We haven’t written a blog post in months, I was going to do one mammoth update, but that would be too long to read, so here is the first of a few posts updating you on our lives at Madwaleni.
2015 has been the year of having babies and parties. The having babies and impressive growth of our community will be in a different post, for now here are some of the fun parties we have had this year.
Duncan’s birthday in March was the first time that we felt like a real (really huge) family; children running around, tennis balls flying and dogs interfering. Here are some photo’s:
In August, Andrew and Stu both turned 30. They had a combined 60th Party. There were fairy lights, fillet, speeches, and a bunch of dancing granny’s and grampa’s (most people dressed up like they were 90 rather than 60!)
Dyl organised a “Madwaleni’s Got Talent” evening for his birthday in September. It was awesome fun and impressive to see all the talent in our little community!
Unfortunately life at Madwaleni is not all fun and parties, and we have also had many significant changes over the year. However, as always, there is no place we would rather be. We have lost some doctors this year bringing our numbers down significantly, with the hospital being busier than ever. At the start of the year we said a sad goodbye to Mark and Jet (and their little Ympie), we miss them dearly. We were thrilled to welcome Michelle Allen, our new clinical manager and her family! What a difference it has made to have a clinical manager and the Allen’s join our Madwaleni family. We also welcomed our comm serv doctor, Lungelo, in March and said goodbye to our 2014 comm serv, Garrick in August. We are currently down to seven full time doctors. We started the year with 9 rehabs. Two comm servs stayed on from 2014 but by March rehab was down to 6 as the 2014 comm servs moved on and I left to have Ben. Fortunately Thandi has had an amazing team of hardworking and dedicated comm serves . In March we also welcomed Kuan, an awesome comm serv pharmacist, he has been a great addition to the clinical team, but pharmacy too is short staffed as all of the pharmacy assistants have resigned, leaving Siyamthanda and Kuan to run pharmacy alone from October.
If the hospital isn’t keeping our clinical team busy enough, there have also been service delivery protests on the road and the nurses have been protesting due to problems with their salaries, accommodation and study leave. On top of that all, the hospital has endured many power failures (the longest lasting 48 hours, although we know this isn’t exclusive to rural living!) The current lack of chemicals required to treat the water we pump up from the river makes bathing feel rather counter productive.
Nevertheless, these are all challenges we knew we would have to face when we first arrived at Madwaleni. We have to remind ourselves that there were many more challenges we were anticipating that we have not had deal with. We now have beautiful accommodation, a great vibrant community and really satisfying work. Plus Andrew gets to come home for lunch! What a place to start our family!
If you are thinking of doing some time in a rural hospital, perhaps this will convince you. We can’t always promise it will be easy, but we can promise a life changing, wonderful experience and a supportive community.