Scene iv: Full Steam Ahead


With only six days on site remaining, we intended long days and a productive final push. We frantically worked to ensure all resources were secured or available for the rest of the projects. Each of us were delving deep into projects, finishing some and getting a great start on others. It was a display of teamwork and communication.

Cast of Characters

WPI Safe House Team




WPI Flamingo Crescent Team


The sun beat down on the Safe House yard and the wind blew dust throughout the entire complex. With a fairly quiet day as far as the number of women in the Safe House, we were lucky enough to work with A., K., and Golden with few unforeseen challenges. Some women came and went as they pleased to weigh in advice, input, and express their desires. Amongst our team and partners for the day, the atmosphere was buzzing with activity and hard work was evident in most sections of the Safe House yard.

Action and Observations

We planned on working on the water feature, tire ladder, balance beams and dryer lines. We started by trying to finish the tire ladder. This proved impossible when we discovered we only had one tire, instead of the four that we needed, that fit onto the ladder we built the day before. We decided to let Chrissy work on painting the one tire we had while the rest of us moved on to the water feature.

Chrissy painting with boys

Chrissy painting tires with help from A. and K.

After we installed the basin, we laid the small, trickle-down bowls and rebuilt the rock wall surrounding the main feature. We determined the first step would be getting the basins back into place so we could place the flowers without getting in the way of the water flow. This took a bit longer than we thought because stabilizing the bowls on top of cinder blocks proved to be more difficult than we had anticipated. We finally got them properly placed and worked at getting them cleaned out. We needed to use a hose to rinse out the bowls and we were missing the piece to connect the hose and spigot. With a little work, and a few wet shoes, we were able to attach the hose and get our cleaning done.

After the bowls were set, Julia, Sam and Jonathan began working on the aesthetics of the water feature area while Jacob worked on cutting for the balance beam. Jonathan, Sam and Julia positioned the plants and the remaining rocks in the garden bed, then mixed new compost and dirt into the soil to provide nutrients. They dug holes and planted plants around the water feature. Once the water feature was complete, Jake and Jon went to CashBuild to purchase new hinges for the gate as the old ones were not strong enough. Meanwhile Sam, Chrissy and Julia worked on the tire ladder. After the boys returned, they set about repairing the gate while the girls measured out the dimensions and began drilling holes for the placement of the tires. After the boys finished, they assisted the girls with the tire ladder and securely attached the first rung in the ladder. We put the project on hold for the rest of the day because we coordinated with the Flamingo Crescent team to get more properly sized tires.

After those projects were finished Jake began digging holes to place the poles for the drying lines and Jon worked on the tire for the balance beam. It quickly became clear the tire could not be cut without more specialized tools that we did not have. This decision cut down on the amount of tires we still needed however that still left us with the need for three properly sized tires for the tire ladder.

Finished fountain

The fountain with basins and rocks placed and plants ready to be implanted


Today we made an excellent stride in connecting with the Flamingo team. When we ran into an issue with the tire ladder, we remembered the Flamingo team also was working with tires and placed a call. They explained that they were getting more that day, and offered to bring us some of the proper sized tires that afternoon. This was a great moment of intergroup interaction as it showcased how we both took a step back and saw the importance of the other team’s project as well as making the schedule work for us both.

A second outcome of the Flamingo team coming to drop the tires off was the opportunity for them to see where and what we had been working on. It was great getting to see them recognize the various projects we had been discussing and it gave us a lot of inspiration and made us really appreciate the work we were doing.

Reflection and Learning

Today we made two changes to our plans, potentially the last time we can make an adjustment before the end of the project. While attempting to cut a slot in tires to allow the balance beam to be inserted, we ran into an issue of cutting the tires. The steel cord running along the perimeter proved to be too hard to cut in a practical amount of time. To correct this, we will use posts to support each end of the beam. We hope this solution can be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time.

The last adjustment to our designs was that of the stepping poles. With a lack of resources, we could not acquire the 30cm diameter round timber we had originally hoped for. In place, we decided to use three readily available gum poles, each with a diameter of about 10cm, fastened together to create a large enough surface for the kids to safely step. The rest of the design remained unchanged after this replacement.

Notes for Future Scenes

The next work days will hopefully be a hectic and stressful but extremely rewarding time. We may quickly become overwhelmed, but we must keep days like today as a reminder of how much can be accomplished in a single day. With the last weekend coming up, we will attempt to arrange jobs the women can accomplish without us to maximize results.

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