Act 1: Finding our Footing

After two long months of preparation the team was finally ready to head off to Cape Town. In getting here, things have started to move quickly. In our first week we have already made connections with important stakeholders, learned about the Matiland Garden Village community, analyzed various venue options, and begun setting up a proposal for the help centre. We have done so through tours of the village, conversation with passerbys, meetings with our sponors and advisor, and celebrating with the village on their 90th Village Day event. By the end of the week we realized how quickly time will fly by during our stay and that if we want to meet our goals and objectives outlined during the preparation phase, we are going to need to get started fast. This first week has been essential in allowing us to find our footing and analyze various directions we may want to take as the weeks begin to pass by. Begin reading about our first weeks journey below!


Scene 1: First Encounter With Maitland Garden Village (MGV):

Cast of Characters: MGV Team, Ronell, Sheila 

The team’s journey began with a taxi ride to Maitland Garden Village. Though only a 15 minute drive from the lodge,  we realized how relatively unknown the Village was when the taxi driver had no idea where to go. Finally finding our way to the village, we had the taxi driver drop us off at a soccer field in the middle of the community where we had plans to meet up with Ronell and Shelia. Our initial arrival stirred a lot of interest in the community members as they peered out their windows and looked over their fenced in gardens at us newcomers. Though many people walked by us, we never once felt threatened. Once Shelia and Ronell arrived the mood quickly shifted to excitement. Both sponsors were friendly, outgoing, and excited to welcome us into the community. They shook each of our hands and promised that we would be honorary community members by the end of the trip.

To read more about our first encounter with Maitland Garden Village, click here!


Scene 2: Tour of Maitland Garden Village:

Cast of Characters: MGV Team, Ronell, Sheila, Pathway team

During our first two days on site, our team, along with the four members of the Pathway group, took a tour of Maitland Garden Village led by Ronell and Sheila. As we walked, we observed and took pictures of the scenery as well as made important connections with the two women. While slowly walking up and down the roads of the village, we were all impressed with the beauty and maturity of the homes. The neighborhood was very peaceful as few cars drove by and residents relaxed in their gardens. We got a good sense of the history of MGV as we learned that the houses date back to post World War One and that the street names were named after battleships that had participated in the war. All in all, our overall first impression of the village was a very positive one.

To read more about our tour through MGV, click here!


Scene 3: Ronell’s Sight into the Help Centre

Cast of Characters: MGV Team, Ronell, Sheila, Pathway team, Lorenzo

Following our tour the the village for the first time, the two teams reconvened at the humble home of our sponsor, Ronell. Entering the new addition to the semi-detached house, a sun room, we all sat down for some tea and cookies. As we were all sitting down and discussing our hopes for the project and the tentative agenda for the week, our team was able to here Ronell’s view of the project and her hopes for the final outcome of our visit. Along with this, we came to understand the impact the help centre is meant to have on the community and those around it.

To read more about our meeting at Ronell’s house, click here!


Scene 4: First Look at the Potential Venue

Cast of Characters: MGV Team, Ronell, Sheila, Pathway team, Lorenzo, Basil, Godfrey

As we left Ronell’s and proceeded on with our first day, we were led to the first potential venue discovered by the Green Light Project prior to our visit. The driving range had been mentioned previously and the team was excited to be able to see a tangible venue that may become the help centre. As we came to the site, we met with Basil and Godfrey and learned of the gardening space that is near the venue that may be used to support the organisation and the community. Along with learning of the garden, we were able to walk around the venue and see its current condition and size. Though there is much interest in the sight from various other organisations, the team hopes to put together a proposal for the land.

To read more about the team’s first look at a potential venue, click here!


Scene 5: Getting to Know the People we are Working With

Cast of Characters: MGV team, Ronell, Sheila, CTPC Pathway team, Clive James, Crispin Barrett, Juan Nombo, Meghan Lukaas, Jackie

After a successful first day in MGV, our second day begun with a meeting with some representatives of the city council (Crispin, Clive Juan and Meghan) about plans for the pathway for the pathway team’s project. Despite the fact that the meeting was not organized with our project in mind, the representatives present had many suggestions for our project, which was welcome by our team. We proceeded to the community centre run by the City of Cape Town so we could have an idea of what existed in the community at the moment and there we were introduced to Jackie, the woman who runs the community centre.

To read more about how we got to know the people we are working with, click here!


Scene 6: Tour Of Oude Molen

Cast of Characters: Dixie, Joseph, Nathan, John Kennedy, Ronell, Shelia, MGV Team 

Neighboring Maitland Garden Village, Oude Molen Eco Village is a settlement that was a site for a WPI project team in 2011. Ronell and Shelia led us through Oude Molen one morning to allow us to meet some of its residents who are involved in the Green Light Project. While there we met Dixie, Joseph, Nathan, and John Kennedy. All four were very nice and had a lot to say about themselves and our project.

To learn more about each person and read what they said  click here!


Scene 7: Village Day

Cast of Characters: MGV community members, Liz

On October 27th, our team and several students from other teams attended MGV’s 90th annual Village Day. The day was full of excitement and fun as the villagers put on shows and music performances as well as sold food, handmade jewelry, and other crafts. This year’s Village Day was important for the members of the Green Light Project to expose themselves after being in operation for almost one year. They wore attire with the organisations’s logo and set up their own tent while a group of kids in the music and dance programme performed an impressive song and dance. We marched in the parade going up and down the streets of the village and interacted with several community members. We met Liz, a young woman involved in Camp Sonshine, an NGO that runs an after school program at the primary school in the village. Overall, Village Day was an exciting day that opened up our eyes to the great talent of the community members but also showed that most people in MGV are unaware of the Green Light Project so more marketing techniques need to implemented.

To read more about the team’s view of Village Day, click here!


Scene 8: Monday Morning Meeting

Cast of Characters: The Pathway Team, Scott, Bob, Ronell, Shelia, Clive, Crispin, Juan, Meghan

The pathway and MGV groups set up a meeting with Scott, Bob and the various sponsors for every Monday morning at ten. During this particular meeting we learned some key information from the Pathway’s sponsors, as well as got a clearer direction of our project. Crispin gave us insight into who owns the driving range building and how we might go about trying to obtain it for MGV. Talking with Ronell and our advisors, we decided to set up a meeting for Thursday night with the leaders of the Green Light Project. This meeting will help us gain a better understanding of how the Green Light Project would put a venue to use.

To read more about what was discussed at this important meeting click here!


Scene 9: Meeting at MGV Community Centre

Cast of Characters: MGV Team, Ronell, Dean, Jennifer Stacey, several community members

On October 30th, we had a small meeting at the MGV Community Centre with four community members including Germalowdean, a Rastafarian who is involved in both the Green Light Project sports committee and MGV soccer club, and three middle-aged women who are members of the Garden Village Residents Association. Also in attendance was Jennifer Stacey, an assistant professional officer of the City Council Department of Social Development. This meeting gave us insight into topics including the existing organisations in MGV, the current needs of the community, and the potential programmes that should be run by the Help Centre. Jennifer gave us a more professional suggestion that we should compose a business plan for the Green Light Project that is necessary for obtaining a venue, and also drafted out a management model of the Help Centre that includes not only the Green Light Project but all other organisations of MGV as well.

To learn more about our meeting at the MGV Community Centre, click here!

Reflection and Moving Forward

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