Act 2 Scene 1

Making Physical Progress


The scene begins outside the WaSH facility, on a hot and sunny day in Langrug. The construction has moved further up the road so it is no longer creating excessive noise, but the dirt and rubble it created still remains.

The scene then shifts to Build It, a local construction store a short drive away in Franschhoek.

We then move to the WaSH facility again, specifically the men’s area, a small section consisting of two toilets, two urinals, and a shower with changing area.

Finally the scene moves to the WaSH facility up the hill, which, although open to the elements and appearing to be less well cared for than the one we are working in, still has running water. It appears to be a pretty popular place for laundry, although it is unclear if this is always the case or just because of the lack of water in other areas of Langrug.


After talking about painting with our co-researchers for the past few days, but not being able to get the supplies yesterday, we are determined to get that work done today. We hope to start creating physical changes to the facility, our first steps in developing the Aftercare Programme. Seeing the facility transform into the aftercare space, we hope, will motivate our co-researchers and our team members to work hard and fully realize the aftercare! We have a lot of big plans so we want to start painting today and hopefully have it done quickly so we can begin to work on other tangible changes.

Cast of Characters


As we unload from the van, we see the community members gathered outside the facility waiting for us. Sizwe, approaches the group and begins speaking in Xhosa. The group discusses some things, led by Sizwe in Xhosa. We, along with the WaSH-Biz team, wait for them to finish speaking. After about 15 minutes, the discussion ceases, and we split into the WaSH-Biz team in the facility and us outside with Siyanda and Mama Thandi. Sizwe explains to us that he was discussing the Zwelitsha construction site. Apparently Andrew had been to the construction site earlier, but had left because no one was around. Sizwe explains that this is unacceptable and that the team needs to be more committed to construction. It appears we need to make strides toward better coordinating and scheduling.

Fieldtrip to Build It

We take Siyanda and Mama Thandi to a local construction store, Build It, to buy paint, varnish, multiple sizes of brushes, rollers, paint pans, and tape. Nomahala has yet to join the group today, even though she is part of our co-researcher team. She is not home and nobody knows where she is.

We learn a lot at Build It, including the differences between water and oil-based paints and how varnish only works on unpainted wood. We decide on Flower Stem Green for the men’s bathroom, Peach Party for the women’s bathroom, and Blue Bay for the rest of the WaSH facility, not including the children’s section. After learning that oil-based paint, despite being more expensive, lasts longer and will hold up better on the wood in weather and with water, we decide to buy the oil-based paint. Unfortunately, they only have one paint can and no blue paint dye, so the ladies decide to start with the men’s bathroom. The paint starts out white, and dye is put in. Originally, we choose a darker green; but after waiting a long time for 7 bottles of dye to mix, we decide to keep it a shade about half as dark. Fortunately, we like this shade too and are excited to start painting the facility!

Let the painting begin!



Back at the WaSH facility, we start by laying  garbage bags down to protect the ground. We then start taping some of the objects on the wall so they do not get ruined. We have a blast painting, dancing, and listening to music. Other community members, most of whom were working with WaSH-Biz on the constitution for the Savings Group, stop by to see what we are doing. We are even briefly joined by a young boy who enjoys playing with the rugby ball and distracting us more than helping to paint. After over an hour of painting, Mollie, Heather, Mama Thandi, and Nomahala go to wash off the brushes and pans. Because the WaSH facility currently does not have running water, we go to one a quick walk up the hill.

Finishing Touches

Finishing Touches

First though, we walk to Mama Thandi’s home to get soap. On the way we pass both Nobathembu’s crèche and another community crèche. Being in such close range of each other, we ask how many creches are in Langrug, which Nomahala explains is three, and that the community crèche is R150 a month to attend. From there we go to the WaSH facility built in 2011, which is just a short walk from ours. It is open to the elements, and the toilets appear to be poorly maintained, however the water is running in the laundry basins. We are slightly disheartened to see that some of the hard work of previous WPI students is not well cared for, especially the colorful paintings around the sinks that are completely gone. We work together to wash the paintbrushes, but are slowed down because many of the basins do not have working taps, and many of the remaining ones are being used for laundry. Once finished, we return to the WaSH facility to a crowd of people. We later learn that these people are from Informal Settlement Network (ISN) and are here to learn about the projects going on in Langrug. We do not stay for the meeting but instead head home for the day.


We were extremely excited to start working with community on tangible changes to the facility. Once we got to Build It, Mama Thandi and Siyanda were very helpful by choosing colors they thought would work well in the facility. It was great to seem them taking initiative and getting really involved in the project. After we started painting, we felt really connected to Mama Thandi, Siyanda, and Nomahala. We were playing music, laughing, and enjoying upgrading the facility. This was the first day for decorating the inside; with this painting accomplished, we hope to start the next week off on a high note.

Although today consisted of less discussion than typical days, we felt like we started to make a real difference in the community and look forward to all the plans we have for the future. Hopefully by the time we leave, the WaSH Facility will look beautiful and have a successful aftercare programme!

Next Page –>