Scene 5: Let There Be Playgrounds!




The team had an early morning meeting scheduled in Flamingo to go over design details with Adi, Sarah, Scott, Steve, and Terrence. The playground structure was also to be delivered and installed later in the day.


Cast of Characters

The WPI Flamingo Team – Jacquelyne, Malina, Andres, Justin, Kristin

Advisors – Scott & Steve

Community Members – Marky

ISN – Terrence

CORC – Adi

CECD – Sarah Atmore



Flamingo Crescent Informal Settlement



Jacquelyne, Malina, and Justin drove up into Flamingo with Scott and Steve, ready for the early morning meeting. Adi, Sarah, and Terrence were already on site and quickly caught us up to speed on what they had discussed. Standing inside of the crèche, it quickly became apparent that additional support beams and columns were going to be needed. The entire building was swaying and creaking from the wind in a way that led us to originally believe someone was walking around on top of the roof. Adi headed the meeting pointing out that there were several design details that needed to be decided on today. The first was the dire need for additional support to ensure the building was structurally sound. Everyone was in agreeance this was of the upmost importance and had to be fixed today. It was decided two support columns along with additional roofing beams would be added. The next order of business was lighting and ventilation. This conversation went back and forth for a while due to the multitude of opinions and preferences. In the end, it was decided two windows would be added along with ventilation along the walls. The last design detail to go over was the size and location of the partition walls for the toilets and kitchen space. This led to another lengthy discussion that eventually resulted in Justin designing the area later in the day.

By the time the meeting was coming to a close, the bus had arrived with Andres and Kristin. Before everyone scattered off, we gave Adi and Shakeel their WPI t-shirts. Shakeel was incredibly thankful for it and even came up to Malina and Jacquelyne to tell them he loved his present.

Now the wait began for the long anticipated delivery of the playground structure. With not much to do, Justin went to work out some of the design details with Terrence while the rest of the team worked on painting. Yolanda had previously expressed interest in getting a rainbow painted on the side of her toilet facing the play area. Midway through this the PlayVenture truck arrived with the structure. After introducing ourselves and explaining the layout of the space, the two workers from PlayVentures began the installation process. The rest of us went back to finishing up the mural and painting the remaining tire gardens.


The Mural for Yolanda’s Toilet

Once all of the painting was finished, we shifted gears to constructing some of the tire structures for the play area by drilling holes into the tires and connecting them with nuts and bolts. Unfortunately this process proved more difficult than it originally seemed due to the abundance of wire reinforcement within the tire. We struggled through using makeshift methods and eventually got the majority of the tires connected. By this point, the playground structure was in its final stages of installation, so we watched on as they finished up.

It immediately became clear this structure was going to be a hit with the kids. Although they had been crowding the installation process, curious what was going on, once the structure was upright they couldn’t wait to start climbing all over it. Ideally the structure is supposed to sit for 3 days before being played on. However, seeing that keeping the children off of it was going to be a loosing battle, Jan from PlayVentures ensured us the structure would be fine.  The resting period wasn’t for structural purposes but rather to allow for the oil to dry since it’s difficult to remove from clothes. With this, we decided to choose our battles wisely and left for the day pretending the structure would remain untouched until at least the morning.

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The Installed PlayVenture’s Structure




This was a whirlwind of a day. The morning meeting made it clear that not having a detailed design completed before construction was catching up to us. However, this tends to be how things work here, at least for the WPI project center. It’s been difficult for us to figure out as a team how to solve any problems that arise during construction since some of it is beyond our scope of knowledge. These gaps and problematic details that continue to arise have definitely begun to weigh on our stakeholders. We’re optimistic though that by continuing to work collaboratively and openly discuss any questions or concerns, this project can get done properly within our time frame.

As a team we had a difficult time efficiently getting work done since the kids are curious and constantly all over us. This becomes difficult especially when we are dealing with power tools. Although we definitely got frustrated with the kids today, seeing their faces of utter excitement with the installation of this play structure reminds us why we are doing this. It’s easy to forget that the children behave this way not because they are bad but rather because they don’t know any better. They haven’t necessarily been taught how to share or listen when an adult tells them not to stick their and near a power drill. Collectively we are hoping our project work will give them the resources to be taught these life skills and channel their energy in a healthy and safe environment.