Scene 1: Steering to Paradise



In order to get important details to register the crèche, we needed to meet with several of the community leaders. It was essential to make sure these details, (name of the crèche, hours of operation, selecting a principal, etc.) were decided by the community leaders and that our team acted as a moderator. This meeting would also give us a clearer idea as to who is committed to the project and what their role will be. In addition, a key factor for this meeting’s agenda was to discuss the stipend WPI could provide to the co-researchers involved.

Cast of Characters

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

Community Members –Elizabeth, Yolanda, Charlene, Danielle, Lenrika, Mark, and Emeralda

ISN – Terrence


Leinrika’s Home in Flamingo Crescent Informal Settlement


We arrived at Flamingo Crescent ready with an agenda to lead the meeting with the community leaders. The meeting room in Lenrika’s house was available and ready with some chairs. We walked in and waited while Lenrika went to get the rest of the community members. At first we were worried that attendance would be poor since the majority of the community leaders have other responsibilities and jobs. Fortunately, a majority of the leaders including the steering committee and teachers walked into the room ready to discuss crèche logistics.

The meeting began with a brief introduction from everyone followed by a quick explanation of how they hope to contribute to the project. Some of the community members were hesitant to speak initially, but as the meeting progressed, they began to voice their opinions. We showed them the most updated design of the crèche, and their faces lit up. As we explained the details about the crèche such as the location of the kitchen and bathrooms, they were nodding and some of them asked questions that we were able to answer.

The community also needed to come up with a name for the crèche so that we could get it registered in order for them to receive subsidies from the government. It was silent at first, until Terrance mentioned how each street was named after birds and how we should keep with the theme. A few ideas flew around and we all settled on “Little Paradise”. It was a sigh of relief to hear the name and everyone could actually start to visualize the crèche.

Finally, we explained to the community leaders that we are working under a tight budget and that only a small fraction could be allocated to payments for their services. Ultimately, these services should be voluntary, so that the money raised goes straight to improving the infrastructure and curriculum. Esmeralda, a community leader interested in becoming part of the crèche governing body, made it clear that all of this effort is solely to give children in Flamingo better lifestyles.


The WPI Team and the Community Steering Committee


It was great to see that the community leaders attended the meeting. All of them showed a positive attitude towards the crèche and understanding that children are the priority in this project. Going into this meeting we didn’t have high hopes everyone would show up since so far we haven’t had much luck gathering more than two community leaders to work with at the same time. The fact that everyone showed up on time without us having to hunt them down was a surprise and reward all in one. Everything sort of fell into place after this and we were able to come up with a name for the crèche that was very symbolic to the progress of our project. Seeing their excitement and investment in this project made our purpose here even clearer. Although it’s always been clear to us that our project had the potential to change lives, getting to know these community members and see their drive for change inspires us to do everything possible to complete this project for them.