Today we had our Pintaton! It was an amazing experience I wish I could repeat many times. I woke up at 6am, I was feeling tired and not very enthusiastic about the idea of painting houses under the boiling sun. Anyway, I asked my mom to take me to Plaza Altamira, because everybody was going to meet there to leave for Charallave on the buses. I arrive there at around 7:05am and met the school group.
When we arrived to Charallave, the buses dropped us off at a plaza called Plaza Bolivar, where we all waited for the Jeeps to come and take us up the mountain where the families were waiting for us in their houses ready to be painted.
They divided us into different groups before getting onto the jeeps and gave each group the tools they needed, the paints and two 2 liter bottles of water. They assigned us to Johynners house, who is a guy that lives in the community and they helped him build his house previous to this day. He is an amazing guy, and everybody wanted to be in our group.
We hopped on the jeeps and started our adventure up into the mountain. The ride was about 10 minutes, and they dropped us off on the top of the hill, where we had to walk about 10 more minutes down a very steep hill, and into the community. At this point, I didn’t know what to expect, after everybody said it was a really insecure and dangerous place to be in, I decided to be aware of everything around me and make sure what I said and did, was not of alarm to anyone.
We arrived at Johynners house at around 10:30am and he was extremely welcoming. He showed us the inside of his home, and let us felt like it was our home as well. He let us leave our bags inside on his kitchen table and told us he was available for anything that we needed.
We started by looking at the design he had chosen for his house, which consisted of painting the house all white, and it had an orange stripe in the middle. The first thing we did was measure where the stripe was going to be and add tape to the lines. This was to make sure we did not pain the orange part white, and the white part orange. It was carefully measured so that it looked symmetrical.
After all of the outside had the tape around it, we began by painting the house white. Immediately, we realized that the wood absorbed the paint very fast and that we had to paint various capes of color for it to look decent. In the middle of painting the white, Johynner came with some Arepas, and some juice for breakfast, and while we painted we ate some. We wasted all two pots of white paint, and we still needed some more to make it all perfect.
When we finished all of the white, it was around 1pm and Johynners mom had made us lunch at her house, which was about five minutes walking distance from his house. We all left our stuff inside his house, and walked over to his mother’s home where she was waiting for us with some food. We sat and had a talk with everyone, while eating some lentils and rice. After we finished, we helped to wash and dry the plates.
We went back up to Johynners house after we finished eating, to finish off painting the orange stripe, which was still missing. While we were doing this, everybody that began to finish, came down to his house because we were going to meet there to celebrate. We all gathered there and people were washing their hands with gasoline, and mud because the paint wouldn’t come off, others were taking pictures and some were having snacks. When we finally finished painting the house, we washed everything off and packed our things.
We all gathered on the outside of the house, with a cake that they had brought from TECHO, and people such as Ana who is the coordinator spoke and gave thanks to everyone for being there today and helping out this wonderful community. I gave thanks in name of the British School of Caracas, and told them that we were so thankful for the opportunity and that we would love to continue helping out, and most importantly being part of the work that they do everywhere they go. We had some cake, said thank you to everyone in the community, and we walked down to the road, where the jeeps were waiting for us to take us down to the plaza to get on the buses.
We arrived back to Plaza Altamira at around 6pm, and I came home to take a shower after that long, but AMAZING day!
It was a complete life changing experience and I would definitely recommend it to anybody!!
by Eugenia Wallis