Act II Scene II: Trouble in K2 (November 16, 2015)




Every Monday we have a meeting at CORC with our advisors and CORC representatives to discuss progress and tasks that need to be done. At this meeting we wanted to discuss the design of the community hall and budget we had created. These plans, however, were not final because our team was unsure of many of the materials and quantities usually used when building this type of structure. We were looking for some guidance regarding the process for building and the list of permits and approvals we needed.

 Cast of Characters

K2 Community Leaders: Mdu

K2 Community members: Neziswa, Zusakhe

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


CORC office & K2


After a weekend of anticipation, the team arrives at CORC to discuss project progress and future plans. Our conversation goes well and we cover our agenda in the allotted time. There is much we still need to get done (journals, budgets, and final designs) but a good portion of the work continues to lie in the hands of the K2 community members.

For the coming weekend, we left Ficks and the community with a proposed task list for consideration over the weekend. This consisted of identifying resources, as well as assembling an interested, motivated, and consistent team of community members eager and able to help build the hall. Leaving the CORC meeting today, our advisors were very pleased with our performance.  With fingers crossed, we rode over to K2 and hoped we would feel the same pride for the community.

Arriving at the settlement the smooth, gliding van door is intercepted by a loud thud. We spot Mdu promptly and move toward enthusiastic hellos. His countenance paints a different picture. Before we can inform him of what happened in our meeting, he explains that the community did not make any progress over the weekend. This is unfortunate news, but what bothers our team more is the frustration shown on the community leader’s face. The exhausted man continues speaking of how some community members may be evicted shortly, due to pressure from the neighboring schools, and will not contribute the requested R20 per household to meet the 10% financial contribution required by CORC. Others are unsure of their eviction status but still do not wish to contribute. These challenges have sparked more discussion regarding use of the hall by community members who have not contributed.

To top this frustration off, Mdu is not even sure where to begin solving the problem. The team wants to offer help, but we know very well there is little we can do in this situation. We would like to maintain our positive momentum, but we see the reality in our friend’s eyes that nothing more will be accomplished today. We settle with a set of handshakes and pile back into the van.


Today was our first real, tangible example of how plans can change either at a moment’s notice or between different stakeholders. We hadn’t denied the fact that a roadblock like this would come, but we certainly did not welcome its arrival. Moving forward we hope to reduce the probability of more of these days through more open and concise transfer of information. With our deadline closing, it is becoming increasingly important that every day moves.