Monday, September 7, 2015

Big Changes on the Playground at the Family Support Center

Text and photos by Amy Scheuren, except as noted.

As many of you know, the Family Support Center is based in a private family home in Llanos del Pinal.  Pop Wuj pays rent to use certain rooms and the outdoor space with the idea that the project provides an alternative home for the participants.  In fact, some of the children and youth have lived there with their mothers when their families have had particularly rough patches.

Las chicas enjoying the swings in January, 2015

Unfortunately much of the outside space belongs to other family members and we are no longer able to use it.  The playground was torn down and the land is now a construction site for a new house. The kids, understandably, miss the playground, the soccer field, and outdoor space in general.

The land was cleared in August, 2015

Eventually the soccer goals were removed as well.

We're reusing some of the materials in other projects at the Family Support Center and
hoping to eventually reinstall the swings and soccer goals in a new space.

For the last month we have been talking with Family Support Center mothers and family members in an effort to find another piece of land that would be suitable for the playground, i.e. relatively close to the project, currently unused, flat land, and free or inexpensive.

Carmencita and I traveled to Llanos to look at three options and we decided on a piece of land owned by the relatives of one of our participant families.  It's geographically very close to the project, but due to the construction site where our old playground was, the kids have to walk down the road instead of just crossing the fields.

The land for the new playground

Including a lovely view of Santa Maria

And (temporarily) including cows
On Friday 8/28/15 we walked to the new site with the kids and started moving the rocks.  The goal is clear the land of the rocks, level it a bit, and get rid of the weeds.  Unfortunately, the process will be slow and the site is still considered temporary.

Moving a rock that might be best left alone.  Photo by Gustavo Gomez

Finding different ways to move the rocks, Photo by Gustavo Gomez

Photo by Gustavo Gomez

Even the little ones helped! Photo by Gustavo Gomez

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we're hopeful that the kids will soon have a playground again!

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