Thursday rolled around with lots of deceitful sunshine that made us think it was warm, when really it wasn’t! The group visited Fishtown Recreation Center to paint murals in their playground and back yard. The exterior was already covered with bright and cheery fish designs and inspiring words. It looked well maintained and we were greeted by a friendly and passionate organizer who seemed to really appreciate our help. We took care of a little graffiti, but spent most of our energies adding personal touches to existing murals and re-painting the peeling benches. They turned out Bee – YOU — tiful! Actually, mural painting is really hard and it made me feel like one of the five-year-olds who were playing inside the center because I was basically just scribbling on the wall. The weather got cooler as the morning moved on, but luckily we found a room inside to defrost our fingers. It was interesting to see the community’s varied use of the center. Little children filled up multiple classes and elderly ladies streamed in with baked goods to play Bingo. Our defrost room was filled with People magazines and pictures of Disney Channel Celebrities which prompted an interesting pop culture discussion — a continuation from the previous night’s Taylor Swift invasion.
At the end of the project it was cool to hear how the mural painting at Fishtown Rec has not only beautified the area for the residents and covered up graffiti that isn’t what kids should be seeing, but it has also drawn press attention to the site. This kind of positive publicity makes it less likely that the center will get cut (apparently budget constraints are forcing the city to close quite a few rec centers). After working hard, we took this lovely group picture. (We actually took it about seven times, our poor photographer was trying to juggle all of our cameras — this particular incarnation of the shot is courtesy of Sara, thank you! She is the one holding a bag over the head of the person in front of her. What a sweet girl. Hahaha.)
The remainder of the day was spent discovering the Tastes of Philly on a delicious Philly Food Tour. It was kind of amusing how many vegan/vegetaring/quasi-vegetarian/lactose-free people we had, sorry to the tour leaders who had to deal with all of us! It was a great tour, though. We stuffed ourselves to the point of comatose and then attempted to stay awake for a play in the evening — it was a one-man show entitled Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll that was definitely thought-provoking. Campus Philly did a good job of introducing us to Philadelphia, both its volunteer and entertainment opportunities –thanks!
On Thursday evening we proceeded to stay up way later than was intelligent given how early we had to leave in the morning — but it was our last night together and we couldn’t help it.