“Bawawethu” (December 3, 2015)



This week represented our second-to-last week engaging directly with all major stakeholders. It has been shaped by two major turning points. First, on Monday, we had a meeting with CORC, ISN and where K2 leadership was absent. We used our best judgment to move the project forward. We settled on the idea of moving to specific plans on how to complete the community hall and the creation of a workbook detailing the important aspects of upgrading projects in informal settlements. The City Fund Application was to be reviewed on Wednesday. Second, on Tuesday, Mdu came to CORC where Melanie, an ISN representative informed him that our team will not return to the settlement in the remaining weeks due to safety concerns. Today, Thandeka suggested that there might be a way to get a shipping container without the full 10% contribution. On our side, we would work on an informative flyer for community members to put under the door of each household to explain the different phases of the project and the expected community financial contribution for each. Today will be our third day of work exclusively at CORC where we hope to see some familiar faces from K2.

Cast of Characters:

K2 community members: Mdu, Zusake, Babalwa, Neziswa, Siyabonga

CORC representatives: Thandeka, Thembi, Moegesin, Simbonge

WPI team: Paul, Cam, Amy, Veronica, Justice



Since our workspace changed from K2 to CORC, we now have an extra hour in the morning by ourselves before K2 community mebers arrive. When we arrive, we waste no time. While Lance is picking up the community members at K2, we split up and tackle various tasks such as poster options, container contacts, and workbook drafting. Thembi joins in. Between sips of instant coffee, the six of us are an unstoppable force. At 10:15 the van has returned full of motivated and familiar faces.

To our pleasant surprise seven eager community members pour into the quiet CORC office.  The WPI team is scattered about working on various tasks, but we all stop to make the most of our K2 family reunion. Thandeka steers the talkative bunch into the conference room. As Vero fidgets with the projector we hear the outstanding news that not only has the community collected part of its financial contribution, but also had the opportunity to deposit it in the bank, which was one of the requirements for the City Fund Application. This is a huge leap forward in progress for all stakeholders. K2 and WPI team members throw their hands in the air and shout, “Bawawethu!”(Our Father) (A long running joke between both groups) in rejoice. For the first time in almost two weeks the atmosphere of stress and shortcomings has been chased away by the sense of success and joy. We use this enthusiasm to fuel the day.

Thandeka writes the day’s agenda on the board and Vero runs the computer. With a few minor collaborative modifications the group is satisfied with the poster. Discussion on the shipping container phase begins and an unfortunate but understandable confusion gradually ensues. The community feels a bit unsure about why the cost has changed from R14, 000 to R22, 914. Thandeka and our team try to explain that this is a new company with the costs of shipping, tax, and a door included but it would seem that something is lost in translation. A little over half an hour later, the Xhosa fades out along with the confusion. A silent sigh of relief is breathed out and we move on to the next task. No one is willing to let this speed bump stand in our way. We shift gears and move toward our next goal.

The timeline is laid down easily and includes tasks to be completed by everyone involved. We print 200 flyers for community members to put under household doors after they leave CORC today. These should help K2 residents understand the project in two phases and what they are expected to contribute to make it a reality. Our team will submit an invoice for the shipping container by Monday at latest. Assuming that the application for Phase 1 is approved by CORC and the City Fund Committee and the community is successful in obtaining financial contributions over the weekend, we can purchase the shipping container on Tuesday. Many present stakeholders voice their opinions, and the consensus is for a well-deserved break. The success of this break was that we were able to start back up just as easily as we shut down. To someone on the outside this may seem beyond mundane, but to us it is progress. This family likes to celebrate each little victory as it comes!


As we have learned in the last few weeks, our IQP is very much a rollercoaster. Full of highs, lows, brakes, bumps and speed, our project has been strained, but our team has adapted. In the last two weeks we have seen some difficulty. Yet today’s experience reflected just how productive a day we can have, teaching us the important lesson that this pendulum of productivity can swing both ways. Also, we were happy to see that seven K2 community members came to the office. We found that working together in the office provided a change of scenery and allowed for a productive meeting. With only five days of field work left, our tunnel seems to be closing fast, but days like today show us we can still reach our goal when everyone is collaborating.