Four weeks has passed since I came here. Time has gone by so fast and it feels like I just arrived. If I reflect on my first month here at Wale, I would say it has gone pretty well. The first week or two were obviously about observing, getting to know the kids and learning how everything here works. As I caught up with the daily routines, I became a part of the activities little by little. I took over life skills classes, started documenting the football practice every Saturday and became involved with the School Fee Drive and the Book Drive. Now most of the kids already know me and are used to me being around. I am extremely happy that I get to spend five months here because if I would have to leave in one or two months, I am sure I would feel like I left something unfinished.
Taking photos and editing them has become a big part of my job here at Wale. I take photos for the posts we do for the Wale Wale Slum Soka Football Academy, for Hotspot and for Wale Wale’s Facebook page where we share photos of our activities. I love photography and I am happy I can use my talent as a part of my internship and also practice and get better at taking photos and editing them. Another one of my interests is drawing. Unfortunately, I left all my drawing equipment back home in Copenhagen because I thought that I will be busy working and will not need them. Turns out my job here has a highly creative side, even more than I expected.
Last week me and Venna brainstormed a drawing project I will do with some of the kids. This all started when I was drawing Disney characters from a book for the kids to colour. I noticed that they like drawing the characters and then colouring them, so I decided to try and draw a few of them. The kids got excited and were queuing to ask me to draw different characters for them. I thought that maybe I could draw a collection of the pictures for the kids to colour, kind of like a colouring book. This idea turned into buying sketch books and filling them out with inspiring and interesting pictures of African kings and queens, people from different Kenyan tribes and some Black Panther characters and other Africa-inspired superheroes. Venna suggested that I could do this with some of the youth that are interested in arts.
Last Saturday I gathered Julius, Sarah, George and Boni, and explained our project to them. I showed some pictures of different African kings, queens and female warriors, and told them to find a picture that inspires them. I told them they do not have to necessarily copy a complete picture, but maybe choose something that draws their attention, such as clothes, head dresses or jewellery. Turned out everyone chose Black Panther, so we started working on that. I gave them some tips on drawing and explained the importance of sketching your picture first when you start. I helped some sketch a picture so that they could then draw it completely. I was happy to see how concentrated they were on drawing these pictures, even though we still need to work on finishing what you have started and not giving up when the drawing feels difficult or too challenging. Next time I will show them a few samples I have made of African kings and queens, and we will probably watch a YouTube tutorial on drawing. Tomorrow we will go shopping for art supplies and I am excited to get all the right markers and sketch pads.
I am thrilled about this project, because it helps the youth develop their drawing skills and express themselves, but as they are looking for inspiring pictures they will also learn about the history of the African kingdoms and about the different tribes in Kenya. I have always liked the feeling when you finish a drawing and you think to yourself “Oh this turned out really cool!” and I am hoping that Julius, Sarah, George and Boni will get to feel that too. When we are finished with all the drawing we can even sell the books and that way convert the youths’ talent into income for them.