Act III Scene IV: Financial Contribution: One Step at a Time (December 7, 2015)

 Background:As usual, our team meets at CORC for the Monday meeting. Mdu and Scott are also able to make it. CORC has a reblocking meeting scheduled with a group that has flown in from Egypt so we are respectfully uprooted from the board room and relocated to the common open space. Among bustling CORC employees we sit in a circle of green plastic chairs for our discussion.

Cast of Characters:

K2 Community Leader: Mdu

CORC Representative: Thembi

ISN Representative: Nkokheli

WPI Team: Paul, Cam, Amy, Veronica, Justice

WPI Advisor: Scott


Our unofficial hour of prep is cut short this morning as Thembi arrives early.  She is still beginning her day, speaking with people and organizing her work, but she soon takes the time to start a discussion with us. After a few minutes Scott walks through the door. With his addition, the conversation moves towards a reflection on our feelings of how things are going. It is both productive and humbling to recount just how many difficulties our community members have experienced and overcome and, through working together, how much our project and ourselves have grown. Though all stakeholders wished to see the community hall built in our seven weeks, the lack of a structure is not an accurate representation of our progress and by no means signals failure.

The week-long streak of good news from K2 continues as Mdu informs us they raised another R80 over the weekend. Mdu also informs us that the community met and decided on reallocating funds for reblocking into funds for the hall. This R620 is the final push for contribution we need to implement phase one of the building, the shipping container. Our team adds that the invoice is ready and with that and the financial community contribution in hand, we submit the shipping container order to CORC.

There is a brief discussion, mostly in Xhosa, at this time as to which phase to tackle first. Our plan has been to begin construction with the shipping container, but a new idea surfaces to start with the zinc structure first. Nkokheli pushes for a change, but with time, cost, and planning on her side, Thembi quickly gains the favour of the room. In the end, the agreement is to maintain the path that we had chosen. This pleases Mdu because he is already nervous about the community’s opinion on the matter and does not wish to keep changing the information he is telling them. Mdu uses this opportunity to mention that the community is having trouble seeing signs of progress and is becoming sceptical of our work and what their contributions are being used for. He asks for support from the WPI team and CORC in the upcoming community meeting this Saturday. Our team replies that we would like to be there but would have to check with our advisors before committing. With our answer to Mdu’s question leaning towards no, we make sure we do what we can to help him from behind the scenes. After Mdu returns to his classes that morning we spend the rest of our time helping CORC finalize what needs to be done to order the shipping container. We hope to have it delivered to the community before we leave and we will do whatever we can to make that happen.


Today was productive on all fronts – social and professional, organizational and communal, physical and emotional. Our early discussion on the success of our last seven weeks was rejuvenating. The community was not only able to deliver more financial contribution, but also come to the joint decision that they want to use the R620 originally set aside for reblocking for this project. As our time here is winding down we cannot think of a better note to end on. The discussions we had were open and productive. Everyone spoke and everyone listened.