Only a week since I wrote my last blog but so much has happened and is happening that I wanted to share with you all. Tuesday was my first proper day at the clinic, the days are quite long: 8:30am until 5pm. Tuesday morning began with a prayer and worship meeting with most of the staff that works within the church, this lasted about an hour. It was lovely to meet the people I will be seeing on a daily basis and also good to pray with them for the week ahead. After the prayer meeting, the clinic workers gathered to discuss the day ahead; it was great to finally put faces to names. The plan for the first week was to have me and another new volunteer spend time sitting in on appointments. This was a good plan as it gave us an idea of how the clinic is run and we could see firsthand how effective it is. During my first morning I got to hold a two week old baby who was just incredibly gorgeous, her mom had had a caesarean section with her and had gone to another clinic to have the stitches removed but they couldn’t do it because they had no water. The lady had left it another week before coming to us. As you can imagine the area around the stitches wasn’t very pleasant and it was incredibly hard for me to be in the room whilst she had them removed. She allowed us to pray for her before she left. The same lady came back at the end of the week and it was really nice to be able to greet her as we have a connection going now, please pray that this relationship continues to grow.
On my second day, Wednesday, I met a lady who is very well known at the clinic, she is currently receiving counselling after going through something totally unimaginable in her home country. She came today with her gorgeous daughter who has scabies, all of her children have it and there a lot of them! This gave me a chance to use some French which was totally nerve racking but I am beginning to realise that I don’t have to be perfect and get every word right, the fact that I am even trying to communicate with them in their own language shows how much I love them! This is something I’m trying to communicate more and more to the patients we see. This is the ethos of the clinic, love. In between patients I was being shown by one of the nurses Glynn, how the admin side of things work. This is the clinics main need at the moment. Glynn is so happy to have me here as it means her time as a nurse can be best spent elsewhere. The desk they have is in the hallway which is where some of the patients wait for their appointments. This gives me an opportunity to chat with the patients when they first come in, offer them a drink and build relationships.
Thursday morning I visited the care hospice (Themba care) in Athlone. I met with Marilize who is the occupational therapist and also organises all the volunteers as well. I chatted with her to get an idea of what is required of me. I also spent the morning in the play room with the children and care givers. This was very difficult for me, the care givers didn’t seem to speak much English and definitely didn’t speak any French so I struggled with that. I also got a shock when I saw a little one suffering so much because he had HIV, he really isn’t very well at all and I wasn’t prepared at all for it. I had to take a moment to compose myself in the bathroom before I entered the room again. I managed to stay for an hour, keeping myself busy playing with the other children. One child in particular came straight up to me and was touching my legs, noticing the colour difference. He sat on my lap as soon as I sat down and snuggled in. Themba care is something I need to pray about. I am 100% sure I should be working at Jubilee clinic – there isn’t a doubt in my mind but with Themba care, something just doesn’t feel right. I would really appreciate your prayers for this particular matter, and just pray that God will confirm if it’s where I should volunteer and if not, pray that he will reveal to me where the right place is.
Friday came and went by so quickly. I feel like I have been volunteering at the clinic for a long time now. Everything really fell into place for me today. I saw a few patients we had seen earlier in the week, patients that I had connected with. It was great to see them again and already know their names and have something to talk about. During our devotional time in the morning, one of the doctors told us that one of her patients she saw on Wednesday was told about Jubilee Health Clinic in the Congo. Somebody had come to us, then gone back home and told this lady that if she ever needed help, she must go to Jubilee Health Clinic. This was such an encouragement to hear, that even another country within Africa knows about JHC.
I am in the process of trying out bible study groups; I went to two this week, one of which is Joelle’s. As much as I love Joelle, if we are living together and spending most of our time together, it’s probably a good idea not to go to the same bible study group. Please pray that I can find one that I’m comfortable in and that I enjoy.