Adventure in South Africa

This was a working holiday in Westbury minus the holiday.  So, really, there were no adventures in, around, or anywhere close to Westbury.  But, I had a few very special memories associated with the wall.

A lot of my painters were a little too shy to talk to a white man, no matter how talented.  However, when the first freezing day of painting neared an end, one of the girls had to say what was on her mind.  And, it warmed my heart (which needed warming on a very cold day).  Kim said painting the mural was such a fun thing to do and she was so glad I came to Westbury.  Like I said, my heart was warmed.

After the second day of painting, one of the women who lived in the flat approached me.  She said on Day One of the mural, she was so surprised when she came home from work.  Day Two was even more amazing.  She wanted me to know just how important it was to these children and the community that this mural went up.  Drugs were just one of the issues that faced the youth of Westbury every day of their lives.  She told me that the message on the mural and the community activity behind it would be long remembered.

And then, she talked about her son.  I'd taken a photo of him because he was just so cute.  Tyler was so pleased and told his mother about it when she got home.  At four years of age, he already knew he wanted to be a preacher, and he told his mama that he would pray for me.

The crowds that watched the mural in progress sometimes spoke English.  They also spoke Afrikaans so I had no idea what was said.  However, a little was translated for me.  People didn’t think the drug addicts were going to hang out at that wall any more.  It was just too cheerful for that.  And, it sounded like kids were not going to play there either.  That, however, would not be their choice.  The mothers and the grandmothers in the area wanted that mural to be clean and protected.  Nobody was going to mess it up if they had their way.

And, speaking of grandmothers, Mel's grandmother, Tannie Harris, lived right by the mural.  I went to her home several times a day for warmth and the most delicious tea.  Perhaps it tasted so good because it was warm?  Anyway, it was always such a wonderful time in her home.  She was simply delightful and I told her I wished she were my grandmother, too.  So, when I put my name to the mural, I signed it "Phillip Martin Harris".