Building Walls and Constructing Playgrounds
by William Conradie
This week we were separated into 2 groups. The first half did two and a half days using recycled material to create playground objects that were set up at Ntabende Primary School at the end of the Mulangwanes, about 30 mins from Quest. The other half stayed with Mr. Sam Mphosa building walls and pillars on the workshop floor. The building course consisted of mixing cement, plastering walls and laying bricks. Most of us at the end of the course had leaning towers of Pisa and were only good to mix cement whilst a few were considered as true builders by Mr. Mphosa.
We swapped over on Wednesday afternoon. The community work for my team consisted of making a see-saw. Dayna, Somerset and I started off by sanding an existing base and trying to paint it purple. Pat thought he knew what he was doing by mixing blue and red to make a bright purple. The final colour was dark grey. Matt and Ulrich on the other hand were trying to devise a plan to make the see-saw pivot. We ended up using second hand gum-poles and a steel bar that went through the poles and the base of the see-saw. Thursday morning we finished off painting and putting termite muti on the poles. That afternoon we finished the first groups projects on the playground and did a quick tour of the school which used to be an old farm house. The students packed in small classrooms looking at us with big eyes, smiles on their faces and making lots of noise shouting “Kiwa!!!”. This automatically put a smile on our faces too.
That night, smiles put away we headed off to the vlei for a cold drizzely night as Mr H decided our tents were a mess and the weather forecast had chances of rain… which was too tempting for him to miss!
Friday morning came, all stiff and sore from the hard floor we packed our see-saw and the lady-bug we had made, onto the pick-up and headed off in 2 cars to the school. After tea time, we had to entertain the grade 2’s for an hour. Games included limbo dancing (which turned into a boot – camp exercise), ‘Duck Duck Goose’, ‘Stuck in the mud’, ‘Head Shoulders Knees and Toes’ which turned into all parts of the body and then into the Macarena dance lead by Ulrich and Matt. To finish off Angus and Matt made the kids do press-ups, sit ups and jumping jacks to show them what we do at Quest.
During the week we had many talks. These ranged from the slightly controversial topic of ‘Why Follow Rules’ by James Maberly to the benefits of long distance running by Jonathan Rowland, to a behind the scenes look at working on the super yachts in the Mediterranean by Peter Trethowan. We also had a fascinating talk by Simon Guillebaud who works as a modern day missionary in Burundi. During the late afternoons we also managed to get quite a bit of horse riding in with 2 groups having lessons and one group heading out on a trail ride.
Saturday was triathlon day! During the week we had spent all our early morning PT sessions preparing ourselves for which ever part of the triathlon we were attempting. We arrived at the Bulawayo boat club and set up camp for the night before the race that started at 3pm. I swam a long and never ending 1500m in the middle of the Ncema dam. I got out of the water without any power left in my legs to go tag Pat to start the cycle. Once Pat returned after his 20km, Somerset left for his 10km run. All the runners gone, the cyclists and swimmers waited at the finish line to cheer for their team mates. Matt came in first in the Full Team Triathlon. He also managed to beat one of the Zim Elite triathletes in the running section. Prize Giving was celebrated by Quest winning Team 3rd place (Chris – Steve – Tim) and Team 1st place (Rhys – Kieran – Matt). Sunday, we just “chilled” at the dam, swimming canoeing and some managed a waterski, returning to Quest in the late afternoon.