Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Service Learning 11: Interest

Thinking about the word interest in terms of Sao Mai, I can only think about our project that we are in the middle of completing. This painting that we are trying to take on has led to many road blocks along the way from changing colors, to changing pictures, to changing even the purpose of this project.

Starting out, we wanted to paint the playground and give it new life and color so that when kids come in and play they have this feeling of enjoyment. It was suppose to be an artwork and our contribution to Sao Mai. However, we had to stop and rethink about what it is that we are actually doing. Time is getting close and everytime we go into volunteer now, our minds are on this project because we are scared that it won't get done in time, now we're scared that it won't even get accomplished at all. We came in with the vision that we would paint the area with children running, jumping rope, doing things that are active so that when children look at the picture, they become inspired. However, we are not artist, let alone great painters. We were gonna do blue and yellow on the pillars as background colors. The background color that we have chosen was suppose to be blue so that it would be bright and stand out. Instead, we ended up choosing this baby blue color that looks identically like white. and had to paint the entire playground that blue because if we were to utilize yellow, then it would not pop. so now the whole pillars are this blue and an already opened bucket of yellow paint that is going to waste. not what we wanted. Making due with our white blue sky, we decided to incorporate the name Sao Mai and do clouds and stars. We chose a really bright shiny color blue to outline the clouds with and do red stars. Painting the clouds there was a cute choice, but when we added the red stars, we realized we were painting the colors of the American flag. we were disgustd. I think i've already mentioned this part in my other blog. So here we are, still unsure of what to do because we don't know what is in the best interest of Sao Mai or for ourselves. We have turned this into a community project along the way with other volunteers at Sao Mai helping us paint. Except, i feel that they see this painting time as a way to escape the classroom instead of in the same way that we view this project. Therefore, their interest is different than ours.

Painting the playground we are now conflicted about who's interest we should paint the playground for? It should be in the interest of Sao Mai who has to utilize this space for years to come, so we should paint it how they would want it to look like. However, their visions are different from ours because our interest are also consumed with time, space, and money. We are concerned about getting it accomplished and looking good. In the interest of Sao mai, I guess we have to keep in mind that this project was for them in the first place and secondly for us. It was originally intended for Sao Mai's interest so that their playground would be better, and the second interest was for us to contribute and give back to Sao Mai. Keeping both these interests in mind, we are now at the dilemna of what exactly to do with this playground. We have little time left, and we must complete the painting in both interests before we leave Vietnam.

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