Charity & Volunteering, Life & Happiness, Travel

ICS Week 8: Plastic Bottle Houses and Paint Fights!

The week after Mid Phase Review was a very fun and rewarding one. After a long sleep my week began with the usual weekly things – Monday meetings, Tuesday Adult Literacy…and we discovered a local chop house which quickly became our regular lunch place for beans, rice, stew and plantain. So delicious!

On Wednesday TonyJoy began her personal Community Action Day – the theme was ‘Waste to Wealth’, so as a team we collected used plastic bottles for weeks and TonyJoy organised for us to build a greenhouse in the community so it could be used to plant vegetables and flowers. This helps the environment because we are reusing plastics instead of throwing them away or littering, and the greenhouse can be used as a source of income for the person who uses it – they can grow vegetables and sell them.

This was so much fun. I’ve never actively been involved in helping the environment, except for general things like making sure I don’t leave a tap running, switching off lights when I leave a room and trying to cut down on meat eating. It felt really good to encourage the community to save their plastics and learn something new about helping their environment.

We dug holes for the foundation structure, which we used bamboo for. Here in Nigeria, bamboo is regularly used for structural purposes – when you drive past building sites all the scaffolding they use is bamboo as it is very strong.

We made our own cement, washed and cut plastic bottles and strung them together with wire for the walls. It was very satisfying to do physical work for a change and see the development of a project before our eyes.

On Thursday we did our first set of murals for Alice’s personal CAD. She designed three postcard shaped murals to go on the local football pitch to remind the community not to litter. We all had such a great day! I have some drawing skills and I’m quite a creative person so I was on the design committee, in charge of drawing the murals on the walls and making a start on the painting before everyone else joined in. I’d never done anything like this before, but I had such an awesome time doing it and I felt like I actually did a really good job.

The mural CAD of course ended up in a ridiculous paint fight! We all had a job scrubbing it off our arms and faces at the end of the day!

On Friday we had two big training sessions for some new Community Citizen Service Volunteers. These new CCSVs came from the rallies we had in Ikorodu central and Majidun a couple of weeks previously. The one for Central went so well. I was moderating the event with Hussain which was a bit unnerving because I’m not used to speaking in front of big groups of youths – I was afraid they wouldn’t be able to hear me or understand my accent and it would ruin the success of the event.

The new CCSVs all seemed to have a great time! They all knew my name by the end and were thanking me for the training and queuing up for photos with me! Something I’ll never get used to here but it’s a common occurrence…

The Majidun training was much more tricky. We were in a smaller space and didn’t have as much time to dedicate to it, so we couldn’t do some of the fun activities we did in the Central training, and the youths were much less responsive and refused to take some of the things we did seriously. I felt disrespected and it dampened the confidence boost I’d previously received. This was just part of a huge learning curve for me though. I am beginning to learn to believe more in myself and not let stressful and negative situations or people bring me down. It’s a hard thing to do but I feel like this is one of the big things that ICS has taught me. By the end of the training the youths were more responsive and we passed the necessary messages across, but it was just a lot more stressful than the first one!

On a more positive note, Friday was also Helen’s 20th birthday! We had a party after the training was over, with cake and dancing. We also watched Tangled which was so good! One of my favourite things to do is watch films, so it was so nice to sit quietly and watch a Disney movie with everyone.

We worked through the weekend this week which was very tiring, but with only three weeks to go in Ikorodu, there is still a lot to complete. We did a litter pick on the Saturday and on Sunday Sam organised another mural in the community. He had previously been to a local school and asked the children to draw pictures of what they’d like their community to look like, with all the problems solved. He turned it into a competition, so he took the winning picture and incorporated it into a mural design. Sam is an incredible artist so the mural design was fantastic. We all got involved and it looked so amazing by the end of the day.

More paint fights also ensued…

Week 9 is soon to come! Thanks for following me on my volunteering journey.

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