Scene vii: The Countdown Begins


Another day in the blistering sun began with the team arriving at the Safe House. We had a lot on our minds as we got off the bus. There was plenty to be done, and the number of days we had on site was beginning to dwindle. We eagerly got to work so that we could get as much done as possible during the day.

Cast of Characters

WPI Safe House Team

Mama Pilisani



Scott and Steve

Actions & Observations

As we entered the Safe House yard, we were anxious to see how our newly created features withstood the night. We found everything in good condition, and the drying lines had already been put to use, nearly full with laundry. Happy with the outcome, we went into our final weekly meeting with our advisors, Nontembiso, Mama Pilisani, and Andisewe. We were able to bring every one up to speed on the developments and provide a clear picture of what will be accomplished once the project has been completed.


Scott and Mama Pilisani discussing the finished yard.

Immediately following the meeting, we all got to work on the remaining projects. We began clearing out the drying lines that were positioned in what is now the children’s playground area. We tore down the pole, removed the base, and collected the lines. While the other team members were doing this, Julia and Chrissy drilled drainage holes in all of the tires to prevent water collecting in them when it rains and to prevent mold growth within our play structures.

Finally, we prepared everything for the stepping poles to be put in. We measured out the distance available and marked where the remaining holes should be, even having a few children take steps to guide us on how big the gaps between the poles should be. We dug the remaining holes in a zigzag fashion that will challenge children of all ages. We cut the poles to length, sanded them to be smooth, and waterproofed them.


Stepping poles are ready to be cemented.


Most of the planning today was based around our weekly meeting with Scott and Steve, as we wanted to be able to show them all the progress we had made. We organized the meeting as a top priority before moving to the outside, making sure that everyone was on the same page with our accomplishments and final goals. We did a lot of preparatory work for our final projects—digging out holes for the stepping posts, cutting and painting the posts, and buying necessary hardware so that we can efficiently complete our last few tasks.

Reflection & Learning

Our morning meeting proved to be a fruitful and rewarding experience for all of us. Our advisors were extremely pleased with our progress and the overall accomplishments of the project. Most importantly,  Nontembiso, Mama Pilisani, and Andisewe described the vast changes they have seen within the women. They claimed that their recovery has been expedited and spirits are considerably higher. Being involved with the project has given them a sense of ownership and has motivated them to maintain what is already there and pursue future improvements.

The drying lines proved to be a success and our worries about its effectiveness subsided. We had had some concerns about how difficult it would be to pull the line taut with the weight of clothes on it. However, after a conversation with one of the women, we discovered that her daughter was able to hang clothes on the line easily. Not only was it simple to use, but it was also a fun activity that spurred the children to want to help their mother’s with the laundry.


One of the girls doing the laundry on the new dryer lines.

Not only was it simple to use, but it was also a fun activity that spurred the children to want to help their mother’s with the laundry.

Notes for Future Scenes

Hopefully, we will be able to finish the yard work by Thursday. The stepping posts only need to be cemented into the ground and backfilled before that project will be complete. We are also planning to go and pick up the swings we ordered from PlayVentures, a playground company. They will come mostly assembled and we can just attach them to the play structure. We will also be building standing rope swing. In addition to the yard work, we intend to capture some pictures to use as media for the soon to be updated Sizakuyenza website. Samantha will go with Nontembiso to each of the major facets of the organization. The staff and residents of the safe house also would like to have a celebration with us at the end of the week as a thank-you for all of the work we have accomplished. With all of the goals that we had beginning the project, it is amazing to see all of our preparation and hard work coming together as our concluding tasks are completed.

Act IV >>