Creating a kid-friendly space in a kid-unfriendly place

by Lorien E. Menhennett

Jemella, quite the talented artist, painting her masterpiece dolphin.

Jemella, quite the talented artist, painting her incredible dolphin.

The hospital is a scary place for kids, regardless of what country you’re in. Eva, a Dutch woman who funds various programs at Naggalama Hospital, recently had a children’s playroom constructed adjacent to the pediatrics ward. Before opening it to the kids, she wanted it decorated. So one Sunday afternoon, we (Eva, Randi, Howard, Jemella, and I) all got together and painted the long, narrow room in an aquatic theme — Jemella’s idea. We each took a wall as our personal canvas, then worked together to fill in the gaps at the end. Here are photos of some of the masterpieces. Click on each image for a larger version. (I don’t have pictures of Randi’s or Eva’s work, but it’s amazing too!)

After the paint had dried, Eva gathered toys and books to fill the space. Walking by the room now, even from the outside, you can hear the excited squeals of kids playing with those toys, happy to be away from their hospital beds. Happy to be distracted, if only for a little while. It’s a good feeling to have had a little part in that.

Howard, Jemella, and Randi shaking up the paint cans before starting our works of art. The only type of paint available was oil-based paint, and there were very limited colors. So we did a lot of mixing in the plastic cups you see here. As a result, the playroom is a vibrant mix of all colors, shades, and hues.

Howard, Jemella, and Randi shaking up the paint cans before starting our works of art. The only type of paint available was oil-based paint, and there were very limited colors. So we did a lot of mixing in the plastic cups you see here. As a result, the playroom is a vibrant mix of all colors, shades, and hues.

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