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Psychiatric Colors

I just got back from a trip with some of our other volunteers to the island of Rab. We conducted a project there for the well known psychiatric hospital there of a mural on one of there walls.

We spent two nights there with them, slept in their ward and got a look at what it is like for so many people there. Some lost businesses, were homeless and so got depressed and were sent there others were junkies, street fighters and alcohol or war veterans all put together in a ward with 73 others…and five of us.

The mural project was nice as it was for the elderly who can not wonder the property as they are too old, have Alzheimers and/or medicated to find their way back to the right building so they have a closed in concrete area between two buildings for them to roam in the fresh air in.

The staff were wonderful to us but also let us see and experience (though for sure sheltered version) of life inside, we talked to many of the patients in our “addictions” ward and were able to provide them at least a few minutes of company and encouragement, some of them even helped us with the painting of the mural and their friendship and stories we will never forget. The included a man from Mali Losinj with shrapnel in his head from the war that is to risky to remove that effects his brain negatively. A first-time mother who is 5 months pregnant who had problems with drinking and had a bad road accident leaving her in a coma for two days, thankfully her and the baby are fine now and she will have the baby in Split where her husband is waiting for her. These are just two of the nearly 500 people in this institution, and only one in four large places like this in Croatia.

The weather and the wall were not ideal for painting but we did our best in spite and did all we could in the short time we had. One volunteer that came with us was Andrea a hydro engineer from Italy who came to help us during half of his holiday time off to do this with us and went beyond to make sure the whole garden was clean as well. In the evening we sang songs in the TV room with some of the people we met, long days but it was an amazing experience for all of us. To see pictures of this project you can visit our Italian blog (sorry it is only in Italian) but the pictures are self explanatory. http://perunmondomigliore.wordpress.com/

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