Act 2 Scene 5

A Burst of Color


Our day takes place at the Mandela Park WaSH facility in Langrug, the informal settlement in Stellenbosch where the majority of our project takes place. The day is chilly, but sunny and beautiful on the side of the mountain where Langrug resides.

We end our day at Tokara, a beautiful winery in Stellenbosch.

Cast of Characters


After a busy Thursday, we were excited to have a more hands-on day! Because Nathan and Danielle, along with Siyanda, had already picked up paint and supplies, we were able to get started on painting the rest of the facility relatively quickly. The beginning of the week was so focused on discussion of the management and operations of the aftercare programme, it was great to have a day dedicated to upgrading the facility.


We arrive in Langrug expecting it to be rainy and cold. While we are correct about the temperature, the day turns out to be sunny and beautiful. Our teams file out of the van and realize that there are no community members in the facility, but there is a Stellenbosch Municipality representative waiting to have a meeting with the WaSH Biz team and Scott about the facility becoming registered with the municipality. We all introduce ourselves and briefly explain our projects. After waiting outside for a couple of minutes, Mama Poto, Amanda 1, and Khungeka call to us from the storage facility. Within minutes, more members of the working team make their way inside, trying to get out of the cold wind.

Learning about Health Promoters

Heather asks the ladies about the Health Promoters workshop that had taken place the previous afternoon. Siyanda tells us that they learned about obesity. Some of the lessons are still hung up on the walls around the storage bungalow. We notice they learned about energy, caloric intake, and weight. Before we can discuss any further though, Scott arrives and briefly pulls Nicole from the group to talk about the meeting.

Interior Makover: WaSH Facility Edition

Mama Poto (front) and Zodwa (back) Painting

Mama Poto (front) and Zodwa (back) Painting

The rest of the teams prepare for painting. We begin by wetting down the paint brushes used the previous week as they are hard and covered in paint. This is a disappointing discovery, because we had carefully cleaned everything the last time we had used them, but when community members worked on their own over the weekend, they did not care for the equipment as much. Once everything is cleaned and usable, we move into the facility. The plan was to focus mainly on painting the blue section of the facility, but the ladies want to get as much done as possible and also begin working on painting the women’s section of the facility peach. We each take turns working on different parts of the walls, sometimes taking breaks to chat and laugh together. Mama Poto and Mama Thandi begin calling us silly names in Xhosa. Everyone laughs as they call Heather “Tall Woman”, or Somte, and Nathan “Small Man”, or Putana. Throughout the rest of the day, the ladies continue to call us by funny names and laugh each time we respond.

We spend a majority of the time painting and talking. Occasionally we hear Siyanda or Khungeka singing and listen closely. The rest of the women tend to join in and sing together. It is so interesting to hear the difference in the songs they sing compared to the ones we know at home. It’s a pleasure to get more information on their traditional culture.

As the day comes to an end, we begin cleaning up all the supplies. Mama Thandi, Heather, Mollie, Noloyiso, and Nathan head up to another toilet facility a short walk from the WaSH Facility. It is the same one Mollie and Heather visited last time we were painting. The group of us begins scrubbing the paint from the trays, brushes, and rollers, but we are having a hard time because the women used a lot of turpentine before getting all the paint off. Mama Thandi leaves after a short while and comes back with a sturdy, mesh sack. She begins wetting it and covering it in soap. We watch as she begins to use it as a rough sponge. We are extremely impressed with her resourcefulness. The sack ends up doing the trick and getting most of the paint off of the trays.

Once the supplies are as clean as possible, we walk back to the WaSH Facility to gather our belongings and head back to the lodge.

WaSH Team Wine Time

On our way back from Langrug, our teams and Sizwe decide to stop by Tokara, a local vineyard, for a free wine tasting. We all feel extremely out of place in our dirty, paint covered clothes and hands as we approach the beautiful entrance to the vineyard. It takes some time to coax Nicole, Heather, and Stephanie out of the van, but eventually we are all walking into the wine tasting lounge together.

We stay for about a half an hour and are able to try four different wines. Over the course of the tasting, we are able to talk a lot and learn more about each other. Sizwe tells us of his dream to be an actor, singer, and dancer when he was younger. He had passed auditions at the University of Cape Town, but his family was not supportive so instead he went into town planning. It is interesting to hear more about people in such a relaxed setting. Near the end of our tasting, the server looks at Heather’s hands and comments on the excessive amount of “smurf” blue paint. We explain to him the premise of our projects in Langrug and he seems slightly amused and comments on our “selflessness”.

We leave the wine tasting feeling great and have decided to make wine tasting a new Friday afternoon tradition for the WaSH Teams!


Our team had a great time seeing the facility truly transform into a more appealing and exciting space. The ladies were excited to start working right away and it showed how enthusiastic they all are about getting this work done. We are quickly realizing we all need to be more careful, since there is lots of paint on the floor and if the equipment continues to not be taken care of it will become unusable. We recognize we only have a couple weeks left to make an impact and get our aftercare programme off the ground. Seeing the facility covered in color, even if it’s only a first coat, was exciting and motivating and we look forward to the end result of a fully functional aftercare in a beautiful facility!

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