It is our second year at Madwaleni and we have been particularly useless at blogging this year. So much has happened at Madwaleni in the last seven months and the new year has brought much change, particularly in terms of staffing. This blog post has been edited multiple times as things have changed so much especially in the last few months.
At the end of last year we said goodbye to Sarah and Scott and all the community service therapists (Tansy, Lauren, Megan and Nienke). Since January, we have also said goodbye to Phindi and Elpitha (medical doctors) who left in February and April.
At the start of the year we welcomed the Poole family (Stuart, a medical doctor, his wife, Leanne and their 1 year old son Caleb), Garrick Barber (community service doctor), 5 new community service therapists (Nelisa, Ashley, Nicky, Tania and Zoe), Ncebekazi (community service radiographer) and two dentists (Tiaan and Ciska-Mari). Then at the beginning of July we have had the very exciting addition of a married doctor couple; Michaela and John-D Lotz, who despite having applied in March and numerous follow ups in the preceeding 4 months, they still had to fight for their posts in the week that they arrived. Nothing like marching into the HR offices at Bisho, armed with your dog to get things done! They have now signed their contracts and been working for a month. They even got paid their salaries, sort of. Our clinical team now consists of 10 doctors, 3 physios, 3 OT’s, 1 speechie, 3 radiographers and 2 dentists!
The renovations to the staff accomodation continue to be a cycle of anticipation, disappointment, frustration and hope. Three new units were completed at the end of May. The finishing touches on these units had unnecessary delays, but the houses are looking great and those who have moved into them are really enjoying them. Last month they handed over the last two converted garages (flatlets). They have also started work on three more houses which were emptied with people moving, and seem to be making steady progress. We’ll be incredibly relieved when it’s completed!
It is hard to believe that this project started in March last year and we were promised it would be done by August 2013! Despite this, we feel it is truly amazing that in 18 months there have been eight new units added to the accommodation at Madwaleni. This project has required so much in terms of follow up and chasing that things get done, but we feel that once it is all done it is going to be a huge blessing to Madwaleni and the attraction of more staff.
Here is a summary of Madwaleni life in pictures over the last 8 months (some of these pictures are very outdated, but thought we would share them anyway):
We had so much fun sharing in a Madwaleni Christmas with those left behind at over the festive season. We even had Mark’s parents and El’s parents join us for Christmas lunch which was really special. Here are some pictures of our first Madwaleni Chritsmas.
After being fed up with the area around our housing looking like a construction site, we decided to have another “take back Madwaleni weekend” where we tried to clear between our houses with our soon-to-not-be-shiny-new lawnmover. It was an exhausting but satisfying weekend, the most successful part of the weekend was using the pile of stones in front of our house to build a road over the mud that taken captive many vehicles over the summer.
Summer brought with it some amazing times at our beach, with evening braai’s on the beach and even some camping. There is no place quite like Madwaleni in summer!
We had loads of fun in summer when Thandi set up a swimming pool. We had some awesome lunches at our house with a dip in the pool in the middle of the working day.
We have had some amazing weekends away. It feels like we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world!
We love having visitors, and have already had so many visitors this year! What a blessing it is for friends and family to travel to our part of the world.
We loved taking Jenny and Dave (Andrew’s sister and her husband) to the beautiful Hluleka.
Hluleka Nature Reserve with the lovely Mark, Jet and Ympie
Jet, Mark and Ymke, what a blessing they are to our team
We had a wonderful weekend away at Bulungula with friends from Zithulele hospital.
We had an awesome visit from the Timberlake’s (who hold the record for visiting us twice in 8 months!). We went for a walk in the village surrounding the hospital where Joseph exclaimed later “I made 100 friends!” Joseph and a bunch of local children played rugby and had fun playing for the duration of the walk. Amazing how play is a universal language and how simple children make it look to interact with people who don’t share a common language!
Nic and John’s visit in April was such a good catch up, we met them at Hole in the Wall.
Our family grew with the addition of Ozzie Oswald Oscar Miller at the beginning of April, a golden retriever puppy who grows in size and naughtiness by the day! What a champ!
Ozzie’s first trip to the beach, camping at Bulungula
We recently discovered a new gem of a weekend away; Woodcliffes Farm outside Maclear. It is a beautiful, cozy farm house in the middle of nowhere at the foot of the Drakensberg Mountains.
We took a trip to the beautiful “skinny dip pools”. The water was particularly icy!
Some pictures of general Madwaleni life:
Caleb’s 1st birthday!
Ozzie and Cody (The Poole’s newest addition!)
We sadly said goodbye to El (one of our doctors) in April. She went out with style!
Here are some pictures of the renovations and the houses when they were nearly complete.
We have been incredibly blessed to move into one of the newly renovated houses, a lovely two bedroomed place with a garden of rubble! We’ve enjoyed making it our own. It’s great to have an extra room for when our growing newest family member runs out of space in Katy’s uterus.
As mentioned above we are thrilled to welcome JD and Michaela to the clinical team in the last month, however staffing shortages do unfortunately continue. There is currently a nursing crisis at the hospital and our nurses are incredible short staffed, there has been some progress made and we hope to see the fruits of this soon.
We are in the process of starting up our NGO at the hospital (Layitha Foundation) and have found the process, which we started at the end of last year, to be a rather complex and lengthy one. We would really appreciate your prayerful support regarding this. Our hope is for the NGO to bring about a sense of hope to the community and sustainability to those interested in working at Madwaleni.
Stu has taken over the leading of our weekly Home Group / Church and has been such a blessing to our spiritual development at Madwaleni, which at times can be quite challenging having been stripped of all the ‘comforts’ of church in the city. We’re excited to see our community growing!
Our year has been filled with highs and lows, but on the whole, 2014 brought with it a huge sense of settling for Andrew and I. We love Madwaleni are are excited for the future here.
– Katy (and Andrew)