Scene 3: “Hallo Gemeenskap”



After identifying the new numbers for all of the shacks yesterday we planned to paint on all of the new numbers and spend some time getting to know the community leaders on a deeper level. Lastly, we had prepared for a very important meeting with our advisors, our sponsor Eric Atmore, and Terrence from the Informal Settlement Network (ISN) to discuss the implementation of the crèche.


Cast of Characters

The WPI Flamingo Team– Jacquelyne, Malina, Andres, Justin, Kristin

Community Members – Mark, Elizabeth, Lenrika, Aunt Mary

Advisors – Scott and Steve

CECD – Eric Atmore, Sarah Atmore, Rukea

ISN – Melanie, Terrence

Crèche Consultant – Olwethu Jack

CORC– Size Mxobo



Centre of Early Childhood Development (CECD)

Flamingo Crescent Informal Settlement



We arrived in Flamingo earlier than ever today knowing it would be a tough day of work. Right away we grabbed the paint to begin applying the numbers to the shacks. Terrence had made us sponges that we could use as stencils for all of the numbers, which ended up being a huge convenience. Working with two community leaders, Mark and Elizabeth, we went door to door painting the numbers on. We would put the first letter of the street name followed by the house number. This took most of the morning and afternoon and was a great way for us to interact with the community members and the children. Many community members were grateful to us and the children had a blast following us around as we applied the numbers. When we finished with the numbers, we gathered the community leaders in Lenrika’s house. We wanted to get to know them on a more personal level so we had them write their names and draw a picture of things that were important to them. The conversation floated between  family, sports, and where we are from and proved to be an effective way to get the community members to open up to us.

After our time in Flamingo we made our way to the CECD where we would be meeting with some of our stakeholders at 4:00 PM. We hoped this meeting would shed some light on the progress of the crèche and the steps that would need to be accomplished next to ensure its completion. The CECD, CORC, ISN, the community, and the architect were all represented at the meeting to allow for collaboration on ideas, plans, and questions. It was remarkable for us to see how many stakeholders are involved in the project. The CECD was there to discuss the funding and regulations of the crèche,  CORC to discuss the funding of the multipurpose space and the benefits that it has to offer,  and ISN to discuss the construction process. Most importantly, the community was there to say how they felt about it all and who would be taking ownership. It was a little overwhelming for us at the time, seeing all of the preparation we had done come to life before us as our partners were talking, laughing and planning to really get this going.

The goal everyone agreed upon was to get the crèche built and ready to enroll children by January 15th. Since this is a very short time away it was important to define everyone’s roles and ensure they each knew what they had to get done by when.


We thought we understood the impact of this project, but it all became clear when Eric Atmore said “we should take a group picture: this is a historical meeting, I want everyone in it.” Having this many people from so many different backgrounds in one room working towards a common goal is truly monumental.



For the first time our group witnessed some of the realities of living in an informal settlement. Life in Flamingo is difficult and frustrating for many people and we saw it firsthand today. A woman came to us sobbing because she could not get work, mistreated dogs fought each other, and we watched as a man repeatedly hit another man with a wooden post. It made us realize how impactful our work can be if we can break the children out of this cycle of poverty. The integration of a crèche will provide children with education they wouldn’t receive otherwise. By providing these basic components of early childhood development through a crèche and playground, we can provide a safe environment for the children to grow up with the hope that the fundamental skills they develop will assist them later on in life.