Act 5 Scene 1

How Do We Proceed?


The end of what would turn out to be our last working day in Langrug takes place in the living area of the lodge in Cape Town with everyone sitting in a large circle.


Our day before in Langrug was extremely upsetting and both teams felt completely defeated, angry, sad, and overwhelmed with what to do next. On the drive home, Stephanie called Scott to ask for a meeting at the lodge. Scott and Steve also included Adi and Sizwe in this meeting, since they are stakeholders in WaSH-UP and have been working in Langrug for the past four years. The teams were anxious to share their day and overall experiences in Langrug with everyone and hoped for some advice on where to go next.

Cast of Characters


Letting It All Out

Adi and Sizwe arrive before our advisors, so we decide to bring Adi up to speed. Heather explains the events that have transpired over the course of the last week. She updates him on the WaSH teams’ attempts to create a more motivated community and finish our projects, while informing him of certain struggles, such as the dilemma where not all caretakers were allowed keys. Others contribute to fill in the gaps.

Scott and Steve come into the lodge shortly after and once they are settled, Heather continues to summarize the WaSH teams’ experiences on Thursday and Friday, the last two days they were in Langrug. The rest of the WaSH-UP teams join in, sharing their personal feelings, stories, and experiences. We are heartbroken that many of the women simply asked for material things, including business cards for the salon, a salon T-shirt, and Heather’s water bottle. We feel used and as though our connections with these ladies, whom we had grown to love, were insincere and phony. Scott attempts to console us by making the point that although these experiences were disappointing, it does not mean the positive experiences we had with the women are any less significant. Scott makes a good point when he reminds us that there are many facets to a person. Someone can be genuine and caring but also manipulative at times if he or she is in a desperate situation. We try to not let some of the incidents hurt our feelings but we explain to Scott that this is still hard to do considering the amount of time we have spent in Langrug.

Our advisors and stakeholders, after all the venting from the teams is over, are apologetic and give us credit for sticking with it for so long. Adi says, “I would have pulled you out of there three weeks ago.” He and Scott further explain that Langrug has had these issues before, just not with this kind of severity, and he is upset that it has come to this. Scott continues with his own apologies for everything we have had to deal with and thanks us for trying so hard.

Scott finally asks Sizwe if he has experienced these same issues with the community. Although Sizwe does not talk much, he confirms the severity of the challenges we have faced and explains that he has been facing these same issues for the past four years and has given up on helping them, in a sense. Adi also mentions that he has seen these issues.

We mention that we do not believe Langrug is equipped to handle the intangible changes we were attempting to make, and are only looking for the material, tangible benefits of the WPI Project Centre. We feel like we failed WaSH-UP, something everyone has been very proud of, but do not think it can continue in Langrug under the current model. Scott, however, reminds us that WaSH-UP as a whole is just an experiment and we are still just trying to figure out the best way to do sanitation and hygiene in informal settlements. Langrug started with a broken Savings Group and complex community dynamics that caused the apparent collapse of our projects. We discuss the option of not continuing in Langrug, even for just a year, but do not want to jump to any conclusions right away.

With that, Scott tells us that we should no longer go to Langrug; that our projects in the field are essentially over. He says we definitely do not need to go in on Monday, as there is a big meeting happening in Langrug with Scott, Steve, Adi, Sizwe, and Joey, a representative from the Municipality. He says we can make a decision about going in later in the week after Monday to say goodbye, but that it is up to each individual’s own discretion. Some students express that they do not want to go back. While it is hard to hear, it is clear that the students are grateful for Scott’s decision. Adi has to step out to make another meeting at this point, and while he and Scott are talking in the hall, Steve gives us his apologies for not supporting us through these challenges as much as we would have liked to. He still hopes we still learned and gained something from this experience.

Shortly after Scott returns, our advisors leave for the day and the WaSH teams slowly realize our time in the field is officially over. Our hopes for our project have changed drastically and we must use our project as a learning experience that can hopefully help future projects.


We entered this meeting hoping to share our recent challenges with everyone involved in WaSH-UP. We wanted to explain our experience, express our feelings, and make a decision about how to proceed. We were happy to have the support of our sponsor and advisors during this difficult decision and are hoping to hear back from them about the progress in Langrug after Monday. For now, we plan to focus on our writing and website work, and move past the emotional week we had with the community.

It was an extremely emotional day for us, as many of us felt like we had failed WaSH-UP completely and did not know what to do. The official end of our project came as a relief, even though many of us were still upset. This was not the plan. It was so close, what had gone so wrong?

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