Wednesday, September 10, 2014


My good friend Chris works for this really cool non-profit called KaBOOM! which pairs communities in need of a playground, with funding partners, and then plans and oversees the building of a playground for that community. Each project is a massive undertaking which culminates in a 1-day fast-paced  playground build, with hundreds of volunteers.

Many hands make light work.

This particular build was for the Ethiopian Community of Seattle’s - Community Center. It was a very cool experience. It was a fun way to give back to a random community of Seattle that I otherwise had no connection with, but now feel somehow connected to. Ethiopians are super nice people.

After a whirlwind day, a playground rests, as its concrete cures.

Chris wanted Tess and I to work on something called the “Shade Structure”, because he knew we were up for a challenge.

Tess and Dagne discuss how to turn that pile of wood into a shade structure.

Most of the other playground components, it seemed, were just bolt-together stuff that looks like they could be Ikea furniture: just follow the instructions, and assemble.  The so-called “Shade Structure”, on the other hand, was a legit construction project. It entailed serious construction skillz, problem-solving skillz, persistence, dedication, and on-the-fly trouble-shooting skillz. There were a lot of people working on it, including several dedicated, hardworking volunteers, but I would say we played a vital role in motivating and directing that piece of the project through rough times.

And  KaBOOM! …… a Shade Structure!

All in a (1/2-ish) Day's work.

I spent almost no time really taking it all in, and appreciating how insanely-much was being accomplished around me; I was too busy running around, trying to build our part of the greater picture. But it is amazing when you think about how much was accomplished in such a short amount of time.

The Mayor showed up  (after the work was done) for the ceremonial ribbon cutting, and deemed August 23rd “as the day of play in the Ethiopian community of Seattle.”

Chris and Seattle's Mayor Ed Murray at the Dedication of the finished Playground.

It was great to see Chris, and it was fun to see him in the capacity of motivational KaBOOM! project leader. I was a fun day of hard work and I was tired the next day. I thoroughly recommend that anyone should volunteer for a similar playground build, should one happen in your community, or in the neighboring community!

In a week the children of this community will get to enjoy this cool playground!