Act 5 Scene 2

 “On the last day we’ll all be crying”


The WaSH Facility and Wendy house (the storage bungalow) in the Mandela Park section of Langrug on a beautifully sunny day.


Our teams had not been to Langrug since last Friday when we decided with Steve, Scott, Adi, and Sizwe that we would no longer be working in Langrug. After a few days of reflection and discussions, each member of the WaSH teams felt he or she would like to return to say goodbye to the co-researchers. We are all anxious about returning because we have not discussed the reasons for our absence with the co-researchers and we do not know how we will be received when we go back. After receiving a text message earlier in the week from Amanda 2 saying that the co-researchers miss the WaSH teams and want us to return, most people decide it is best to return once more.

Cast of Characters


Seeing Some Results

As the van pulls up to the facility, anxieties disappear; the facility is bursting with activity. The co-researchers immediately approach the van and give the WaSH teams warm hugs. It is clear they have been here for awhile and are quite busy, a nice contrast to the days when we had to wait for extended periods of time for everyone to arrive. Some of the team heads to the facility while others gravitate toward the Wendy house, the source of much noise. Noloyiso and Amanda 2 are inside the Wendy house with approximately thirty children sitting down having a snack of chips in new red bowls. They become very excited upon seeing us, and barely manage to finish their snacks between high fives, jumps, and hugs. Some of the students go to sit with the children and take silly pictures, making the little kids laugh and scream when they see their faces on the screen. When the snack is done, the children sing songs and play a game reminiscent of Simon Says with Amanda 2. We share some of our own songs, like “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

Playing Catch-Up

The co-researchers lead the children to the WaSH facility where they are organised in the back corner near the women’s showers. The main area of the facility is much more open, and blankets are carefully laid down. The children lie down in an orderly fashion (with help from the caretakers) for naptime. After a few minutes of squirming and being distracted by us, most of them fall asleep, except for a few that are sad to be away from home. Once the children are relaxing or asleep, the co-researchers and students use the time to quietly catch up. Heather helps Amanda 2 wash clothes in the laundry basins. Later, Amanda 2 asks Danielle why the students have not been to the facility this week and Danielle explains that the students did not feel that the co-researchers wanted to work with them. Amanda 2 says she understands why the students felt this way but that she personally did want to participate. Meanwhile, Mollie spends time with some of the older kids, who do not take naps, that are drawing outside and are fascinated by her camera. In between all the catching up with our co-researchers, Heather, Nicole, Stephanie, Danielle, and Mollie all get hair braids from Lulu and Lulu’s friend. It is fun to listen to music and socialize as everyone’s hair is transformed.

Looking Over Langrug

All of the WaSH team members, except Danielle, take a quick walk to the Zwelitsha facility, which has already progressed to two stories. With Nobathembu and Amanda 1, we quickly climb up the ladder to look out. From the second floor, which currently has no walls, we can see out over all of Langrug. It is clear that this will be the tallest building around and a noticeable presence in the community. The view is bizarre and beautiful, seeing the large mountains framing the shacks in Langrug. We realize fully that we will not be back here again, and take one last look at the community that has challenged and changed us so much over the past two months.

Overlooking Langrug

Overlooking Langrug

After Naptime

Mollie Reading a Book to Children

Mollie Reading a Book to Children

When they return, Mama Thandi and Nobathembu quickly grab Mollie and Kostas and bring them to Nobathembu’s crèche where lunch was made in a Wonderbag. We grab the pot of lunch and bring it back to the WaSH facility. Nomahala, Mama Poto, Mama Thandi, Victoria, Noloyiso, and Amanda 2 have washed the red bowls to now be used for lunch. The children wake up and are given a red Kool-Aid-like drink and bean and meat porridge. The co-researchers generously share lunch with the WaSH teams.

Children Eating after Naptime

Children Eating after Naptime

Some members of the teams go outside to play with the children. The kids are very excited when we lift them up high off the ground. Danielle colors with the kids but soon they become fixated on playing with her hair and trying new twists and braids. Nicole joins in on the braiding, as the remaining members of WaSH stay busy playing with the kids and conversing with the co-researchers. Mollie shows a few boys how to use her camera and they have fun posing with each other. All the while, Adi, Sizwe, other CORC representatives, and their visitors converse with Scott and Steve and have a brief meeting in the facility.

Saying Goodbye

The day is filled with a lot of laughter and fun involving the WaSH teams, co-researchers, and Langrug children. The Aftercare Programme seems to be in full swing. It is apparent the children love the bright space and games. The day ends with the co-researchers and WaSH teams taking many pictures together. Everyone becomes emotional as we realize today is really the last day. After a long time of tears, hugs, and goodbye’s, the teams slowly return to the van. As the van pulls away, the WaSH teams wave goodbye and blow kisses to the co-researchers and children, sharing one last moment before our worlds separate again.

Final Goodbyes

Final Goodbyes


We are elated to see the Aftercare Programme and library running. To see such liveliness and activity was incredibly rewarding, especially after the past week. The women appeared very engaged and involved in the aftercare. It was quite apparent that the functionality of naptime, snack time, lunchtime, and playtime was well thought out and planned.

Reuniting to say goodbye and express how much we care about each other was even more touching because the effects of everyone’s hard work were visible and tangible in the functioning of the aftercare programme. We remember the first day when Mama Poto said, “on the last day, we’ll all be crying”, and reflect fondly on our time together.

Despite everything that has happened over the past two months, we are so grateful for the opportunity to have worked with the Langrug women and to have grown in ways we never could have imagined. With such little time left working on this project, we were all happy for the moments we got to spend with the ladies today and will always remember them by.