Scene 6: Exploring with Paula

November 25, 2013


In the first week of the term Paula Mora, a local Civil Engineer, contacted our advisor Scott regarding her interest in our projects after finding us through this website. Scott set up a meeting and invited her to join the WaSH and Kiddies teams in a visit to Langrug. Paula joined us in an important meeting with the co-researchers. In our meeting, we discussed the Enviro Loo In her visit to Langrug, Paula expressed some concerns about the Enviro Loo system. We also accompanied her in a tour of Langrug led by Nobathembu.

 Cast of Characters:

Paula Mora – A local Civil Engineer. She moved from Spain to Cape Town less than a year ago.


WPI WaSH team



WaSH facility, Zwelitsha


We pull up to Langrug with Paula. It is her first time in an informal settlement. We introduce her to the caretakers, co-researchers, and Nobathembu. We update her on the status of our project and our beginning stages of our partnership with Enviro Loo. The caretakers, co-researchers, and Nobathembu gather around for the meeting.

After the meeting, Paula approaches Ivette to ask her more about the new Zwelitsha facility in Spanish. Ivette explains the need for dry sanitation is due to the lack of a sewage system. She also answers Paula’s questions about the Enviro Loo system. Paula, in Spanish, says she wishes there was a way to have sewer pipe lines in Zwelitsha. She describes an alternative design.

We decide to show Paula around Langrug. Nobathembu volunteers to guide the group. We go up to Zwelitsha and takes us to where she calls the beginning of Zwelitsha. To our right, a field separates Langrug and the town next door. The town next door has organized and well-built homes, much different from the shacks in Langrug. There is a clear divide between the neighboring communities and we are surprised to see it by standing in one place at the top of Zwelitsha.

We continue to walk across Zwelitsha. Nobathembu shows us a water tap that was installed by the municipality a couple of years before. We had never seen it. Nobathembu then takes us to her old shack. Her shack was the first shack to ever be built in Zwelitsha. Now it is vacant and missing a roof and a wall. She looks at her shack nostalgically. We also show Paula the concrete slab near the large water tank that provides water to the endlessly running water tap.

We leave Zwelitsha and cross over to Nkanini to take a walk around Langrug. We see a fence around an area with a pit latrine and a cut up plastic jug with a pipe attached to it. It took us a few minutes of examining it for us to figure out that it was a homemade urinal. We smile at the creativity and resourcefulness of the structure.

We continue to walk on the paved road around Langrug and through E Section. The WaSH team recognizes the path and we all walk into the facility again.

Reflection and Learning:

We were pleased to meet Paula and hear out her professional input. She was curious and she was evidently interested in our project. We look forward to working with her. Also, we enjoyed going on another tour of Langrug. We realized that we learn more about Langrug every time we tour it because there is always something new we had not seen before. Langrug is a large and beautiful place.