it’s only tuesday and i’m absolutely exhausted. but the good news is the water is back on (woo! finally got a shower!…though in the dark since my light still needs fixing), we made SO much progress on the map today, and i even had some ‘sent from america’ quinoa for dinner. delicious.
i was hoping to finish painting ALL the bodies of water on the map, but we still had to draw the upper half this morning so that took a while…now that i think about it i’m fairly certain a big part of canada is still missing…eh, it’s just canada.
the boys helping, who warned me of their lacking artistic skills, have been drawing fairly well (and i say fairly because well, half a country somehow didn’t make the cut), but when it came time to paint…well…my advisement of ‘paint within the lines’ didn’t seem like much help. so we’ll have some touching up to do later, but i’m really beyond thankful for their dedication.
after working on the map for 5 hours the boys get somewhat restless, quite frankly i don’t blame them. i’m beginning to wonder if they sort of regret signing up to help, now knowing what it all entails, and if they think i could have scaled it down. i showed them photos of other maps volunteers have done around the world before we began working. all of them relatively small, or at least smaller. they said ‘miss kristen, ours is the biggest!’ and i said yes, it certainly was, and that i’m pretty sure it can be seen from space!…or at least google earth…
the commentary we get from students between classes is quite amusing. a lot of the younger kids still can’t figure out what it is and one pro-USSR boy from my 11th form INSISTS i didn’t draw russia accurately (he claims ‘it’s much bigger than that!’ but i really think he just wants me to paint russia taking over the world).
when i finally made it home, i greeted my landlady and her friends sitting under the still green grape vines in the front yard. since they were probably curious to the placement of blue paint in my hair, i told them all what i was up to, and they just didn’t get it. they asked ‘soooo….is it for a grant?’ no. ‘is it for some holiday? what holiday is coming…’ nope. it just is. i tried to explain that it’s a popular volunteer project, but from the looks on their faces, they still didn’t understand. so i just encouraged them to go look and see in a week or so.
i don’t think ukrainians do things just to do them. they always have to have one reason for another. which is sort of why my landlady and friends were confused that the map was ‘just because’ and also why i think the boys stay to help (besides getting out of some classes) seem motivated by the promise of a ‘certificate’ at the end.
certificates are a way of life in ukraine. i don’t think i will ever fully understand their importance. even though they are usually just cardstock pieces of paper with terrible gradients and typography, they mean THE WORLD to ukrainians. in my time here i’ve gotten certificates for participation in camps, and while in fact one might be posted on my fridge, they don’t have the same value as they do for ukrainians.
when the boys asked what they’d get for helping on the map (you know besides a feeling of pride and leaving a permanent mark at school) i quickly thought ‘uhhh certificates!’ somewhat unsure if that was good enough. but sure enough they were thrilled. i jokingly told them they’d be from obama…which i probably shouldn’t have….one does not joke around with certificates.