Igiveada.mn. Huh. You think I finally went off the deep end dont’cha? Well you are correct- The Thanksgiving edition of my blog is dedicated to people that give a damn. I thought in between all the turkey, dressing ( I live in the south–we do not call it stuffing) potatoes, pecan pie and the same old tired story about how you had a crush on your 3rd grade teacher- that you would want to be inspired and challenged.
A little secret about me, spelling is not my…ummm… gift area. But in this case I spelled it correctly–Igiveada.mn. Let me introduce you to a community in South Africa and the amazing couple that gives a damn.
Zithulele, South Africa
For a community like this with so many challenges just meeting their basic physical needs, illness is rife and the local hospital becomes an important hub for crisis-management and social development within the community. In fact, even for healthy members of the community, the hospital is important because it’s one of the rare employment opportunities in the area. People are clamoring to volunteer at the hospital because they’ve realized that, when employment opportunities open up at the hospital, the new recruits tend to be selected from the current group of volunteers.
There’s no ambulance service at Zithulele hospital, and people have to travel from up to 100km away. Pregnant women either have their babies at home unassisted, or start walking to the hospital a few weeks before their baby is due to be born. Zithulele hospital has no ICU, and no fancy machines like MRIs. Some days the x-ray machines don’t even work. About 80% of the 150 inpatients at Zithulele Hospital are HIV positive.
Supporting the work at Zithulele Hospital
So on 28 December Cath and Andy will be heading a team of volunteers and together, over two weeks (under the guidance of an experienced local builder!) they’ll be renovating an old hospital clinic building to create accommodation for four medical and community development professionals to come and live and work at Zithulele Hospital. The picture at the top of the post is what the building they’ll be renovating currently looks like.
They know, it’s a drop in the ocean but as Cath said “ like so many other big goals in life, if we wait until we have enough money, human resources, time, and the perfect idea to solve these problems on a bigger scale, we’ll never do anything.” So Andy, Cath, Jamie Smart and the rest of their team of volunteers are doing what they can do right now, in the knowledge that their small bit could have exponential benefits just by making it possible for people with more relevant knowledge and skills to go and live and work at Zithulele.
Living a meaningful life and making your contribution
There are so many ways you can get involved in making your positive contribution in the world. It doesn’t matter where and how you choose to do it, what matters is that you show up and make whatever contribution you can.
If you’d like to get involved with this project, they’d love that – I would love that!! The team will be covering all the costs of the renovation (as well as their own costs of getting there and being there while they build) Cath and Andy are donating from their personal income and savings and through fund-raising efforts. I’d love to see you guys match their £2000 (about $3300) contribution. It would take 20 people contributing £100 (about $166) each or 50 people contributing £40 (about $66) each, or 100 people contributing just £20 (about $33) each, for us to reach this target. Totally achievable.
To donate, login into your paypal account and then you need to select “send money” and enter Paypal account: firstname.lastname@example.org. Then enter the amount you wish to donate and click send. That should do the trick…https://www.paypal.com/
Join the team, and risk falling in love with South Africa
If you’d love to come over and experience some of South Africa for yourself, and get your hands dirty and your muscles stiff and sore, sweating it out building in the sun by joining our volunteer building team, there’s still space for 2 or 3 more volunteers before they’ re full – check out the project website . The trip won’t be only hard work – it’ll include fun and adventurous experiences like a New Year celebration barbecue, staying overnight with local community members in their huts, tubing down the river, a day at the beach, a hike in the local hills and a “cultural experience” event in the village.
Also, if you’re a health professional or have skills and experience in other areas of education or community development and you’re interested to offer your services for short or longer-term time-frames, the team at Zithulele would love to hear from you and Andy and Cath would be thrilled to put you in touch.
The doctors who live and work in this community have not waited until the conditions were perfect for them to provide health services to the community. They have gone in there, and are helping as much as they can today… And building and adapting as they go. Andy and Cath are doing the same. When I sit with my family and I am asked what am I thankful for I will say I am thankful for my daughters and people like Andy and Cath Duncan. They make me want to be a better person. They show up. They give a damn.
For more info please check out the website: http://igiveada.mn/