Scene 8: Closing Time



The final day at Flamingo was approaching and we wanted to make sure that everyone involved took a step back and realized how much this project had accomplished. Because of this, we planned a celebration where progress and individual contributions would be recognized. We invited all of our partners to attend this occasion in Flamingo Crescent.

Cast of Characters

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

Community Members – Elizabeth, Yolanda, Lenrika, Mark, and Cathy

City Helper – Darryn Williams

Construction Team – John Adams, Bjorn Matthews, Avron Malfent, and Shakeel Samuels

Advisors – Scott and Steve

CECD – Eric and Sarah Atmore

ISN – Terrence


Flamingo Crescent Informal Settlement


The last work day began with paintbrushes and rollers. We started by painting the interior walls of the crèche with a bright yellow that would brought life to the crèche. We continued to paint the walls while some of the construction workers finished interior details. At one point, even Lance jumped in to help paint the walls. It was rewarding to see how some of the workers approached us and kept giving us advice and tips on how to use rollers properly. It made us realize how much they cared about this project and that they were comfortable enough to approach us and share their knowledge.


We also reminded the community leaders that we were holding a final meeting at noon that day. It was very important to get as many people to attend this celebration since we wanted to congratulate each individuals efforts. As we were getting closer to noon, Eric and Sarah Atmore showed up along with Scott and Steve. They spoke to Terrence about some of the crèche’s final details while we finished up painting and called the other community leaders to join us inside the crèche.

Once everyone was inside, we began the festivities with a brief introduction explaining the motive behind this gathering. We emphasized how far the project has come and proceeded with individual recognitions. We awarded community members and the construction workers with Shared Action Learning (SAL) certificates that had different descriptions recognizing people’s involvement throughout the project. For instance, Terrence was distinguished for his leadership and construction skills on site. One by one, we read each SAL certificate and were able to see how much the community appreciated this gesture. It was amazing to see how each had contributed to the project in different ways over the course of the last eight weeks. The icing on the cake of our perfect day in Flamingo were the cakes we shared together with the kids and community in the Little Paradise we had built together.

Celebration and SAL Certificates

Final Group Picture

Justin had prepared a video to show just how far we had come in the three weeks of building and eight weeks of the project. Watching it was an emotional moment for all of us.  When it was over, we said our final goodbyes until our presentations to our friends in Flamingo. As Lance began to pull away, Terrence told us that he would work all weekend if he had to in order to finish the painting and flooring in the crèche so we could see it before we left.

As we drove down Flamingo Crescent Road one last time, we passed by Marky and he wished us one love.



It seemed surreal that today would be our last day working in Flamingo Crescent. Over the course of 8 weeks we had gotten so accustomed to going in and working hard and fighting to finish everything that we set out to do. Then today, just like that, it was over. Fortunately we hadn’t planned to do much work on this day, instead it was our time to thank the community and our partners for the great experiences that they have given us the opportunity to experience. At the 12 pm ceremony, everyone gathered in the crèche to bask in the glow of what we accomplished with everyones help. The certificates were well received by the community and really were a testament to how many people contributed to the success of our project. It was tough to not get emotional as some of the community members got teared up both out of the joy of being recognized for their efforts and the sadness of knowing that we would not be coming back again. Everyone enjoyed the video that we put together that highlighted some of the major moments of the project and the construction. They loved seeing the progress and hard work that had been made. Even the kids got excited when they saw their faces in the video. Upon its completion it was time to depart. As we packed up our things and gave one last look at Flamingo it all became too real.

There was a calmness about the day that was almost surreal. It’s like the whole community took a break from its ordinary bustle and stood still just for a brief moment to let us take it in one more time. We got to think about what is next for the community and for ourselves. We reflected on the things that had gotten us to that point, hoping that maybe there was one thing left that we could do, but there wasn’t. This was it. And it was in that moment that we realized that you really can’t predict what’s going to happen next, but sometimes the things you didn’t expect are what you really wanted after all. In this point in time we realized we couldn’t think about where it was all headed but rather we had to simply enjoy where it was at in the present. We did what we had to do. The playground was there, the crèche was just about built, and the community was ready to move forward on the crèche. But that’s not what stuck out to any of us. Nelson Mandela once said, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine that significance of the life you lead.” And as we drove away one final time, it was finally clear that we indeed had made a difference to someone’s life. And that is all you can ever really hope for.