Friday, March 1, 2013

March 1, 2013 10:00 AM—Flags


I think every volunteer hits a point in their service where boredom strikes.  Where you are so bored it’s depressing.  I would also venture to say that for most volunteers this point comes pretty early in their service because eventually they get working on enough projects that they aren’t all that bored.  For me, this point came about 2 months into site.  I really racked my brain as to what I could do in all my spare time besides reading books and re-watching movies I’ve already seen 10 times.  And then finally it hit me…Flags!

Back home I had already memorized all countries and capitals of the world but I didn’t know all the flags of these countries.  But I needed a good way to learn them that was somewhat productive.  In the process of trying to come up with something to entertain myself with in the first place, I had also thought about doing some sort of arts and crafts project.  So I decided to take these two ideas and combine them.

After being at site for about 2 months I started making world flags.  I had a lot of cardboard boxes from receiving packages and I had an overabundance of Time Magazines.  I cut the boxes into rectangular pieces (the shape of most flags) and then I used pieces of magazines for the colors I needed for each flag.  I simply glued these pieces to the cardboard and Voilà!

Obviously I knew I couldn’t possibly make every flag.  There are over 200 world flags and I had less than 2 years left.  However, I did manage to make 69 flags.  If I had continued at the same pace I had started, I would have definitely gotten more than 100, but as my service progressed I got busier and busier, so my “boredom project” just dropped off due to lack of boredom.  After finishing each one I would hang them on the wall in my kitchen.



From making all these flags I learned a lot about flags in general.  You can look at a lot of world flags and be able to identify the region of the world that the flag comes from without even knowing which flag it is.  Flags of the same region often share the same symbols, colors, or design.  Here are some examples of those similarities.

These Scandinavian countries all have the same flag design with different colors for each.

Finland

Sweden

Norway


These South American countries have the same colors and they both use the sun as a symbol.

Argentina

Uruguay


These Muslim/Middle Eastern countries have the crested moon as a symbol.

Pakistan

Turkey

Algeria



These Asian countries both use the same colors and they use the symbol of the star.

China

Vietnam


These two countries were members of the former Yugoslavia.  Their flags both use the same colors and a very similar design.

Slovenia

Slovakia


These South Pacific countries share some similar features.  They all have the same colors and use the star as a symbol.  Two of these flags also contain the British flag.

The Cook Islands*

New Zealand

Samoa


Even though many flags share common attributes, some of my favorite flags are the ones that are most unique.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Dominica

Gibraltar*

Lesotho

Macedonia

Marshall Islands

Mongolia

Nepal 
(The only non-rectangular flag)


And finally, I'll pay tribute to some of my East African neighbors

Ethiopia

Kenya

*Not all of the flags I made are flags of countires

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