The First Mural, Beautiful Kidz, Katatura, Namibia  

I don't often get email from Africa. Margaret worked in Namibia and searched online for some artwork to use at a daycare center for Aids orphans in the Windhoek area. She stopped when she found my site. All she needed was my permission because she found all the art she needed.

Of course, I instantly said yes. Absolutely use my art at the center!

Then, I thought about it for five minutes and sent another email message. I told Margaret that I not only wanted them to use my art but I wanted them to use me.

I volunteered to go to Namibia and help with the painting if they were interested. When she recovered from the initial shock, she invited me to Africa.

I wrote to my friends that it was a once in a life time experience that couldn't be missed. One of them wrote back and said that it was just another in a series of Phillip Martin experiences that nobody else seemed to get. He wasn't surprised at all about Africa.

I was.

Everything is big in Africa. I love the size of a big African sky. If you haven't seen one, you just can't imagine what I'm talking about. Anyway, before arriving in Namibia, they told me the mural would be huge. No problem for me. But, huge in Africa was about 80 yards. I could be wrong because I'm no real good judge of distance, but it was an African-style huge mural.

Fortunately, I had over fifty volunteers of all ages to help with the process. The more I've thought about murals, the more I realize how lucky I was to arrive in Namibia. Although I am certainly capable of painting a mural by myself, I'd much rather have a "community building" experience with the project. Instead of just receiving a mural, it's so satisfying for everyone involved if they have a part in the activity. Perhaps it was an accident in planning? Perhaps I was just lucky to have about two dozen Dutch volunteer in Namibia when I was there? In this case, the only way to paint 80 yards in the given time was with volunteer help. And, I never want to do it any other way.

Copyright 2008 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.