Scene 1: Getting To Know Nobathembu


After talking with the WaSH team and observing Nobathembu’s crèche, we realized the importance of hand washing. We believe it will be beneficial to connect the crèches of Langrug to the WaSH facility to foster a culture around sanitation at a young age. To gauge interest on this idea we had a meeting with Nobathembu.

Cast of characters:

Nobathembu, and ECD Team


The blazing sun beat down on us as we walked up the dirt hill to the crèche. The only water to be seen was the murky stream running down a thin canal under the clear blue sky. As we waited outside the crèche for Nobathembu, a man with few teeth smiled at us. Nobathembu walked outside the door. For the brief moment the door had opened, we could hear the rambunctious children inside. The door closed and the loudness became muffled again. We began our conversation with Nobathembu.





After learning the importance of sanitation in Nobathembu’s crèche, it only made sense to help create a relationship between the WaSH team, her crèche, and our team.


We planned to have a meeting with Nobathembu to get to know her better and to find out more about her views on the WaSH facility. We also wanted to find out if she would be interested in having her learners be a part of making the WaSH facility more child-friendly in some areas through painting.

Action and Observation:

The first few seconds were full of awkward laughter and friendly smiles. Nick held out a hand and asked Nobathembu more about herself and how she began this crèche. She looked at us softly and began. “I came here the fourth of June, uh, 2002. I followed the water down.” Her finger pointed to the grey water channel running between us. She told us stories of how she would follow the water running down the mountain to find children running freely playing with the dirty grey water with their hands and bare feet. “Some would even take the used condoms and eat them”, Nobathembu said with sorrow. Being a religious person, she came to Langrug all the way from her home in Eastern Cape. She followed what she believed was God’s will. She came into contact with the local pastor to ask to set up a crèche in the church. Furiously trying to take down every word, I knew my chicken-scratch of notes could not do her story justice. We moved gracefully into the topic of the challenges she faces with her crèche. Nobathembu addressed that winter is an especially hard time for her. Due to the rain, the crèche is often flooded with rainwater and the parents are unable to work.  An obvious issue of money hangs over the crèche, as many parents are unable to pay the monthly fee of R100. Nick and I discovered that the two other workers at the crèche did not receive any form of wages. Although there are challenges that Nobathembu and her crèche face, there is always a silver lining.

When talking about the WaSH facility, Nobathembu’s face lit up. She was excited to explain to us that she brings the kids to the facility twice a day. She went on to explain that because of going to the wash facility, the children have learned to wash their hands before eating.  Washing hands is essential to Nobathembu because it is the most basic form of hygiene. She would love to teach and advocate more hygienic practices such as tooth brushing. However, with the lack of materials and funds, one woman can only do so much.

Reflection and Learning:

Having a one on one meeting with Nobathembu was really productive and informative for our group.  We were able to see where she stood with the WaSH facility and how important the role of this facility played in the daily life of the crèche. It was rewarding to get to know the personal side of Nobathembu and learn about her calling. We look forward to working with her in the near future.