It took long and we loved every second of it. We finished building our first playground: “TuKu” (PLAY in Acholi language) and it was a more rewarding experience than either one of us could have imagined. Of course there were some challenges, such as accessing the refugee settlement areas, acquiring permits from the Office of Prime Minister, cutting trees for lumber, to transporting tires on our rental motorcycle. Once we shipped the elements and pieces to the site we thought the rest would be a breeze, until we found out the site is sitting on 5 inches of soil and the rest is solid rock! Our weapons to go through the rocks were heavy metal rods and pick axes. Overall, there has been so much love, laughter, sweat and blisters. We truly wish it could go on forever.
We could have not find any place more suitable than this for our first project. We were able to bring laughter, play, and love to the orphan children, many of whom lost their parents right in front of their innocent eyes, and had to flee to their neighbouring countries, living with less than bare minimum. We miss them already! They were our greatest teachers! After all they have been through they are all still just sources of love and peace. The moment we arrived to their home with the playgrounds materials, they all joined us in digging with their shovels. The first time we visited them they were just hiding in the shade from the scalding sun, and we didn’t hear laughter, we didn’t see play. Now, the kids run to the playground at dawn and fill the space with laughter and play right until dusk. Even one of the residents of the villages close by told us how her son runs to playground before she wakes up and doesn’t come back home until it’s dark. She was more than happy for this, to see her son enjoying playtime.
My new beastly sweet brother Olara, Mr. Uganda that I have been coaching here came along on the last day to give us a (super powerful) hand.
The total cost of this playground was $2420 CAD, which is less than what we were expecting.
100% of all funds raised through our non-profit go directly toward building playgrounds. We were able to fund this playground from our birthday pledge and gofundme. We cannot thank all our friends enough for supporting us and helping us making this happen. Love you all. Thank you for giving us so much love and support – we really mean it when we say that the love we receive from our friends and family around the world is being shared here. It keeps us going and motivates us everyday.
We are stoked about what is coming up next. 50 playgrounds in 1 year! We are teaming up with Playground Ideas from Australia and Gudgudee from India in the biggest project of its kind in India.
Basically one playground per week. We are building these playgrounds in low-income public schools where there is no space for kids to play.
It was only few months ago when Sohnia and I decided to sell everything we own, leave Canada and build playgrounds for children, and now we are embarking on a journey to take on the largest multi-playground project ever.
Since we couldn’t get our Indian visa for more than 30 days from Uganda, now we are heading to Nepal to get our visa there and then, we are off to India.
Stay put for more updates!