World AIDS Day Commemoration, KwaMhlangu. 12/06

News from Babette Grobler in KwaMhlanga about their World Aids Day Commemoration.

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I just thought of sharing the following with you. Me, Anna Mashilo and Isaac Maleke which all attended your training planned a World AIDS Day Commemoration on the 1 st of December ’06.

Mostly our own personnel and staff from the Mukhanyo Theological College in KwaMhlanga attended. We started with a candle light ceremony and then had two people living with HIV giving their testimonies. One of them came to our hospice after been taken to sangomas, the local ZCC Church where he had to drink all kinds of stuff and went through rituals before ending up with us (Nakekela) with a CD 4 count of 2. This guy recovered wonderfully and is living now openly with HIV after realizing that he cannot live without God in his life. We also used local people as well as people living with HIV in presenting that play that were in the guidelines of the module that we received from you and Isaac Maleke, seeing that he is a pastor, used that sermon that we received from you in the program we had on 1 st of December. A local nurse also presented a talk on VCT. We really had a very successful morning.

The other highlight that we had at Nakekela Care Centre was a Christmas Party. We admitted just more than 100 gravely ill people suffering from AIDS at the hospice as from Oct 05 to Oct 06. Of them about 30 recovered to such an extent that they went home and can have a normal live now especially after starting with ARV treatment. In the end the ex-patients were an encouragement to us instead of we to them. Most of them gave wonder full testimonies of how they thought they were on the brink of death and then how they recovered here at Nakekela - also how much they appreciated what was done for them. I think it especially meant a lot to our staff responsible for the caring and nursing of the HIV patients. It left all of us with tears in our eyes and especially experiencing again the greatness of God by realizing that we are just part of His greater plan and without Him we are nothing.

We are also experiencing miracles here on a daily basis. People who are admitted, not able to walk, talk, eat, absolutely so weak that we often think they will die within a day or two and then starting to eat slowly, we exercise them to start walking, and then they recover. It is wonderful to experience when they start responding and literally are alive again. We had a man of 54 that was admitted and over and above the fact that he was HIV, he was also very bad neglected as he did not have any family and no one wanted to care for him. His feet especially were in a very bad state and it took one of our care givers literally to bathed his feet in water once a day for a few days to get all the excess skin removed as well as to cut his toe nails etc. He was well enough to leave us two months later and about a month later a nurse from Holland started to work with us at Nakekela. He met her and the first thing he did when he heard that she was working with us was to take of his shoes and show her what his feet look like now as it made such a big impression on him having somebody doing that for him. I think we often do not realize in what conditions people are living out there and then the smallest act of kindness means so much to them.

Our critical patient care co-coordinator also find an old man in a shack which he brought here – he said the man was lying in his own dirt and urine. When he came here he was able to sit upright but, was not able to do any thing else for himself. He was for such a long time alone that he could not talk properly to us – it took him a long time to register when we asked him anything and if he answered back he would whisper. Now after two months he is able to walk, talk and responding again – somebody donated some slippers as well as new sleepwear for him and he seems as if he became alive again.

I think our biggest problem at this stage with the people that recover especially the very old people are that they have often no one to care for them at home and the fact that there is no proper food at home is also a problem in the case of the other recovering patients. It often happens that they recover here and then after a few months are readmitted in such a bad state that they then come here to die. You have to forgive me, but if I start talking about all the things that we experience here, I often do not know where to stop. Hopefully you will be able to visit us one day.

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