Last night at SHYM we finished the piggy-banks. We only have an hour each session so the whole thing took a long time. Working on something for several weeks did mean at times they got a bit tired of it, but on the positive side they had a sense of accomplishment when the pigs were finally done. Confidence, especially with this kind of thing, is not high, so I’m really pleased we got some nice finished pieces from the project. It was not the most artsy of projects but did involve various creative elements. With this group I find my goal is to get them to participate in a creative process, and to enjoy at least the majority of it, so I think this was successful.
On our first evening of papier-mache, the girls had a light-hearted conversation about putting money in their children’s piggy-banks only to take it out again when they needed money for the bus or a coffee, and how guilty that made them feel. Most of the women at SHYM have babies under 1, and I was intrigued to hear that they all had piggy banks. I suppose I always thought piggy banks were for slightly older children. Last night I was thinking about this again. As we cut the money slots in the pigs one girl asked me to make sure it was a very small slot, so she could get money in but wouldn’t be able to shake it out! Then I began to understand. These are teenage single mothers, and spare cash has got to be an extremely rare thing. These moms put money in the piggy bank in the same way that others put money in bank accounts for their child’s future. I admire their determined effort, in perhaps a slightly difficult situation, to start putting money aside for the babies. And without wishing to sound patronizing, I was quite touched.