Painting nails in the emergency shelter
Wednesday afternoon, the unit at the Star Lodge Hotels emergency shelter on Biltsestraatweg is buzzing with activity. Groups of smiling and chatting girls gather around neighbourhood resident Eline Hoogstra. If you look closely, you can see what is happening. Nail painting. Red, purple, blue, with glitter. Eline paints the girls’ nails with precision and to their full satisfaction. After a nail-polishing session, the little ladies walk proudly and happily through the emergency shelter.
Eline lived in Johannesburg for a few years, she says. ‘There I did a lot of volunteer work for Childline. And one of the biggest “hits” was painting nails with adolescents in the sunlight safehouses in the townships. Just painting, laughing and happy colours.’ Eline now lives near the emergency shelter. She indicated to Welkom in Utrecht that she would like to do something with and for the teenage girls there. No sooner said than done: we arranged the place, and the materials and informed the girls. Eline enjoyed painting. Many little ones also came with their mothers. She now has a regular group of girls who join her every week. Not only them, but Eline also enjoys the afternoon: ‘Those happy faces… and even though we don’t understand each other, the little girls already know which colours they like and the flower nail stickers are a favourite!