Act 4 Scene 1

“Our blood is all from the same human being”


The WaSH Facility in Mandela Park. The day is bright, sunny, and warm. The scene also later shifts to the local Pick N Pay and a meat market on the way back to Langrug.


We are returning from half a week off for Thanksgiving break, during which our co-researchers had a lot of work to do including having a general body meeting with crèche leaders to talk about the aftercare programme and running a trial of the aftercare programme. We are excited to see what got done and where the aftercare programme stands after a few days on its own.

Cast of Characters


World AIDS Day!

As we pull into Langrug in the van, we anticipate a regular workday. However, when we pass a group of people walking with a truck in a sort of make shift parade, we notice they are holding signs about raising HIV/AID awareness and we recall that it is World AIDS Day! HIV/AIDS affects many members of our community so this day is extremely important to them.  Sure enough, as soon as we arrive, Trevor is there and explains that the community wants to have a celebration, if we can rearrange work to do so. We agree to work in the morning and then have a braai (a South African barbeque) in the afternoon. Together the women will contribute R500 for the food and we will contribute R500 also.

Some Extra Flair

Additionally, when we first walk in we notice that some extra painting has been done while we were gone. The alphabet outlined on the sink has been painted, as well as the cover for the grey water channel in the middle of the facility and the inside of the children’s stalls. We are a little surprised that the women painted over the handprints in the children’s stalls but they say they want to redo the handprints in colors that match the rest of the facility.

Getting Caught Up

Let's Talk

Let’s Talk

Before we can have fun, we split into our two teams to get some work done. We (WaSH-Serv team and Mama Thandi, Amanda 2, and Noloyiso) stay in the facility, while WaSH-Biz moves to the storage bungalow. We begin by making a plan for the week, but quickly realize we need to figure out what happened last week before we can plan for this week. Amanda explains that unfortunately they were not able to formally open the aftercare last week. The general crèche meeting that was supposed to happen Wednesday had to be postponed because Nobathembu could not make it. Apparently, she was in Cape Town all week for a meeting. Instead, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday the women went to the different crèches in the community and to the homes of some parents to talk about the aftercare programme. They say the idea was well received by the teachers at the crèche and by the parents, so they look forward to the general meeting to formally receive support from crèche leaders and parents. Unfortunately, Nobathembu is responsible for calling the meeting and we do not yet know when that will be. Amanda 2 agrees to talk with her and let us know what she decides.

While the aftercare programme was not officially running, some progress was made. The children were able to still play with the toys. Although on Thursday and Friday, while the women were going door-to-door asking for support from parents, someone gave children the toys to play with and they were not put away properly afterward. The women were upset someone would use the toys without permission, but were mostly certain that nothing had been taken. Additionally seven children registered for the official aftercare, including Siyanda’s daughter and other children whom we do not know. Only three registrations are there and the other four are at Amanda 2’s house. A Health Promoters workshop also took place on Friday and nine people attended the two modules presented that day.

Learning About the Key Mishap

We hear some disappointing news during the conversation, too. Mama Thandi, one of the caretakers, was locked out of the caretakers’ office some afternoons last week, which prevented her from being able to get to the supplies inside such as hand soap, toilet paper, and the toys for the kids. Mama Thandi felt that because she was not part of the Savings Group, she could not use the caretakers’ office because it is now the kiosk and if things went missing from the kiosk she would be blamed. She is visibly upset while we talk about this and says she wanted to avoid the office problem. However, we decide with Mama Thandi, Amanda, and Noloyiso to schedule a conversation with the whole working group tomorrow about why Mama Thandi, a caretaker, was locked out of the caretakers’ office.

Once the meeting is scheduled and our very busy plan for the week is made, we join up with WaSH-Biz in the facility and talk a little bit about the sign for the facility. We come up with a list of good ideas and jot them down. Hopefully the teenage girl from the community who expressed interest in helping us will be able to stop by and draw up the sign for us in the near future. Then we move to talking about celebrating and eating. We agree to send about half the group to the store to get food, with a quick stop at the bank so the Savings Group can take out R500 for food. We have R500 from Scott and Steve, who stopped by briefly but did not stay for long.

Getting Ready

After some confusion about who was going and trying to organize everything, we finally all pile into the van and head out. After the stop at the bank where the women withdraw money from the Savings Group account, we head to Pick N Pay. Half of us head across the road to the gas station, which also sells food, but unfortunately the deal on meat that we are trying to get is not available. Instead we head back to Pick N Pay to get the food there. We purchase a lot of bread, chicken, chips (french fries), cookies, apples, and beverages. Our team also purchases batteries for the clock in the facility. There is a slight misunderstanding about buying chicken. We are only supposed to buy a little meat at Pick N Pay because the ladies want to stop on the way back and get more meat at a local store. but we did not know this and spent more money than planned at Pick N Pay. We decide to get a little bit of sausage at the market, which is still plenty of meat  before we head back to the facility.

It takes a little bit of time to organise everyone in the storage bungalow, especially because so many children have shown up while we were at the store and started playing at the facility. We are excited to see them and eventually we are able to get all of the co-researchers in a room so we can start eating and celebrating World AIDS day!

A Day to Celebrate!

We mostly eat and make small talk. At one point, Mama Poto shares a little bit about what World AIDS Day means to her, that it is both a day for celebrating and also a hard day. Others say they will share when we are done eating, but when we are done eating we head into the yard of the facility so we can play with kids and give them the leftover cookies and apples, which they love. Mama Victoria spends time putting them in a single file line so they can each receive half an apple and a cookie.

After the snack, we play games that involve singing and dancing in a circle. The kids are eager to stand next to us and show us all their different games. Mama Poto’s daughter arrives with a friend and helps lead the games, singing loudly and demonstrating the movements for all of us.



Trevor interrupts at the beginning briefly to talk about how much WPI means to him, and how it is important that we are all connected as humans, even though we are all different. He refers to us as his brothers and sisters saying, “We are not different. We are all together. Our blood is all from the same human being”. We take time to soak in the deep meaning behind his words before returning to playing. The students manage to play along too, even though we do not know the games or the words to the songs. Everyone is having a good time laughing and playing! It is hard to say goodbye at the end of the day, but eventually we head home for a  meeting at the lodge.


The day started off a little frustrating, when none of the women had filled out the report forms we made for them and the general body meeting did not happen. However, we see that the women had been working really hard to get the aftercare going through advertisements and the children still had a safe place to play in the afternoons. We look forward to getting the programme more official and off the ground soon. We were quick to lighten our moods celebrating and eating and playing in the afternoon. It was great to get to know the kids in the community better and see the caretakers and co-researchers’ excitement to care for the children!

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