Some of you will know our dear friend Rosie Leake. Not only does she unashamedly wear the most brilliantly patterned Gorman wardrobe on largely unappreciative worksites but at only 25 years old, she is a force to be reckoned with. Not willing to accept the status quo, it was not a surprise that she came to us one day to share that it was time to break free, think bigger, be bolder.
Through 2018 she has decided to take a year off from the daily grind to give back to the world. Leaving her full time gig, Rosie will travel across the world to volunteer with Playground Ideas. And by volunteer, we mean put her construction management skills to good use.
We have had so much fun hearing about her adventures, we decided to share them with the Gazella tribe. Her photos are so beautifully endearing, we well up with pride and happiness every time we receive another installment of her journey. Getting out there, giving back, pushing herself mentally and physically. She knows some people think her crazy. We think she’s a bloody legend.
So here we are at the start of it all. We’ll hand over to the penned words of Rosie Leake…
To the people I like,
I have recently decided to take a leap of faith and volunteer off and on for all of 2018. Aiming to give all I possibly can back to society I hit the google for skilled volunteering opportunities and stumbled upon an organisation called Playground Ideas. Naturally Alice was all over their work, which essentially is providing designs, skills, volunteers and resources for communities looking to build a playground for schools or similar.
The school we are working on in Sindhuli, Nepal is for the hearing impaired, the views are beautiful and the children are naturally superb and stoked to have strangers to stare at and play with. The focus of the project is both a playground build and striving for inclusion of all children in the local community. We ran a few days of play workshops to understand what equipment these particular children would love, have completed the design, procured the materials (car tyres, lots and lots of car tyres) and now comes the fun part, the build!
Please see below brief summary of the Playground build & Images of the scene attached (also pictured: my pint sized best friend). For context, the volunteering team consists of Cat, a play specialist from Melbourne (who was only here for concept & design), Socheta, graphics & playground designer from America, Claus, builder/normal job of IT professional from Denmark and yours truly.
I chucked on the trusty yet-to-partake-in-any-actual-
This is where the fun really began; Rosie equipped with a drill. Having said that, there is a power pole / power line issue occurring in the area so the comics of power-tool use were short lived (power only available in the mornings and at night for the next week, because, well, Nepal). After day two I can now officially say I have completed more things with a tyre than I ever thought possible; I have cleaned, primed, cut, drilled, bolted and painted until my un-trained body couldn’t work any more #saturdaysonsite.
Tyres, Tyres, Tyres and more Tyres. 83 to be exact. We have now cleaned and primed 83 tyres, falling vaguely into tractor, truck, car and motorbike categories. The children have been adorable in attempts to help, although I must say communication is a challenge with translating from English to Nepalese to Sign language. Many things like, ‘Please stop surrounding me, I will let you paint when I have actually got the tin open…’ are a lost cause and instead personal space barriers are broken left, right and centre. Potentially the exact definition of eager beavers.
Days 4 through 8
A note, which should have been mentioned above all others on site life in Nepal: we have an all women labourers for the project. The ratios have never been in my favour on a construction site, so naturally living the absolute, very foreign, dream. Skilled labourers are giving me slight safety anxiety attacks, but I guess that’s what happens when you move from a tier one contractor to a backyard welding operation. On two of the build days, Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge) was celebrated so the school erected flags and gave offerings. It was lovely to see, not very productive on site, but colourful non-the-less. We, one team one dream, have now completed two ox made from tyres, a bamboo garden, a sand pit, tile slide, tyre climber, soccer goals, basketball hoop, an amphitheater and a stage. Not to shabby for my first time at the rodeo, although I must admit I did manage to give myself blood rule four times and burnt myself two times throughout the week. Three of which were on the same day 🤦🏼♀️.
We winded our way back to Kathmandu this afternoon, where we prepare for the next adventure – a short lived stop in Mumbai on route to an Indian Village.