Several months ago Harambee Arts started to offer a second
weekly painting group to a group of older children at the City Primary School.
The children are more severely autistic than our on-going younger group. Their
head teacher reports that he has already seen dramatic changes in the children.
Their styles develop and their special personalities emerge. Mihrein, the most
outspoken of the group, usually paints one color at a time. He doesn’t like to
get dirty and barks orders or makes comments about the others, as he smiles and
paints his one-color paintings. “Sit down, finish that painting. Why do you
refuse to paint?” And then he looks at us sweetly and says, “I don’t know why
he refuses to paint?” Nduati, another boy, jumps around, hums and paints really
fast. He jumps up and down between each painting and communicates with each of
us in special ways…a touch on the shoulder, an extended hand, running to fetch
one of our water bottles and opening the bottle before handing it to us. He can
paint 50 paintings in one session and he knows that his water will be changed
when it gets dirty and that there will always be enough colors for him. He is a
joy…they all are. It’s an honor to now be painting with this additional group
on a regular basis.