Thursday, September 1, 2016

South Africa Week 2: Volunteering with Izulu Orphan Projects

 I just had the most incredible "holiday" weekend in Umhlanga, a northern suburb of Durban, South Africa.  I spent the weekend at Rick and Anita's (the doctors who work with IOP) house.  They had organized a weekend away for a friend's birthday party, and their son's (14 and 17) were busy studying for exams, so I was on my own but I had no problem entertaining myself in this ritzy little resort town.  I ran lots (36km to be exact), lay on the beach, boogie boarded in massive waves, went to the cinema, went out for dinner, went shopping, and watched both the men's and women's WCS triathlon races live online from Madrid.  Woo go Paula (she won)!!

This weekend was a little escape from reality for me.  I saw and experienced so much working in the communities around Kate's farm last week that really shocked me.  Some of the living conditions and poverty I experienced were nothing I'd ever seen before. It leaves this empty feeling inside you knowing that there are people living like this...

At this particular hut (above) there was one "gogo" (zulu for grandmother) and 5 kids. None of the kids had shoes, or pants that weren't ripped to shreds, the dogs were so skinny you could see their skeleton, and there was no chicken coop to separate where the chicken's lived from where the human's lived.  So yes.. there was chicken shit everywhere - even inside the huts.  Imagine if this is all you had.

 This adorable girl's grandmother was very sick. We were walking from hut to hut doing HIV, blood glucose, and blood pressure testing when we came upon her.  She was in bed and not looking good. The family couldn't afford to get her to a clinic so we organized to pick her up the next day.  She ended up getting safely to and from hospital courtesy of an IOP worker.  If we hadn't stopped by she wouldn't have got any help and the family wouldn't have known to call anyone.

 This was quite interesting for me to witness.  The health workers and CWP (community works program) workers I was spending my day with on Thursday decided they wanted to eat some meat.  So they started building this little fire right in the field we were in and brought out this bag of frozen meat to cook.  It doesn't look like the most appetizing or hygienic meal, but curiosity got the better of me and I have to admit I did try some.

 This(above) was on Tuesday last week.  I had to finish one of these health worker's diabetes training (sign off that she had watched all the videos and passed a written test).  This picture was taken after the training was over and we were walking to another hut to set up health screening for the rest of the afternoon.  These girls are so enthusiastic about their jobs as health workers.  It's great to know there are people who care that live in these communities and are doing their best to help others.
 This is one of the health workers all set up do screening.  Rick and Anita have set all these girls up with collapsible tents and chairs so testing can be done in comfort and privacy. 

This is how we get around!  Riding the back of the 4x4 on these dirt roads is so much fun!  I always get offered the front seat, but riding in the back is so much more adventurous!! 

This is a really neat project put on the by the CWP workers.  They have planted community gardens in all of the various communities so people can have access to fresh grown veggies.  This is Kitiwe and I in the garden.  Kitiwe works for IOP and was a great help organizing my week last week.  I wouldn't have been able to do it alone because I don't speak Zulu (I know 3 words)!

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