Hellooo! Sorry for the lack of updates. Jonny and I managed to use up the hospices WiFi allowance within one week – we didn’t realise there was a limit 🙈🙈
Anywho…we have survived two weeks of volunteering ☑ to say we’re tired would be an understatement 😴 😴 we’re so not used to work!
So, what have we been up to?! (Apart from spending lots of time watching the really cute monkeys…)
On Monday we went out with two caregivers to check up on patients in the community. Our first patient was a man in his 30’s who was refusing to take his HIV meds – he was so frail and sickly looking. The girls told us that he said he is getting bad cramps and has totally lost his appetite. His brother was really frustrated with him for not complying with his medication so there was a bit of a family feud going on. We couldn’t believe the way this man was living – he had one room that he lived in which looked out onto a massive pile of rubbish.
The next visit that day was to a lovely man who made us so welcome in his home. This was such a different scenario to the previous house – he had a little vegetable patch and a picket fence around his property. Inside his house was covered in pictures of Mandela. He was so thankful to have us come visit. He told us that he had been so ill before Christmas and didn’t think he would see 2016. This has been how he’s lived his life the past few years – praying at the end of each year that he will see the next one. His goal now is to reach 2020 and this will make him die happy. This man gave us a good laugh – he asked Jonny was he related to Seamus from WWE 😂 he said he was going to tell his 13yo son that Seamus’ brother was in his house!!
Later this day we met with Sister Grace and she gave us a tour of the government clinic. I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The queues for the HIV testing service were right outside the building. The TB treatment room was packed and there was a poster on the wall saying the wait would be around 3 and a half hours. The maternity unit was also within this clinic – people were giving birth in a room right beside the TB waiting area.
This experience has made me appreciate our NHS so much more – people in the UK totally take their free healthcare for granted. The only way to receive free healthcare in SA is to queue for hours and hours in these government clinics or hospitals. Otherwise people have to pay around £600 per month for insurance for their family (which totally isn’t in line with a lot of people’s earnings here!)
The next day we went out in the community with Sister Grace. Our first patient was an old nursing colleague of Sister Grace – she has vulval cancer which has spread to her throat. She had only been discharged from hospital the previous day and was feeling very sick from her chemo. Unfortunately she had not been able to pick up her prescribed medication as she did not have her own car and relied on a friend to help her.
Then we went to the house of a young girl who has HIV and TB. She recently started complying with her meds and is now living a reasonably “normal” life – she looked good and seemed upbeat. We left her with a food donation and Sister Grace was going to pass her on to one of the caregivers as she no longer needed nursing input.
Our last patient of the day was a frustrating one. We went to the house of a patient Sister Grace had seen at the HIV clinic the previous day. She wasn’t complying with medication or clinic appointments. Her aunt, who she stays with as her own mother died of HIV, was crying as she is due to go for surgery soon but she is scared to leave her niece in charge of all the children who live with them. We had to go back to the clinic to find out when the girl was due back for her blood results and then take this information back to her aunt. It was so sad seeing the impact HIV was having on this family.
The next few days that week were spent out and about with Dhava, the hospice driver, picking up donations from people to take to the hospice shops. These donations of clothing, books, furniture etc bring in a lot of money for the hospice 💰💰
I had to take a day off on the Friday as I had developed a massive boil on the inside my nose 😮😷 (too much information, I know!) The left side of my face had swolen up and my nose was in agony. We went to the pharmacy and I got an antibiotic cream and slept the whooole day.
Thankfully on Saturday morning I woke up to find the antibiotic had done its job quickly. The boil had went down and the pain had subsided 🙌
We spent Saturday shopping for toys to take to the House of Safety for the little kiddies we had spent a day with the week before. My mum and aunt kindly donated some money towards it so we were able to get a great selection of stuff.
On Sunday we spent the day with Dhava and his wife. They took us to their church in the morning and spoilt us with a delicious Indian feast in the afternoon.
And then another week began…
On Monday we went out with Dhava again to do some collections. In the afternoon we went to the House of Safety to deliver the toys.
Their wee faces totally lit up when they saw our bag of goodies – it was like Christmas! Unfortunately half of the stuff was demolished within minutes as they just aren’t used to getting things like that. The Playdoh was all mixed together and thrown around the garden, the bubbles were spilt, I found cards from the pairs games all over the garden and the football net was in pieces. But it was totally worth it to see their wee smiles.
On Tuesday we got talked into visiting Selvie’s senior citizens club. We had fun entertaining around one hundred 60+ year olds! When I say we I really mean Jonny…he tried out some of his youth work games which didn’t really go to plan with the older South African Indian community 😂😂 We even got interviewed for the local paper…we are soon to be Umkomaas celebs!
We spent Wednesday at a preschool with 40 children(!!) It was really interesting for me to observe the differences between children here and the children I work with back home. I spent most of the morning with a wee boy who was struggling with his work – it was good practice for going back to work in April! Jonny discovered that working with young children definitely isn’t for him 👦👧🚫
Thursday was our last day before Jonny’s parents were meeting us. Jonny went out with Dhava to do some collections in the morning. Then we packed beans & samp to make food parcels for the patients in the community that the nurses/caregivers will deliver.
Then the big reunion with Jonny’s parents happened on Thursday evening. It was so nice to see them after almost 10months away from home.
3 Clarke’s & a Garly hit KwaZulu-Nal
After a quick tour of the hospice we headed off to our guesthouse for the next 5 days. It was unreal – jacuzzi bath, an amazing shower (the hospice has no shower so this excited me more than it should have…) and a beeeautiful sea view 🌅
We had our first supper with them in the Spur and then enjoyed a nice catch up on the balcony with a few Castle Lites!
The next day we went a walk along the beach in the morning. It was super windy 💨 so none of us thought to put suncream on…BIG MISTAKE! Come lunch time we were all roasted! That evening we went to Gateway Mall which is one of the biggest shopping centres in the southern hemisphere – you can just imagine how much I loved this!
On Saturday we took a trip into Durban to go to Umgeni Bird Park 🐦 This was somewhere Jonny’s parents had taken him as a child so it was nice for them to reminisce. It was a nice day with lots of weird & wonderful birds!
The highlight of the day was Jonny getting pooped on by a lorikeet 💩 His mum also got the fright of her life when a lorikeet landed on her shoulder when she least expected it!
That evening we were invited to Dhava and Selvie’s house for our favourite – Bunny Chow 🍞😋😋 it was devoured by all of us! We hung out with the Moodley’s and their lovely grandchildren before heading back for more catching up at the balcony bar 🍻
Sunday was very chilled – we lay around the pool enjoying the beautiful sunshine most of the day 🌞 until around 3pm when a massive thunderstorm began ⚡ the rain was crazy! We went out for a lovely dinner at Enzo’s Pizzeria followed by a cocktail or two at the Beach Bar in Scottburgh. It was lovely 🍹🍹
Our final day was spent visiting a couple of beaches. We took Jonny’s parents to a beautiful beach & tidal pool in Pennington, unfortunately they had forgotten to bring their swimming stuff so we got a few pics before moving on. Jonny and I will definitely be making the most of that beach over the next few weeks!
We had coffee and milkshakes in Amanzimtoti before heading for a spot of shopping in Galleria (we have discovered Jonny’s dad is a shopaholic 😂😂)
Our last supper was back at the Spur 🍔 and we had a final round of drinks on the balcony.
This morning we said our goodbyes 👋 😦 they are heading down to PE now while Jonny and I get back to volunteering! We really enjoyed our five days together and were sad to see them go. Not long until we’re reunited again though!