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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wrapping up Paris

I wish I could wrap it up and take it with me, like the workers wrapping up the Winged Victory and sliding her down the marble steps. But I don't have to say goodbye, yet. I'll be back for another three or four days at the end.

Let me recap the culmination of our project, the last day and presentation of the finished mosaic to the community.

After our barbeque on Friday, we went briefly back to the apartment, not for enough time, though, for any kind of a rest. We were shortly due over to the devopment to set up for our presentation: It was in the same spot where we had begun, the first day, uncomfortablly accosting the residents about their dreams for their living environment.

When I arrived, others in the group had already set up a tent and tables with refreshments, posters of our project and the process, and, in their full glory, the seven panels of our mosaic. I felt an enormous amount of pride. Lots of people stopped by, for refreshments and also to admire the mosaic and hear more about the conception and design, and where it would be mounted. This time I had no hesitation about approaching people and talking to them in French about the project. As always, it was an amazing mix of backgrounds, a young religious Jewish couple pushing their twin infants in a double stroller, teenage Muslim girls in bright colored headscarves, African women draped in beautiful batiked robes. Three white women of about my age, who said they'd lived in the development for over 20 years, were pessimistic. While they found the mosaic beautiful, they were abolutely certain it would be destroyed within a couple of weeks. I sent Giselle over to talk to them, not knowing what her response would be. Giselle said the plan was to put a plexiglas sheild over it, something I hadn't thought or heard about before. This seemed to assuage the women. But I felt disappointed and also worry that the plexi will soon become scratched and obscure the mosaic. I guess that remains to be seen.

There is no doubt that the experience has been a wonderful one for the volunteer group. Now I just hope that it truly does contribute something to the community.

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