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Thread: Play Ground of Hope

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan

    Play Ground of Hope

    I've taken on the role of an adviser for a group called Playground of Hope

    They build playgrounds in the communities devastated by the March 2011 earthquake, yes many of the smaller communities are still struggling.

    They import the playsets from the US and then get a team of volunteers to build them on site. Often there is corporate sponsorship, or local small community sponsorship for building the play sets. Many of the communities were wiped from the earth, down to the foundations, and the government is taking it's sweet time deciding if they will allow the communities to be rebuilt in the same location. Often everyone who survived is living in temporary housing built quickly by the government and there is nothing for the kids to play on. Since it started a little over a year ago, 18 play sets have been built, next year if they get funding they hope to build 40 sets.

    Here is one of these temp communities, not much for the kids to do here.

    The playset that was built, by the locals and volunteers from elsewhere, they hold a BBQ party to celebrate when each build is done.

    We build from fairly small playsets...

    ... to some very large ones....

    These will certainly take more time to build, but I'm working on ways to speed things up.

    As I cannot get away from Tokyo very often I don't go on many builds, I am advising them on how to build in efficiency, and to make the builds much easier for the office workers and housewives who come to help. In the beginning they took 4 days to erect a playset, now I've got them doing it in just over 2 days, I hope to get it down to just 2 days and even less than than by early next year. The area they go is about an 8 hour drive North of Tokyo and often there is not much in the way of Home Centers nearby, so they have to take everything with them. The guys that run the builds are smart dedicated people, but there is not one tradesman in the group, but they learn quickly and listen so they are a pleasure to work with. There are all kinds of things that they are just not aware of for building this kind of timber frame construction (which is what it is basically) even leveling the site and digging some sort of foundation was not in their skill sets. Stuff like making sure they had enough tools to go around for a build. The one build here in Tokyo that I helped on was good, but we were constantly borrowing tools from each other, but that was an easy fix, buy more tools! I'll also be helping them to customize the large van they use to transport the tools etc, right now it is just all tossed in the back, we need to build a false floor and then some racks inside to put all the tool boxes and parts boxes. The hardware needed for these builds is staggering, in the actual amount but also in the variety, and if you are constantly hunting for parts, you waste a LOT of time.

    Should be quite the adventure, great people to work with, a great cause and a real challenge for sure. I'm also sure I'll be coming here to pick your brains for ideas on how to make things go smoother.

    Last edited by Stuart Ablett; 03-05-2014 at 10:26 AM.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  2. #2

    I worked on a similar project here at a park near the school where my wife worked. Between Sharon, myself and our youngest son Mike, we put in something like 60 hours from Wednesday through Sunday afternoon when it completed and the official ceremonies.

    Good on ya' Stu!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Great cause Stu, well done!


    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word boo. Robert Brault

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Well done Stu. That sounds like a very worthy cause.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    That's great Stu. I'm sure that the kids and their families really appreciate it

    That temporary community looks more like a prison I hope they will get to rebuild their own homes soon.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Nova Scotia, 45N 64W
    I'm really glad this is coming together Stu. It's important and satisfying work and I could sense your excitement when we talked about it a couple of weeks ago. You will be a great addition to their team

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Billings Missouri near Springfield Mo
    Good on you Stu
    A Turn N Time
    Components for John Smith Organs and the Hobby Organ Builder

    Frog Pond Guitars

    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    Good for you and all of the non-tradesmen helpers!!!!

    Thanks and Enjoy,
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

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