Zambia 2017 – Saturday 2nd September

Hannah Bowen – BEng Aerospace Engineering

Today we began to assemble the structure, having sourced the wood needed. The wood we required for the upright arrived as untreated tree trunks, and it took us half a day to remove the bark from them. However, progress was made well, and all of the structural uprights for the climbing frame and the swing were erected and cemented in place by the end of the day.

While some team members were erecting the uprights, others began working on the other parts that needed to be made. A ladder was made using the old uprights that we had taken down the day before, and was painted. We also started to prepare the offcuts from the uprights for use on a swing bridge. A lot of wood had to be cut for the floor panels and the castle walls, and these then had to be sanded down to ensure that the children do not get splinters whilst playing on  the structure, before being painted to protect the wood. The fact that the wood does not come prepared to the same sort of standard as in the UK is quite a time consuming challenge, as the beams are often not straight, still have bark on them, or vary in width along their length. This has to be taken into consideration for all of the designs.

Whilst we are working, the children love to sit alongside our cordoned area and talk to us or watch what we are doing. They are excited by everything that’s going on, often breaching the boundaries we’ve defined, and it’s not infrequent to find them running around with one of our tape measures! I was also worried that I wouldn’t get enough time to take as many pictures as I’d have liked, but I needn’t have been concerned as the children are constantly pestering us for our phones and cameras to take pictures and videos themselves- I think I’m more excited to see those pictures than any others!



The work is enjoyable, and it’s rewarding to know how excited the children are to have their new play area. We’ve tried to keep our plans relatively secretive from the children, but they try to ask us all to tell them what we’re building in the hope that someone will give them a clue. After lunch, we often spend a little bit of time playing with the children before we get back to work, and I think that this may be my favourite time of the day. I’ve taught them to play ‘Duck, duck, goose’ and ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’, and in return they’ve sang some lovely songs and showed us some pretty impressive magic tricks.



With so many components of the structure having been prepared separately today, I’m excited for tomorrow as a lot of the structure will be assembled and we’ll start to see the climbing frame slowly materialise.