Note: Pavla and Ema helped Rasto to write today’s blog post. Their comments are in italics.
My eyes were still half closed and my breakfast unfinished when first kids arrived in the morning at 7:45. We had an excellent plan prepared for today. Our intention was to start with a new activity, but as soon as kids arrived they grabbed their cordless drills and started improving and modifying the chairs they made yesterday. They got so involved in it! It became clear to me that they just don’t have enough of practising the the skill they learned yesterday. OK, changing plans. Let’s go for the Plan B. Let’s drive some more screws.
After the terrible tsunami a group of unfortunate Quameaukirikis got trapped on a little island surrounded by water infested with sharks. They desperately need help. One of the options is to make some kind of a catapult by which we would be able to shoot some food packages to the island. But kids decided for the other option – to build a bridge. Well, obviously this is more permanent solution. A catapult would help only temporarily. I cannot but totally agree with them.
After my short introduction to the concept of closed triangles in bridge and crane structures children got to taking apart their beloved chairs. The thing is we will need a lot of material for the bridge. One group went to survey the disaster area (bottom end of the garden) and find out what would be the best place to build a bridge at. We discovered that the sea is the narrowest between the last elevated garden terrace and the lowest branch of the nearby walnut tree. We need to bridge a 4 metre distance.
Devising, combining, assembling. Will it ever work?
Ok, this is four meters. Ema and Pavla gradually found a way how to overlap the plywood strips to create a triangular structure Rastio talked about.
Everyone delved vigorously into taking the chairs apart. In half an hour all the drill batteries were spent and our the results of our yesterday's work was reduced to rubble.
Mathias and Michael are having hard time parting with their chairs.
Don't disturb! Hard work going on here. Pavla, Yuri and Marian working as if on a production line!
All reclaimed material needs to be stocked back onto pallets.
We are going the check the distance.
In spite of having it measured with a tape measure, children still felt the need to make sure that the bridge will be long enough. „Measure twice - cut once" - this is especially true for bridge building, obviously.
Too shoort? Too long? Just about right.
For now it doesn't seem that this flexible snake could ever become a rock solid bridge.
Wow, that's what I call long!
And only put it all together!
Mario and Pavla put their goggles on. Not that they would need them, but it looks cool :-). In just a moment Yuri joins them too.
„Only a few more screws!“ exclaimed Ema.
Out of the two long "snakes" prepared by the rest of the team Ema with Mathias measured the geometry and put together the first side frame.
OK, this is our plan. What does it actually mean?
Unlike yesterday, when we let ourselves drift purely on the wings of momentary inspiration, today we have "a plan".
After hard work it's time get some rest. Although this doesn't exactly qualify as a rest.
We have a half an hour left before lunch, but the batteries on most of the drills are drained. Well, kids had enough anyway. A pre-lunch siesta in the net and the play house will fix it all.
Mathias has always energy to spare.
Later during the lunch we discovered his secret - Mathias is soup-powered. Three full portions, all together 8 scoops of soup. Even our grandpa doesn't eat that much.
AAA whoop! This is a way to get down from the tree too.
„I see the entire world from up here!“
Michael doesn't miss a single chance to clime a tree. Luckily, one of the walnut trees is ideal for climbing.
But don't let go, Michael!
The bridge structure is almost finished.
After lunch kids go immediately back to our unfinished bridge. Both children and drill batteries are now fully charged.
„Screw this thing here as well,“ advises Mario.
Team works pays off.
Yesterday was all about discovery and skill building. Today is about team work. We experienced much more bargaining and arguing and even some conflicts (especially when two kids wanted to do the same), but the team has always managed to eventually agree on who would be doing which part. There is no bridge building without cooperation - it's as simple as that.
The caterpillar is crawling out.
Thomas inspects the quality of craftsmanship from the inside.
Its strong enough!
The structure successfully passed the inspection so we can proceed with the first load test. We put one end of the bridge to our worktable. We need a railing and all will be good.
„Where should I attach the railing?“ asks Pavla.
Ema is attaching the railing in the confined space with difficulties.
Well, to me it seems more like a party under the bridge.
„Yeah, I got it done now!“
„Wait. I wanna be in the picture too!“ cries Yuri from behind Ema's back.
I'm doing great!
(Pavla and Ema had to go to sleep, so I'll have to finish writing the blog by myself.)
Safety first. Mathias came out with an idea for the railing and how to attach it. Then he just showed the others the columns they are supposed to make. We need to add a rope and we are good.
Now this oversized cargo needs to be transported from the yard to the bottom end of the garden (some 100 meters). Mission of the day - not to trample on the beans on the sides of the narrow path.
It's not easy, but the seven kids can even transport a bridge if need be.
Smooth course of the operation is overseen also by a flock of geese.
Now how to get the bridge to the right spot on the walnut tree. Here comes the time for an improvised pulley and a group of weight lifters. With the pulley crew - Ema and Mathias - holding the bridge in the raised position. Jane is assisting up on the tree.
And there it is! We managed. The first brave Quameaukirikan tries to cross over the bridge to safety. For now only on his knees.
Just a jump from the tree and he will be safe.
Before we know it there are crowds of Quameaukirikans crossing the bridge and more are coming. Some faces of the victims seems strangely familiar? How is that possible?
Michael is getting ready for jumping from the tree to the much desired safety.
There is just no end to the rows of Quameaukirikans. One cannot but wonder how many people were there trapped in such a small island.
Saved victims are served drinks and then they are immediately off to somewhere. Perhaps running to be saved again?
The very last saved victim was a dog. It crossed the bridge, even though with great skepticism, but the whole business of jumping from the tree and using the rope was not at all to his liking.
A couple of family pictures before we call it the day.
A happy group of saved victims (without Thomas, who had to go home a little earlier today).
And here are their tired brave saviors (without Thomas, who had to go home a little earlier today).
See you again tomorrow.