Izzi Marsh – BEng Mechanical Engineering (with a Year in Industry)
Day 5 and our last day in the Mutende children’s Village. Another early start, getting up at 5am to start work by first light. Today was our last day to finish the playground and there was also a church service that a few of us wanted to go to so we needed to get a good few hours of work in before the 9am service.
The first jobs for the group are to finish all the painting, put up the castle walls and attach the two swings to our main frame- ideally before 9am. We achieved all this plus managed to cut out the table legs and tops to go under the main structure.
A few of us then went to the church service which was a real eye opener to the difference in culture between Zambian and British Christian Church services. There was a 20 minute session of intense and vocal prayer before singing and dancing for another 40 minutes.
The Reverend invited us up to the front to welcome us and thank us for the work we have been doing which was lovely. There was also a guest speaker, which meant the service went on for much longer than expected – it was lunch time when we got back to the Children’s Village. A few people had stayed behind to continue working so the project had come along really well in the time we’d been out; the bridge had been put up and the wood for the climbing structure had been attached.
THE CHILDREN ENJOYING THE PLAY STRUCTURE
After lunch we finished the climbing wall, attached the tables and the ladder and touched up scuffed paint on the castle walls. We finished the project and cleared away by 5pm which meant there was still an hour left of daylight. It was great to see the kids finally play in the playground- they were all so excited and energetic! We brought out icecream for us and the kids and took them to big mountain; a big hill close to the orphanage which we all slid down on empty plastic bottles creating trains with the kids. We climbed to the top, where you could see the whole of Chingola in the sunset. It was a great way to the week and the kids absolutely loved it!
MAGNIFICENT VIEWS AT THE “BIG MOUNTAIN”
Kay Tor – PhD Chemical Engineering
Today is our last day in Mutende, me and Joe have volunteered to start early, beginning our day at 05:20, trying our best to complete the work on time and to the best of our ability. As an appetiser to the day, Joe treated us to an involuntary leap of faith from one of the platforms; I will definitely remember that one!
Later that morning, the majority of the team accompanied the children to Church, where they received a warm welcome and appreciation for the work that we are doing for the orphanage. I’m sure I speak for the masses when I say we appreciated our stay as much as they did ours.
Meanwhile, a team stayed behind to continue the work on the play structure; it is at this time that we finally noticed the mistake that one of one of our Civil Engineers made. We attached the bridge that he helped design and immediately saw that it was far too long, reaching almost to the floor! A plentiful of selfies later, we took our turns on the ‘hammock’, before shortening it for the kids.
THE INITIAL BRIDGE WAS TOO LONG
After a quick lunch and reunion with the Church-goers, we began the final leg of the build, looking promising for an early finish. At 17:30, we observed our finished masterpiece, tidied up the area, and officially opened the playground to the children. A group of 40 kids swamped the castle, putting our construction to the test. It stood well!! It was an emotional finish and the reactions on the kids’ faces were priceless.
TEAM PHOTO ON THE FINISHED PLAY STRUCTURE
We then thought it would be a great idea to treat the children with some ice creams. That was a mammoth task, the continuous quick turnaround of cones for refills were terrifying. I have never, in my entire life, been attacked by ice creams!
We finished off the day by taking the children to the ‘Big Mountain’, which is just a stone’s throw away. Even then, the kids rarely get the opportunity to visit. As we arrived, the kids showed off the rock slope they had polished into a slide and gave us flattened scrap plastics to use as seats for a speedy ride down the slope.
Just before sunset, we took the kids to the top of the mountain. The view was magnificent!