Happy New Year to all of our YKI supporters. We wanted to give you a quick update regarding our recent trip to Kunming. 

Upon arriving to the Kunming SWI, we met with Director Qiao. He explained to us that it was his preference to have the foster villagers build as much of the play garden as possible. He explained that not only will it save funds it will also help the foster villagers feel ownership of the space. The YKI team agreed. However, we also discussed that there are some areas of the play garden that require more construction skills (i.e. the play house, the sandbox, and the covered seating area). It was determined that for specialty items the orphanage would help facilitate the hiring of a professional construction team. Director Qiao explained that these boutique construction teams were often very expensive so that we needed to think carefully about how much funding there is for this project.
There was a lot of discussion regarding the trees on the play garden site. After many SWI discussions we were requested to save as many trees as possible, more than previously discussed. Director Qiao explained that the villagers had tried to move one larger tree unsuccessfully and unfortunately the tree died. For this reason, both the villagers and the director requested that our build only removes small trees and not the large ones. This decision impacts the build because reconsideration will have to be given to the location of the activity areas. The YKI team felt confident that these adjustments could be made while still preserving the integrity of the design.    

There was also an important conversation regarding the materials that would be used to create the play garden. Director Qiao felt that the quality was important and that it needed to match the existing community center.

It was determined that because of the good weather a trip would need to be taken to the foster village immedietly. Our YKI team would be escorted by Angie, and Pu Jing and his assistant Jessica to the site to make adjustments to the layout.

After a local lunch, our team spent 4 hours on site reconfiguring the layout of the play garden to take into consideration the location of the activity areas. The requested adjustments were made to avoid the removal of any large trees. It was also determined that a fully enclosed fence was going to be necessary around the entire area and that construction will not grade the small hill area of the play garden. In order to preserve the root system of the trees, the team decided to leave the mini forested area as is, instead of creating an open playing field.

Everyone was happy with the final layout of the play garden. On Wednesday we returned to the site to conduct a final tree measurement so that the final construction design could be delivered with precision. 

We are happy to report that things are moving forward beautifully. We will provide the revised design as soon as our architect can get home and then the final price will be determined. The preservation of the trees, use of the villagers to build as much as possible, and not changing the grade of the land is going to help the price tag immensely. As soon as a final price is set, the orphanage expects the build to only take a few months.