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We had a day of note yesterday. Lunga left home just after 06:30 to start her day at home affairs trying to organise an ID for one of our residence. This lady has no food in her house and depends on alms from her neighbours and the meals we provide. She qualifies for a grant but because she does not have an ID the application cannot be submitted.
This is an everyday problem we have to deal with and more often than not we are faced with endless problems when our patients pass away and we do not have documents for them. Most of them are also illegal immigrants and leave children behind without traceable extended families to take care of them. These children stay with us until we can get them registered and have them placed in orphanages. The sad part is that siblings are often split up as the demand way exceeds the resources. It is our hope and vision to have our own cluster foster care farm by the end of next year so we will be able to take care of these children ourselves instead of them becoming more statistics.
My day started just after 05:00 dropping the family of at their jobs so we could have the car. Just before 08h00 Abie and I met Pastor Elias at the Crèche for our first meeting. We handed over the donations given by Matt and Tammy and discussed the options of registering the Crèche under OJSA. The emotion of the moment was one too much for Abie and the man of GOD could not stop the tears.
There was a major improvement in the housekeeping, however, we still have to do something about the toilets (a hole in the ground) and the kitchen . They have managed to buy this little 2m x 2m hut hoping to turn it into a kitchen. This will be one of our fund-raising projects in the new year. The toilet has been cleaned up nicely but still not ideal. Because we were so early most of the children had not arrived yet but still there were 25 in this room which is not much bigger than 3m x3m.
After our meeting with Pastor Elias we rushed off to a meeting with the Community Care workers. From there we went to see our patient at the Johannesburg Hospital on the other side of town. I was called out to her house on Sunday afternoon where I found her unconscious. She had no pulse and I could not wake her up. I called Mark, our paramedic from EMS, who has become our right hand in emergency situations, and we managed to stabilise her. We then called an ambulance who took her to the hospital in Boksburg where she stayed until Tuesday, without any treatment administered whatsoever, as their CT scanner was out of order and they were not certain what the diagnosis was. They did suspect that she had a stroke and explained to us that we had saved her life. Miraculously the doctor who admitted her managed to convince the Johannesburg Hospital to do a scan and so she was transferred there. To cut a long story short she was diagnosed as having a brain aneurysm which ruptured and is currently in high care.
In the meantime Lunga had brought the ladies to my place where they sorted the donations received from the generous audience of Radio Pulpit. Whilst the ladies finished up Lunga and I went to our local SAPS to ask for help with transport. Unfortunately they did not have a driver available so we rushed back picked the ladies up so they could go home and feed their families. The sun was beginning to go down.
Taking a well deserved break we discussed the distribution of the donations and how we would go about it.
It was much later that Lunga phoned me to say she had organised transport and they would come and fetch and drop off the beds at the two families we identified and the clothing parcels would be delivered at a later stage. Thobeka helped load the truck with Simpiwhe, 18 months old; sitting very securely on mom’s back giving us the occasional giggle as he watched us loading. He and two of Thobeka’s own children arrived from the Eastern Cape to be with their mom for Christmas. She did not want to go home because the need in the camp is great and with the festive season upon us, it is bound to get worse.
There was not enough space for the ladies to sit in the truck so hubby and I took them in our car and off we went. When we got to the camp the fires in the recycling area were burning and we gagged on the smell and the smoke. I could not wait to get out of there. What amazed me the most is the attitude and commitment of these ladies! Their ability to laugh and joke and still have enough left to care for their neighbour. The 2nd most important commandment of GOD in action!
With tears stinging my eyes we said a quick goodbye and left. It was way after 21h00.
My GOD how awesome to be associated with them! They are so much more than just colleagues; they are my sister’s! Bless them my FATHER in JESUS Name!
When we got home, the child from one of our youth groups whom I will call “TJ”, was waiting for me. He was the young man who was diagnosed HIV+ a few weeks ago. He needed to chat and he came to tell me he was going “home” (describing their family homes mostly in the Eastern Cape) for the holidays. As usual he came to sit very close to me. Hugging and cuddling him like I normally do with the little ones, his not to assertive response was; “you can’t be doing that mother I am a big boy.” Yet I could see the appreciation and love in his eyes. I could not help but notice how much weight he had lost in the past few weeks. How close and how precious this child has become to our family. Hubby spent quite some time with him chatting and making jokes, whilst trying to revive TJ’s broken cell phone. Eventually they gave up and after sharing a meal with us he took TJ home. Home being a flee and rat invested little room inside what we call “Little Nigeria.” It is the local “drug Mecca,” run by the drug merchants and prostitutes. The prostitutes doing what they do to keep their families alive and the drug merchants exploiting the situation, allowed TJ into their closed and “protected” world as he also is one of the statistics of these circumstances.
While waiting for hubby to come home I sat for quite some time listening to my granddaughter and my great-grandson playing. The emotion of the day; the privilege of watching my grandchildren play in so much light (having electricity); being close to my family and wondering how TJ’s mother is going to feel once he tells her (no, he still has not told her); was mixed with excruciating back ache so a hot bath was next on the agenda. As I sank into the bath I allowed the details of the day to run through my mind and realised that no amount of words can describe what I saw and experienced this day! Thankfulness, indescribable, welled up and spilled over as the tears ran down my face! Never in my life had a bath meant so much to me. I was able to come home and have a bath, washing away the sweat and exhaustion of the day. My colleagues went home to a dark, dust filled, rat infested shack with barely enough water to drink let alone have a wash, breathing the fumes of the burning plastic, knowing that tomorrow it will put food on someone’s table.
Hubby warmed the bean bag for my back and as I lay down on my bed and the pain began to subside my last thoughts were “if only we could do more. This is nowhere near enough! Please help us LORD!”