Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Quite a Spectacular Day

Today (Tuesday) Susan, Terri, and I spent the entire day in Soweto. We had an amazing day. We began our morning with the Soweto nurses and community care workers. We had 27 people all together in one room. Terri facilitated the auto bio poem activity with them. We've done this activity previously with the leadership team and the clinical staff in Joburg. We learned a lot about each other. Some of us really like chocolate (what's not to like...). Others described themselves as loving caring people (they are). Many stated they want to be remembered as making a difference in other people's lives (absolutely no doubt about that).

After that activity they presented us with a lovely tea. Tea time is very important here. The staff brought in tea, coffee, and many different sandwiches-along with a tablecloth.  It was quite lovely.  After tea we each left to make home visits with a different sister. As a surprise to the three of us we all met at the shopping mall in Soweto for a late lunch together at Nando's!  David, Deb, and Gayle (the 2011 trip members who were introduced to Nando's together) are you jealous? The food was delicious.

My day was quite spectacular. I did something I've never done before... I was spending the day with Maria. She has been employed by Hospice Wits and working in Soweto for 27 years. She is an amazing nurse. She told me we were going to an NGO (non governmental organization) meeting. I figured we were meeting with other not for profit organizations. Maria said that someone from Hospice Wits had attended previous meetings. Well, when we got there and went inside Maria showed me the agenda. I saw that we were attending a meeting of the ANC Women's Auxiliary! The ANC is the ruling party of Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa. Needless to say I wasn't quite sure what to expect!  I must say it was an amazing meeting. The attendees are very respectful of the chairperson and everyone follows proper protocol. I think we could learn a thing or two from them about how to run a meeting. Anyhow the meeting was about encouraging women to stand up against substance abuse as most cases of violence against women (of which there is much) involves substance abuse. They will be marching peacefully to the police station to deliver a petition and then ending with a prayer service. Hospice Wits will participate. The chairperson said she was humbled to have someone from America at their meeting and directed some very nice comments to me. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

We will post additional blogs about our patient visits. I wish everyone could witness the amazing work this staff does.


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