Monday, 6 February 2017

Whitechurch Guides' mural brightens up Indian orphanage

A colourful mural of the Creation story is brightening up an Indian orphanage, thanks to Whitechurch Guides, South Dublin.

The initiative came about as a result of their Leader, Ruth Hughes, taking part in a project in 2013 with the 35th Dublin Venture Scouts to help design and build a playground and paint two murals at the Flame of Hope orphanage in Siliguri, Northern India.

Here Guide Leaders Ruth, Doreen and
Barbara explain how their Guides became involved …

Three years ago, on the last day visiting Flame of Hope in Siliguri, Northern India, Sr Ann Francesca asked if the next mural for the children might be of the Creation story. Since then Whitechurch Guides have been designing it from time to time, on a large roll of disposable tablecloth.

Ruth was lucky enough to
have another visit to Flame of Hope recently and brought the design over. The children there were very excited as the time coincided with their half-term from school.  We also had some beautiful ideas for shapes and colours from The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Jago.

First there was a day trip up to Kurseong, the other home of Flame of Hope, in the foothills of the Himalayas, not too far from

Darjeeling, and a breath-taking sunset during a candlelit Mass for the blessing of the local graves.

Next day it was all hands on deck, sketching along an 80 foot wall of the school and finally starting to paint.  Many of the 20 children who live in Flame of Hope have severe physical, intellectual or sensory disabilities.  Yet their care and patience with each other shines through all their difficulties.  You couldn't find a better name than Flame of Hope.    

We managed to incorporate all the Whitechurch ideas and plenty more inspired by India - the all-night, each night Divali festivities and, of course, the children themselves. While we painted with small groups of the children we could hear the others rehearse their nativity play and songs.

In the beginning ... there was only darkness, then God said "let there be light". Next we painted water, a volcano, coral, some shamrock
around the drain pipe, ferns under the sunrise.  

A beach with shells, a crab , a beetle, some sea holly, waves.  Under water again, fish blowing bubbles, an octopus, a dolphin. Then a spider  in a web.

Snow on the mountains, clouds, a rainbow, sheep, a waterfall, tea, marigolds, sunflowers, lavender, lotus, little garden birds, a blackbird’s nest, a flamingo, a frog, a palm tree, a monkey, a lion cub and a cheetah, a snail, a turnip, a tortoise, an iguana, some wheat, a chicken, some carrots, a goat, potatoes, a butterfly, a cauliflower, a dragonfly, celery, a currant bush, another butterfly.

A cockerel, ducks in a pond, bulrushes, a pig. another iguana, a holly tree, a cat, an owl up an
autumnal oak tree, a red squirrel with an acorn, a rat with some sweetcorn, a bear, some iris, an elephant. a baby elephant, a giraffe (did you know they're now at risk of extinction?) a dove, a moon (just a crescent, not a super-moon).

A camel, a leopard, a rhino, a cherry tree, a peacock, a rabbit, ladybirds, a caterpillar, some stars, primroses, a banana tree, Adam ... and Eve, a sunset, a grapevine, daisies, crocuses, snowdrops, another butterfly, another dove, God asleep on day 7 (on his blanket is depicted the world in His hand).

Poinsettia, another leopard, an orange tree, another dove, the apple tree, the serpent around the drainpipe ... but that's another day's painting.

So, seven days, 80ft of wall, nine litres of paint and 10 paintbrushes later we were, indeed, well pleased. We hope the children, and all their friends in the surrounding community who come to school there too, will enjoy the fruits of their work for many years to come. It's under a large canopy, so will be protected from the monsoons and the beating sun.

On the opposite wall we painted a
creation Mandala from the Philippines - a cyclical depiction of creation and recreation, starting with the light at the base and all interconnected with a spider's web.

There's a fine space next to it with two large brown double doors, that's calling out for … Noah's Ark. Maybe 2018. Has anyone a few more metres of tablecloth?


~ Ruth, Doreen and Barbara – Whitechurch Guides

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