I am a big Home and Garden Television (HGTV)fan. I’ve watched enough Fixer Upper to convince myself that I, too, can flip under-appreciated pieces of property into move-in-ready masterpieces (complete with open-floor concepts and solid amounts of shiplap).
So you can imagine my excitement and determination when Matt and I learned that one of our first projects here would be turning an old bunkhouse into a study center/Library for the Engeye scholars. Immediately, my mind began to reel: once we cleared out the space, we could paint elaborate world maps on the walls, construct personalized bookshelves, and create reading corners, arts and craft corners etc.
In reality, clearing out the bunkhouse involved a lot more rat feces than I care to remember. I had to teach myself how to properly use a wrench to break down bunk beds and confront my fear of creepy crawly things (the latter is an unfortunately common occurrence). Matt and I spent hours and hours sorting, cleaning, sweeping, mopping, alphabetizing books, labeling art supplies and testing endless amounts of markers.
It wasn’t exactly the glamorous makeover process I had envisioned in my HGTV-inspired fantasy.
But after about a month of hard work, we had finished. And to be honest, it looked better than I could have imagined (you can observe the final product in the picture above). Matt even used his unforeseen artistic abilities to draw the Engeye monkey on the wall.
Better yet, the scholars have enjoyed the new space everyday since they have arrived back home from school (here, children board at school so when the Scholars are home on holiday, they come hang out at Engeye). Most of the scholars will return to school by September 23rd, but it has been absolutely wonderful to see them study, read and play in the center for the past few weeks.
They are a fun, very self-motivated bunch and I have loved getting to know them both as a group and individually.
And while our primary focus this month has been to bond with the Scholars, we hope to begin some Math and English tutoring sessions when the Scholars return to Engeye for their “summer” equivalent in November. Harry Potter and Magic Tree House book clubs are also on the horizon…