Details of the Crèche Work

When the children were all sleeping during nap time, the team went out to begin repairs. The swings were rusted so we could only take some down to repair.  It would take a hacksaw or some tool to cut through rusted bolts and chains to complete the preparation for repairs. The play set was sanded down and the trash was picked up, with the help of some recently awakened children. However, there is still a lot of trash in a pile in the back of the crèche yard.

On a different work day, the team went to paint the back wall, tunnels, and tires. We started by sweeping off the back wall of dirt, then the team divided into three groups. The teams consisted of those painting the tires with spray paint, those painting the South African flag onto one tunnel, and those painting the back wall white. As we worked, some of the local villagers came to help with painting and drawing murals on the back wall. We used an entire bucket of white paint, and covered most of the wall. Most of the flag was painted, and needed only to have the thin stripes added.

Our first attempt at repairing the swings took two more efforts. With the help of the WPI team working in Oude Molen Eco Village and a hacksaw from our sponsor, we were able to remove the rusted bolts from the swings. This completed the preparatory work. The second effort occurred when two of our group members went into the crèche to finish the job. Finishing the job involved placing new bolts on the structure, hanging the chains, cutting the tires, and fastening the tires to the chains. The most difficult part of this was cutting the tires. With the help of a reciprocating saw, one tire was cut into a seat.  Great progress was being made, but we hit a roadblock when trying to cut across the tread. When a replacement saw arrived, we found our progress had been impeded because the tire had metal in it. Fortunately, the saw was able to cut through the metal, and the second tire was cut. With these two tires cut, the group attached the swings to the chains, completing the first repair attempt.

Unfortunately, we learned galvanized steel is a relatively soft steel and would not do the job for a swing set.  This was made clear after seeing d-brackets split in two from friction.  Our team acted quickly to replace the hardware with stronger stainless steel.  However, we only had time to rehang one of the three swings.  We left the remaining hardware with the community and explained what needed to be done.

   The painting of the back wall and the tunnels continued. Three members of the group went in one day to finish painting the tunnels. By the days’ end, both tunnels were painted. The flag on the first was complete and the second was a colorful collage of shapes, triangles, hearts, quadrangles, and random shapes. We also splatter painted the sandbox to liven it up.  By using existing colors and mixing, at least half a dozen colors were splattered onto the sandbox.  The result of a little bit of paint was incredible.  The community has continued painting the back wall of their own initiative using the purchased supplies. The wall is turning into a beautiful mural, complete with hand prints, landscapes, letters, numbers, and your neighborhood friendly Spider-Man.