Scene 7: Life Through Murals and Trees



The tire structure in the playground was almost done with painting details to be finished; however, we still needed to find a way to secure the whole structure to the ground. In addition, the seating area was still under construction with the hope of receiving a donation of trees and tree stumps from the City of Cape Town. The finishes on the roof and interior walls of the crèche were fairly close to completion and we planned on painting a mural on the front that referenced the name of the crèche, “Little Paradise,” like Terrence and Elizabeth had previously suggested.


Cast of Characters

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

City Helpers – Jade Jordaan, Darryn Williams

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

ISN – Terrence



Flamingo Crescent Informal Settlement

Center of Early Childhood Development



Upon arrival in Flamingo, the team split up into two groups: one in charge of securing the tire play structure into the ground and the other of painting the mural on the outside front wall of the crèche. After considering several options, we decided that using expansion bolts and drilling them into the pavers on the playground would be the best option.


Connecting the Tires into the Ground

Justin and Kristin managed to secure the tires in a circular formation connecting the tire tower and the big truck tire. Almost immediately the children were jumping on and running around it. When we showed Terrence our progress, he was pleased with the fact the structure was secured and not going anywhere. All that was left to do with this structure was to paint variety of colors on the tires.


The Finished Tire Structure


While the tire structure was secured, the rest of the team focused on the mural. Andres, Jacquelyne, and Malina painted trees, flamingos, ponds, and flowers as requested. The outside wall quickly came to life and the community began to notice. Community members walking by complemented the design and we could tell the excitement for the crèche was increasing throughout the community. Yolanda and Elizabeth gave some of their input and requested us to add their favorite animal to the mural: a dolphin. Additionally, Malina painted the lettering for “Little Paradise” and “Flamingo Crescent.”


Jacquelyne, Malina, and Andres Painting the mural for the Crèche


Seeing this final product and how much people appreciated it gave us a boost and made us realize how much this contributed to the crèche both aesthetically and how the community responded to it.


Panoramic View of the Final Crèche Mural


This mural and the tire structure were great accomplishments for the day. Although both were more time consuming than we anticipated, both were steps in the right direction.

The following day we arrived at Flamingo expecting to receive a donation of trees and tree stumps from the City of Cape Town. We had to wait longer than expected, so we decided to paint the remainder of the tires and do some final touch ups to the mural on the crèche. In addition, the steering committee was scheduled to have an educational meeting at the CECD. Jacquelyne and Kristin accompanied the steering committee and headed to the CECD. The meeting did not take long, and the steering committee took some notes home including the need to draft a constitution in order to register the crèche.

We were still eager to see if the trees were going to arrive that day. These trees were essential for the seating area to provide shade and bring life to the recreational area. As we were finishing details on the mural, we were told the trees had arrived. The whole team rushed to the entrance of Flamingo ready to be surprised by the unknown size of the trees and tree stumps. A large truck greeted us with a crane where two beautiful trees stood out between several tree stumps on the truck’s bed. Unfortunately, the crane could not go in due to the electrical wires, so we had to carry the tree stumps and trees all the way to the playground area, which proved to be a fairly difficult task requiring the assistance of Terrence and his construction team.

Once the truck was fully unloaded and brought to the playground, we placed the trees in a strategic location close to the designated seating area. The trees were bigger than expected, so we got to work digging two holes. To do this, we had to remove some of the preexisting pavers out that we would later use to frame the tree on the ground. The trees went in smoothly and immediately changed the entire environment of the recreational area. Several community members saw this whole process and looked pleasantly surprised. Just as we finished installing the trees, the WaSH teams showed up and helped us transform them into shaded seats along the shacks.


View of the Recreational Space with Trees and Stumps in the Seating Area




Things are coming together faster than we would have thought. The community has shown a lot of appreciation and excitement for the more visible changes in Flamingo, such as the mural and the trees. Having people approach us and complement the mural showed us how a small change in this community can spark happiness and motivation. In addition, the presence of all the stakeholders has been remarkable lately. As a team, we’ve learned that perseverance and patience pays off. Receiving the tree donation from the City of Cape Town was an accomplishment that has drastically changed the environment and overall feel of the recreational area.