Scene 5: Doodling to Improve


The goal of this week was to really connect with the caretakers and get them involved in thinking about changes that can be made to the WaSH facility. We noticed that in the previous few weeks we had mainly been talking about the facility. We did not know much about the caretakers and had not done anything much with them outside of work. In this activity, we tried something different and decided to do some icebreakers with the ladies and the Kiddies group.



WaSH Facility


Cast of Characters:

Victoria, Sheila, Poto, Nick Deraney, Mindy Zhang, Alfred, WaSH Team, Washington Boise, Zwelitsha Co-Researchers



We arrive in Langrug, eager to get some serious planning and bonding work done. We divide into two teams for the day: an improvements team to work with the caretakers and a Zwelitsha team to begin connecting with our co-researchers.

When we arrive we are surprised (and a little disappointed) to realize that our co-researchers have yet to be selected and we can only do half of the work we hoped to do today.

It’s time to make the best of the time and people we have. Morgan begins by putting a white erase sheet on the wall, and draws the first doodle. The other students join her and with a little cajoling, so do the caretakers. Victoria draws a picture of her shack, as does Poto. When the Kiddies team returns from their work in the settlement, they also get in on the action and add a giraffe and lion to our poster.

Alfred begins transitioning the activity for us by adding a water tap and his name to the poster.

Pretty quickly we move on to “likes” and “dislikes” of the facility. We put them up in two columns and the “likes” column fills up first with community input. Then we begin on the “dislikes” column. The students are first to add things they think could go better. It is Victoria who adds the first community input into something that needs to be changed. She mentions the lock in the women’s shower and the fact that the space can only be locked from the outside. We were completely unaware that it was an issue, and it sparks the other community members to mention things they would like improved.

Later on, our co-researchers and another member of the Zwelitsha community arrived to talk with us.

We asked them if they wanted to partake in the “likes” and “dislikes” activity, and they politely declined. Washington Boise explained, “This is not our space, it wouldn’t be fair.”



The doodling activity with the caretakers and community members was successful. We watched them step out of their shell and share their thoughts. We thought this informal activity would best facilitate communication through visuals rather than words, which can be misinterpreted by the language barrier. We were impressed with Washington’s reaction to us inviting him to participate. This isn’t the first time that people have told us that we need to make sure we get input from the community and not outsiders. Most people we talk to firmly believe that community upgrading should only involve its residents. This allows for community responsibility, having ideas originate from the community and holding them accountable to implement their ideas into concrete actions.