Scene 12: Ethiopian Experience


Paula Mora is a Civil Engineer who has been living in Cape Town and  reached out to Professor Jiusto. She was interested in getting involved with an engineering based project and her information was passed onto the Strandfontein Team as well as the Water and Sanitation and Health team. We scheduled a meeting convenient for a few members of each group to introduce our projects to Paula over dinner.

Cast of Characters

WPI Student Team Members: Sarah, Alison, Gaetana
WPI WaSH Team Members: Morgan, Ivette
WPI Professors: Scott Jiusto, Lorraine Higgins
Civil Engineer: Paula Mora


The Ethiopian restaurant Addis on Long Street in the City of Cape Town.


We left the lodge at 6:30 pm and started our walk down to the restaurant, Addis, to be introduced to Paula over an authentic Ethiopian dinner. We arrived at the restaurant to find a young woman awaiting us with a welcoming smile for each person. Once everyone was settled and the first course ordered we began giving Paula an overview of each of our projects.

She was intrigued by each one and particularly picked up on the infrastructural aspect of Strandfontein due to her focus on construction particularly roads and buildings. As much as Paula was interested in each project she was shocked to hear how little time we have here and seemed a bit nervous at how much we would be able to accomplish in this short of a span. It was intriguing to speak with her about her work and how each of the teams involved may have future interactions with her.  Throughout dinner she discussed what she is doing in Cape Town and chatted a bit with Ivette and Veronica in Spanish.

Overall, she may be a significant asset in research into road construction in the informal settlement of 7de Laan as well as with the incremental structural upgrades that may be implemented on existing shacks. She is quite easy to interact with and was open to sharing her ideas on things as well as listening intently to what we had to share with her. Paula will be away this following week but will keep contact in order to arrange a visit with our team to Strandfontein and receive a first hand experience of how the team functions.


This was a significant meeting for the project team to gain another resource. Her interest in the smaller improvement ideas was reassuring. Once she sees the settlement and encounters the aspects that we have seen she will hopefully be able to lend some informative insights into where we can look or what we can do to make the most of our time here.