year), we got moving. The plans that were mentioned before of renovating the Gan are now translating into action.

The back of the Gan is an outdoor area closed in by walls, partially covered by a glass awning, and cluttered with what appears to be donated dusty, dirty chairs and tables. There are random wooden boards, signs, and nails thrown about. There are weeds growing around the perimeter of the partially brick tiled ground. The walls have eroded over the years, resulting in large gaps in the plaster. It all sounds lovely, I know, but when we're done, it will be entirely child proof. So, getting started, today and yesterday, Joel and Jimmy cleared out the heavy, random boards, signs and nails and brought them to the dumpster. We pulled the brick tiles around the perimeter, pulled the weeds, dug up the sand a little bit, and will be putting down mulch to plant a simple garden around the perimeter. Year Course's ever so capable Arad manager of logistics, Erez, came in and fixed the broken hose in the back yesterday, which was leaking water and wasting a huge amount, as it would not turn off. Today, we bought plaster and necessary tools and began fixing the huge gaps in the wall outside. This will be complete by tomorrow, as well as painted white. Once the wall is safe and painted, we will clean and organize the tables and chairs in such a way that the kids can play safely outside.

And all of that is only the outside. The inside is mostly child proof, but the nearly empty white walls give the Gan, a kindergarten, an almost hospital feel. It makes one go a little crazy to spend entire days in a completely white room. Kids, we believe, need an environment with color and texture. So, with what was upward of our 5th trip to the hardware store in the past 24 hours, we got two colors - a cream and a pale green that compliment each other well and are good, stimulating but calming colors for the kids. Before this trip, however, we made sure to ask Peter (the Sudanese community leader) and Abova (the caretaker at the Gan) permission. They welcomed the idea, telling us that what we think is good for the Gan, they think is good for the Gan. We also placed child safety power outlet covers on the power outlets that the children love to stick their fingers into. A 220 volt shock would be, I can imagine, less fun/safe than an American 120 volt. We will also plaster the small portion of the inside wall that has somehow come off, as the children LOVE to eat it. Yes, eat the wall.

With our team of Garin Tzedekers and random Year Coursers getting to work every day this week, we will be done before our bittersweet move to Jerusalem. This is what we've been up to. We will post before and after pictures as we go.

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