Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Callum's Boccia ball blog post

Hey, my name is Callum and this I my blog post on making boccia balls!
This week I've been working in the occupational therapy section at L’Arche with Cheick and it’s been a blast. We've been getting creative with the centre users and staff and it’s been great getting everyone working together towards a creative goal. On Monday we made a flower chain to hang from the ceiling as decoration. Each person’s artistic input was very different and provided an interesting insight into art’s value as a therapeutic tool. The process of creating art is a stimulating and entertaining process that bridges language and cultural barriers with the end result of creating a piece of work to be proud of.
                Today we have had a great morning at L’Arche Nongr Maasem. Volunteers, centre users and staff all gathered in the occupational centre whilst our Project Manager Ross taught us how to make boccia balls. Sports equipment is very expensive to buy, and often not a priority for charities like Arche who struggle to make ends meet in fundamental ways. However, as we have been trying to encourage the staff of Arche to hold Boccia games in our absence, it is essential that they have their own equipment, so that our impact and aims are achievable and sustainable.
 With this is mind our Project Manager Ross developed a thrifty method of making boccia balls by using cheap and easily available materials. Through this process of creative ingenuity he not only reduced the price of a set of Boccia balls from £119 to next to nothing, but also created a fun activity that everyone could participate in.
HOW TO: make boccia balls.
1.)    Take a cheap plastic ball (which can be bought at any market for around 150 CFA / 20p) and cut a hole around 1cm in diameter in the side.
2.)    Take some gritty African earth and pour it through a sieve so you are left with fine grains of sand.
3.)    Pour the sieved sand into the hole using a home made cardboard funnel until the plastic ball is completely full of sand. Fit in as much sand as possible, packing it with a twig so as not to leave any space.
4.)    Plug the hole in the ball with glue to prevent the sand escaping.
5.)    Cut segmented strips from sheets of vinyl (can be bought at most markets) in either blue or red (the colour of Boccia balls). The segments must be the length of the diameter of the plastic ball.
6.)    Make a series of small cuts along the side of the segments to create frills, thus allowing the vinyl to curve to the shape of the ball. Set aside.
7.)    Use sandpaper to rough rough up the surface of the plastic balls, as this provides an easier surface on which to let the adhesive set.
8.)    Take the segments of vinyl prepared earlier and cover one side with strong glue, then stick along the diameter of the ball.
9.)    Cover the balls, segment by segment, until the ball is completely covered in vinyl, overlapping each segment slightly ensuring the plastic beneath ss completely covered. About 10 segments ought to do it.
10.)  Cut out two circles from the vinyl and glue onto the top and bottom of the balls, neatly covering the various overlapping ends of the segments below.
11.)  Leave to dry.

The process of making the boccia balls proved to be a fun and creative group activity, fitting nicely into the occupational activities session of our work at Arche. Our Boccia balls turned out looking fantastic, and hopefully we will have made a full set of 12 (6 red, 6 blue) in time to play with them during our Monday sports sessions next week. Each of the volunteers partnered up with a centre user, so that they could provide support during the stages which their disabilities (intellectual and sometimes physical) rendered complicated. Each person found his own rhythm and productivity and enjoyment levels were high.

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