Mural 13 in Manzini, Swaziland

There was not a lot of communication with the New Hope Center prior to arrival in Swaziland.  I really didn't know what to expect for this mural.  But, since I'd never had a bad experience painting murals in the past, I expected the run to continue.  Truth be told, the people at the orphanage didn't know what to expect from me either.  With very limited access to the Internet, they had never seen my websites or clipart.  They just said yes - sight unseen - for the chance to have someone come to paint a mural.

A tour of the campus quickly proved that this was not the depressing kind of orphanage you might fear in Africa.  The New Hope Center ran a school for the orphans and the local community on several acres of the hillside outside of Manzini.  There were farm animals, a garden, a swimming pool, several buildings, and best of all our guest quarters were on the highest point of the campus with a great view of Manzini and the surrounding area.

After viewing the grounds, a serious discussion took place about the murals.  They had a suggestion, but it was just horrible.  I said that I could take pieces of it and do separate small things, but I could never put them all in one piece.  Then, I suggested they see my previous murals and some of my clipart.  Their horrible suggestion was immediately tossed aside.  They loved my work, and I love people who love my work.  Not surprisingly, they wanted more than I could do in four days.  So, before one stroke of paint hit their walls, talk started about my second trip back to the walls of Swaziland.

On this first visit, I focused on the pre-school classroom.  It was already colorful, but other classrooms had murals.  I thought it should have scattered animals, like the other rooms.  However, the people making the decisions loved my Bible clip art and decided upon a room with a Moses theme.

When you run a place with children, there is no shortage of volunteers.  Some of the painters were so tiny, but anyone who was interested was allowed to paint.  That's part of my philosophy where everyone can claim some ownership in the mural.  However, when the first day started with mostly wee ones, I questioned my philosophy.  Fortunately, older kids showed up later in the day.  Both sanity and the murals were saved. And, in the scheduled four days, the room was transformed.