After months of planning, some massive fundraising efforts, and the collective support of not only members of GEO, but also friends, family and colleagues outside of the gym, the dream of building a playground for some orphans in Tanzania finally came to fruition.
We arrived on site not knowing what materials we had to work with or what tools we would have available. All we knew was that somehow we were going to build these kids a playground. If ever the CrossFit mantra of “be prepared for the unknown and unknowable” applied, it was here.
We stopped off at a “Tanzanian Bunnings” on the way to Rainbow Ridge – picture a room about 3m x 3m with random tools stacked on shelves and hanging overhead in no particular order – and bought a couple of hammers, chisels and some rope.
As soon as we arrived, we surveyed the area, worked out where the playground was going, and got stuck into it. The most difficult task was dealing with bowed timber posts, and trying as much as possible to make them level.
Not having access to materials we have back home, we decided to dig post holes about 700m deep and then secure them by pouring in a mixture of dirt and crushed stones which was packed down around the posts. We were pretty proud of our efforts until a couple of the local guys who were hired to help us, brought out a bag of cement for us to use. We didn’t know they had any…..quite clearly. Don’t we feel like tools. We’d just spent a couple of hours collecting stones around the property and breaking them up with hammers.
Putting in the posts took most of the day but we were able to start prepping stuff for the next day – cutting bamboo to act as our monkey bars, cutting 4 x 2 timber lengths to act as support beams and balance beams. It was hot, dusty, exhausting and at times a little frustrating, but we were happy with our progress for day 1.
The next day we turned up with a number of different tasks to perform which we could delegate to teams. The day would flow a lot quicker.
The playground started to take shape. The bamboo monkey bars were strapped into place; the climbing rope was set up; the balance beam was secured; the gymnastics rings were thrown on; and another climbing rope was plaited together using much thinner lengths so now we had two ropes.
It took a lot longer than we anticipated but the kids were getting excited and we could barely hold them back from climbing all over it once we finished.
At one stage we had about 7 kids all clambering across the monkeys bars at once – any anxieties we had about the integrity of the construction were quickly put to rest.
The kids absolutely loved the playground. We literally couldn’t get them off to make a few minor additions to it. It was a real joy to see the smiles on their faces and there was such a sense of satisfaction to watch the kids having so much fun.
Many of you helped us to make this dream a reality so Johanna and I (on behalf of the “Friends of the World Foundation”) would like to thank you for your support. You don’t know how much we appreciate it.
And to the GEO crew over here in Tanzania who got their hands dirty and put in two very solid days of work – you guys are awesome! Thank you for giving up your time to be able to give to some kids who I am sure really really appreciate what we did for them.
WORKOUT OF THE DAY
1RM Front Squat
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Clean & Jerk @ 60%
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 Ring Dips