The big one…
Today we had one of our biggest tasks to date – five members of staff, four adventure activity stations and about a hundred children.
The venue, a public park in the town of Peaora, took a couple of hours to get to. We had to be up at 05:00 and ready to leave by 05:30 to make sure that we arrived on site by 08:00, allowing for time to stop at McDonald’s to get breakfast along the way of course. After showing up bang on time we learned that we couldn’t actually start setting up until the council had approved use of the park, which for some reason hadn’t been sorted in advance. As a result of the lack of organisation we spent about an hour sitting in the van when we could’ve been getting everything ready, or better yet, in bed sleeping! It wasn’t until nearly 09:00 that we had the chance to actually get going, which left us behind schedule, and having to rush everything before the kids turned up.
It got to 10:00 (when the children were meant to show up) and we still had a few bits to do, but there wasn’t a kid in sight. Ten or fifteen minutes later we finally had everything ready, but still nobody had turned up. Eventually our host had to go wandering to find out where everybody was, while the rest of us stayed put and passed time by playing on the inflatables. It wasn’t until 10:50 that the group finally arrived, which meant less work for us to do, so we had no complains really.
In theory it was easy, we split the kids into a morning session and an afternoon session so that we didn’t have to deal with all of them at once, then split each session into four groups of twelve of thirteen to maintain some kind of order. The activities included rock climbing, an obstacle course, a basketball challenge and a gladiator challenge. Each group had half an hour per activity and then rotated to the next, which gave everybody the chance to try all four activities.
I was put on the gladiator challenge again and for me the morning seemed to fly by. All four groups behaved well, and although I did have to deal with a few kids who got scared or didn’t want to play, nobody gave me any trouble. Thankfully the weather was holding out for us too, even though the sky was full of black clouds.
The afternoon session was pretty much exactly the same just with older children, who sometimes had a bit more of an attitude, but packed it in as soon as we threatened to send them back indoors. I actually swapped with another member of the team after a while and had my first experience operating the basketball challenge, which was enjoyable but not as fun as watching kids trying to hit each other with bags while defending themselves with shields. Abbie stayed on the rock climbing wall all day because she’s an expect at that now, and before we knew it the time had come for us to start putting everything away. Everything had been going so well until then and we thought that we maybe stood a chance of getting packed away in good time too, but then that’s when the rain started.
It started as a shower which we thought would pass, but then got heavier, and then really started belting down on us. We all had rain coats but ended up drenched from head to toe. Working on the field didn’t help either because it left our shoes muddy, feet soaked, and ankles freezing. What could have been an hours work had the rain held off for just a little longer took us nearly three hours altogether, and left all of the inflatables not only dripping wet, but much heavier too!
Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, after getting all of the bits loaded on to the back of the vans and the rock wall fixed to the tow bar, the truck only went and got stuck in the mud. We tried and tried to get it out, but had to get a guy to help us out with his tractor in the end after exhausting every alternative option. During our time spent freeing the truck Abbie came up with an ingenious idea and set off to pick up a few old towels and change of clothes each from the charity shop so that we didn’t have to travel home in clothes that literally couldn’t have been any wetter. We changed in the public toilets, which would have looked super creepy had any strangers walked in, and eventually left about four hours later than we anticipated.
We got back to the farm just before 20:00, over fourteen hours after we left this morning, having endured what’s probably the longest day that either of us have ever worked before. We had dinner waiting for us, and an ice cold beer which was unbelievably satisfying.
The last thing that we wanted to think about was work, but knew that we had another day of it due tomorrow, so made a plan and then went to bed around midnight, nineteen hours after waking up and only six hours before the first alarm was set for the morning. Volunteering is incredible, but damn it’s hard work too!
Streets of Nuremberg on I guess I should probably wrap… Streets of Nuremberg on Days 363 & 364 – Sat… danstravelling on Days 355 & 356 – Fri… David Parkes on Days 355 & 356 – Fri… danstravelling on Days 345, 346 & 347…