Scene 4: Where is the pipe?


Knowing that the concrete was arriving early next week, the plan was to finalize the drainage and plumbing systems. In addition, we were hoping to stake out the perimeter of the crèche so that it would be easier to set up the framed box before laying down the concrete next week. Terrance and CORC were also going to go over the payments and project scheduling to avoid any further setbacks throughout the construction process.

Cast of Characters

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

Advisor – Steve

ISN – Terrence

Community Members – Lenrika & Shakeel

City Department of Parks and Recreation – Bradley Burger & David Curran



Flamingo Crescent Informal Settlement

The City of Cape Town Parks Department at the Civic Center



It was a cloudy day in Flamingo Crescent, and we were eager to see if the progress from the day before was intact. We approached the building site and were happy to see that the hole for the drainage system was in good state. However, we still had to clean some dog feces and other debris before continuing work. Terrence came along a few minutes after, and we discussed the plan for the day.

We reevaluated the drainage system with the help of one of the city’s workers. He was involved in the reblocking process, so he had more knowledge on the current piping system in the community and good ideas to improve our drainage system. He suggested using a special material called irrigation sheeting to lie under the draining pipes. This material would improve the filtration system and prevent water from going through and under the crèche in the future. We decided that it would be best to get this material on Monday because there was still a lot of digging to do before we could install it.


We continued to excavate with the help of Terrence and Shakeel. Even the energy team and Steve made an appearance to help dig the trench. During the middle of all of this, the city worker involved in the plumbing during reblocking came back over and told us there was a pipe already in the ground that we could reuse. The next 45 minutes became dedicated to a guess and check digging process in search of this mystery pipe. Although we had a rough idea of where the pipe was in the ground, we had no clue how deep it was. After digging 200mm into the G5 we decided there was no way it could be deeper than this. Collectively we made the decision to consider the pipe a lost cause and go back to our original drainage plan. Later, the same plumber came back and ended up telling us the pipe was over 1.5m into the ground. We all immediately looked at each other and shared a look of agreeance that this pipe was not going to be found.


View of the Drainage Trench

Because only a few of us could work at a time we could have benefitted from splitting the team up and working on two separate projects today. However, it was difficult to find another community leader to work with us for the entire day. They all have their respective responsibilities to the reblocking, jobs, and children that make it difficult to have a good period of time to work with them.

From Flamingo, some of the team headed over to the Civic Center to meet with Bradley Burger and David Curran of the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation. We were pleased that all of the team’s research about parks and public spaces lined up with what Bradley told us concerning layout and design elements of parks. The city also committed to beautify the front of Flamingo and help the team with the park design. It was great to renew our partnership with the City Department of Parks and Recreation.



Today we realized that there are several unforeseen factors that keep arising and slowing down the construction process. It continually seems to be that each step is more complicated than initially believed as well as containing more components then anyone had foreseen. The drainage and plumbing systems proved to be way more complicated than we thought, making us understand why the plumber was going to charge us so much for his services. Also, this process has shown us how we will most likely have to buy materials that are not listed on the bill of quantities, making it clear how s important it is to keep a reasonable contingency percentage to cover these miscellaneous purchases.