In Jan 2017, we returned to the community of Kyarumba to install more playground equipment. This time we installed 2 swing sets and 2 climbing towers in Rwenzori Mountain villages located high above Kyarumba.
First, we installed the swing sets. The village schools had been selected by our host Chrispus: Kiduku and Milhandu. There are no roads to the villages, only footpaths that can, if necessary, be traveled by motorcycle taxis (called boda-bodas in Eastern Africa). The villagers hand carried the pipe and other heavy swing set parts up the long distances to their mountain schools. Not an easy task. A strong indication of their commitment to the project. our crew traveled up by boda-bodas to both locations.
To say the trips up to the work sites were harrowing would be an understatement. The footpaths were frequently narrow with steep drop offs on at least one side, and occasionally on both. The routes were steep and sporadically rocky. On occasion, we had to get off and walk because the path was too steep for the under-powered motorcycles.
When we arrived at our work site, the village work crews were already assembled. And children appeared from all sides seemingly out of nowhere. We first assembled the frame for the swing set, then marked the location for the leg holes. While the villagers dug the holes, the children were tasked with collecting sand, rock, and water for the concrete. The days were unusually hot and humid, and the work was not easy. But everybody was committed to the project.
Before we placed the concrete, we attached one swing seat so the children could get a feel for how the swing worked. After the concrete was placed, we instructed the villagers not to use the swing for 24 hours, thus giving the concrete time to harden. This was anticlimactic for the children . . . but what could we do?
It is hard to explain how much fun these swing set projects are. The villagers and us visitors working together to get some playground equipment for the school children. To see the hard work of the local crew and the children is very rewarding. The second school site needed metal roofing panels for some classrooms they are constructing. We promised to help.
In addition to the swing sets, we had 2 climbing towers fabricated by a local welder in Kyarumba. Both towers were hand carried up a mountain road to 2 additional village schools (One had a swing set that we installed in August). At both sites the villagers were ready for the installation work (no assembly required). Life is good, our 55-hour stay in Kyarumba had been fun and productive. Does life get any better?