reports on social team event: Garbe supports the Op de Wisch riding and nature project

In the meadow - Op de Wisch - there's no better way to describe the social team event organised by Garbe Immobilien-Projekte, and what's more, it was held in glorious sunshine and very high temperatures for Hamburg. And in nature was definitely right, because the riding and nature project Op de Wisch e.V., a provider of integration assistance with a focus on outpatient social psychiatry as well as child, youth and family assistance, is located at the gates of Hamburg, in the green district of Ohlstedt. There is a riding stable here where children with severe disabilities also come; this riding project of the association serves as an animal-assisted pedagogical intervention.

The jetty group was given the task of replacing the old rotten jetty on the Alster with a new, easily accessible one. Full commitment was required right from the start: First the old jetty was demolished, then planks for the jetty were expertly measured and sawn. To the delight of one staff member: "We are happy that we can physically move for a change, otherwise we just sit in front of our boxes". The big challenge was the jetty posts, where they hammered, re-measured, tapped and re-measured, hammered and tapped again. Everything had to be adjusted again and again because of the swampy, wet ground. The delivery team, which wanted to bring the sand for fixing the piles with wheelbarrows, first had to wait until everything was correctly in place. No problem for one helper: "Ah, it's nice and shady here, I'm happy to wait a little longer". In the meantime, the temperatures had really risen, and shady spots were in great demand. The round of "smart alecks" also liked to stand in the shade at the edge of the jetty and give wise advice from above - but not without taking the piss out of themselves: "These are already our best people here. At least they get on professionally. There's a lot of standing around back there... especially me (haha)."

The staff member most affected by the heat was probably the one who had to wear a thermal suit all day, which is essential for the jetty work in the water. At least he was able to cool his face now and then with the water from the Alsterlauf. In general, the Alsterlauf was very popular, whether as a beer crate cooler or to cool the feet a little.

The hibernation site group had been busy since early morning putting a border around a larger area. The area is to become the new hibernation area for the horses. After the border was set, the area had to be filled with sand, then covered with recycled grid stone slabs and covered with rubber granulate stones. These are non-slip and ensure that the horses are nice and warm when they lie down in winter. Especially the old horses need the warmth for their joints. For this, the material first had to be dragged over the whole area, but this was done relatively quickly with the help of a chain formation, as known from the transport of sandbags during floods.

After that, sand had to be poured out and straightened to create a level surface for the grid panels. Only then could they be covered with rubber granulate.

By lunchtime, half of the square had already been laid. Now the sand removal team actually needed some reinforcement, as the slab laying team was already pushing. But the two men didn't want reinforcements and simply continued at double speed. Again, a chain was formed for the newly delivered stones and the flaps were lowered directly from the trailer into the grid plates. That went faster.

In the afternoon the time had come to sink the last slabs and to have a test lie-down. Everyone agreed: the panels are good at keeping warm. "Look Achim, this is not only good for old horses.....", they joked during the test lying.

The pavement group was assigned to repair the flagstone path. This path and an adjacent meadow were under water at the beginning of the year due to heavy rainfall and had become difficult to walk on and a tripping hazard for pedestrians and an obstacle for wheelchair users. And since the riding school is also visited by the severely disabled children from the Kupferhof next door, a repair of the path was urgently needed. Muscle people" were needed here, was the classification code for this group. Here, stones had to be removed, the path had to be levelled by hand and then repaved and fixed with curbstones.

Muscle power was also needed for the paddock fence group. The horse Emil, bigger than the other horses, always leaned too hard against the old fence to get at the neighbouring plants. He almost knocked the old fence over. Now a new, higher fence was needed. Here, oak logs and crossbars were used. In order to make the whole thing stable, the posts were sunk 80 cm deep into the muddy ground with earth drills. Meanwhile, Eddy the dog ran happily between the projects, "that's our feel-good manager. He belongs to an employee and comes to the office with us every day. The only approved dog - our therapy dog, which we all love," was the explanation. Around 1.30 pm, the call was made for lunch. Everyone had the cooking group to thank for lunch. The three staff members who were assigned to it had already been busy preparing under a small pavilion in the morning. Several kilos of onions had to be peeled for the chilli sin carne and chilli con carne. In the small kitchen, however, it became too crowded and too hot to fry the onions and other ingredients. Fortunately, there was a fireplace outside, where kilos of kidney beans and chickpeas were then put into a large pot. Now the pot was too heavy to hang over the fireplace. Fortunately, there were some helpers nearby who quickly rushed to the rescue, probably also because hunger was starting to set in. 

One more look at the pot, stirring from time to time, and to everyone's delight - the food was ready. Even Eddy, the dog, was looking excitedly to see if he could get hold of a little something. Everyone happily met up with the cooking team, filled their bowls and found a nice shady spot to take a break. "Finally food, but more importantly, finally shade".   

After the lunch break everyone went back to their work, for the cooking group it looked like a long time washing dishes. But with three of us, it went faster than expected and we could concentrate on setting up the coffee table (fresh coffee, French rolls and marzipan croissants). Even after the lunch break, the jetty remained a real challenge; again and again the angles had to be measured and corrected. 

Suddenly, a slow worm was spotted in the water and joked: "Watch out Eddy, they can swallow a dog in one bite"... But the snake didn't care and preferred to disappear into the reeds again. 
In the late afternoon, the footbridge was finally finished.  

At the end of the day, all the work (and all the helpers) was done and the management of the riding school was happy: "It went really well. It was an extremely motivated group. They came with a large number of their own tools and machines, including generators, and actually managed to complete all the projects. Even though the heat got to some people, the good mood lasted until the end. We finished the day around 6 pm after having enjoyed various pizzas and a few beers. We are very grateful to Garbe and will certainly stay in touch." 

At the end, everyone received a glass drinking bottle as a thank you for their great commitment.