Scene 3: Leaving a Little Handprint




The past four weeks continued to be planning oriented. The steering committee had decided on the name Little Paradise for the crèche and we continued working on the costing and design. There were many dates floating around when concrete would be delivered to Flamingo Crescent and we were beginning to worry that we would have to buy and mix concrete, which would eat a huge chunk of our budget. The deciding factor would be whether or not concrete would be delivered Monday and we did not know if it would be a donation or an order.


Cast of Characters

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

Advisors – Scott and Steve

Community Members – Mark, Shakeel, Crèche Construction Team

CECD – Sarah Atmore

CORC – Adi

ISN – Terrence




Flamingo Crescent Informal Settlement

Gatti Ice Cream Factory



Construction Day 1

We met early in the morning at Flamingo Crescent with Adi, Terrence, Scott, and Steve. It was shaping up to be another day of meetings and planning. However, today marks the beginning of our construction timeline. If the date is pushed back any further, we will not be able to complete the crèche in time for the December 11th deadline. Last week, the CECD had pushed Afrisam even further to confirm the donation of concrete. However, at the end of the week it seemed like it was not going to happen. After a flurry of phone calls, to our surprise, our contact from Afrisam told us that the concrete would be coming at noon and it would be free! The only thing left to do was build the box the concrete would be poured into. Unfortunately we now had a very limited timeframe and insufficient materials for the box.

Scott ran an emergency materials run to LTD building supplies and BuildIt and we were building the box shortly afterwards. The design of the crèche required the box to be used as the main ground support for the walls, so six meter boards were spaced three meters apart to ensure there would be enough support for the walls and the concrete would set well. Additionally, Adi and Scott suggested we lay down black plastic sheeting beneath the leveled box in order to prevent the sandy lot from soaking up the moisture from the concrete. At 11:45am we were almost done with the box and at exactly 12:03pm we received a call from the Afrisam delivery truck.

We thought we would be able to pour the concrete from over the wall into the box, but as soon as the truck pulled up next to the wall we realized the wall was too high. The only other option was to back the truck up all the way through Flamingo to the crèche site. The driver accepted the challenge admirably. It took a solid twenty minutes to direct the giant truck through, but the driver managed to pull right up to the crèche site and pour the concrete into the box that had barely been finished five minutes prior.

Afrisam Pouring the Concrete

After looking at the delivery receipt, we realized that only five meters cubed of concrete had been delivered. A few calls later, we found out that the next truck would not arrive for another forty-five minutes. However, it was so hot out that the concrete was setting too fast to wait. Terrence, Justin, Andres, Shakeel, and Marky began to level the concrete from front to back using an extra wooden board. However, when the next concrete truck came to deliver another 4 cubic meters, they poured it directly on top of what had just been leveled.

Walls are Vertical

Walls are Vertical

Around 1pm Sarah arrived at Flamingo to lend her support. She suggested to Terrence that he should gather up more guys in order to finish the job before the concrete began to set. She also told us that the drainage pipe could not legally be connected to the sewage in order to prevent overflows in the winter time. This news, although not ideal, meant the drainage plan would have to be reevaluated again and a new solution would have to be implemented.

After the rest of Terrence’s team jumped in the job went fairly quickly. It began to seem possible that a foundation would be in place by the end of the day.

Construction Team

The WPI Team & Construction Team

Construction Day 2

We allowed the concrete foundation to set for one day before LTD building supplies delivered the materials for phase one. By the end of our Thanksgiving break the walls, roof, doors, and windows needed to be completed. The materials arrived in Flamingo early and Marky managed to secure them in the playground area. When we arrived the construction team was watching the materials, rearing to go. Justin explained the basics of the design  and everyone got to work building the crèche immediately.  Terrence and Justin took the lead on the crèche construction and the other half of our team started work on the playground.

The tires that had been collected late last week had been scattered around all of Flamingo and beyond. So, we decided to do a painting activity with the kids to finish up the mural and recruited Yolanda to help us keep the kids from getting too crazy.

We painted the hands of the kids and then had them place them on the mural as the leaves of a tree. Andres and Malina were picking up kids and helping them get their hand on the mural while Yolanda made sure the kids washed their hands immediately afterwards. Only one rogue child managed to get a handprint right in the middle of the sun we had painted the day earlier before we could get him to wash his hands. We considered this to be fairly successful.


Painting Handprints On the Mural


The Finished Product

As a small treat, Yolanda and the team went on a fieldtrip to the Gatti Ice Cream Factory and distributed popsicles (suckers) to the kids and crèche workers. By the end of the day, many of the walls had been built and attached to the box. The four weeks of planning had led to two very successful build days with the promise of more to come.


Although it took us a long time to pull together all the planning, the result was worth the wait. Having Sarah from the CECD, Adi from CORC, and Terrence from ISN all working together on site is a huge step forward in terms of creating a support network for the crèche and making key design changes moving forward. Receiving the donation of concrete from Afrisam was a huge accomplishment and their generosity will be appreciated in Flamingo Crescent for a long time. In two days our team accomplished more tangible progress than in the past four weeks. Once we got all of our ducks in a row it was much easier to begin building the crèche and the playground.