Scene 1: Meeting the Contractors


The contractors that are to be working on the sewage systems met with Leon and the community leaders at Flamingo Crescent on Wednesday.  Since this would likely be a very important event, we decided to send a few team members to meet with the contractors.

Cast of Characters

WPI Project Team: Alison, Charles, Mike, Zach
City Employees: Leon, Reginald, Anneline, Estralita
CORC Liaison: Sizwe Mxobo
Flamingo Crescent residents: Mark and Elizabeth
Private Contractors: Joseph Anthony, two others


The Flamingo Crescent informal settlement.


Leon and the WPI team meeting with the sewer contractors in Flamingo Crescent

We got on the bus to visit the informal settlement this morning, just like most other workdays.  Although, today would prove to be a very important day as we met with the contractors that would be working on the sewage systems throughout Flamingo Crescent.  Only four of us went into Flamingo Crescent, since there was still important work to be done at home.  We arrived before the contractors had come, so we met with Elizabeth and Mark to talk about plans for the meeting.  When asked whether they were excited about this meeting and what it meant, they both replied with an emphatic “Yes!”  The whole concept of reblocking finally starting, in a physical sense, was very encouraging to them.

When the contractors and city officials arrived around 10:00 AM, we went over and introduced ourselves.  Quickly afterward, they walked towards the settlement, approaching where we would later hear they planned to begin laying sewage pipes.  Once they reached the edge of the settlement, the contractors pulled out multiple large maps of Flamingo Crescent, examining the current conditions.  As they acclimated themselves to the settlement and the map, the four of us stood nearby, not knowing exactly what to do.

After everyone had familiarized themselves with the maps, we moved into the meeting space provided by Lenrika’s shack.  The map was spread out on the table as the city official began to explain the design that the city and the contractors had previously agreed to.  He specifically brought up points such as where piping would be laid.  Before we knew it, we were being asked if anyone had any questions.  The community leaders seemed to be confused by the pace of this five minute meeting, possibly too confused to know what questions to ask.  At that point we raised the question of when construction might start.  After a brief silence, one of the contractors spoke up saying that construction would hopefully start this Friday or next Monday.  Subsequently, the city official left to attend another meeting and the contractors followed suit.  However, we asked one of the contractors to stay for a moment so we could get his name and contact information.  Then the meeting was officially over, leaving us and the community leaders somewhat confused on the details, but mostly excited for the sewage lines and the hope of progress that came with them.


This was a really big day for us and an even a bigger day for the community of Flamingo Crescent.  We met with the contractors who were beginning the construction phase of the reblocking process and saw the community encouraged by the process.  Before this meeting, we knew that reblocking was going to start, we just did not know exactly when.  Now that we had been given a loose time frame of the beginning of construction, we were excited to see it was carried out.

It might have been that the parties involved were very busy, but the meeting was much quicker than we were expecting.  The most important detail that we wanted to find was the starting date, although more information would have been appreciated, such as where it would begin and the order of construction.  However, the most important part is that the sewage lines would be laid very soon.  This news must have been exciting for the community, as it was for us.  The project that they had been hearing about for two years was finally starting in just a matter of days.