Today’s update is written by Bloomfield College student Andrea Montes.
I woke up knowing today was going to be a very emotional day! Inkululeko typically does not meet on Friday, but yesterday Zuko announced that we will be holding a workshop and that everyone was welcome to attend.
Zuko (one of the Inkululeko’s staff members and a student doing his honors year – 4th year – at Rhodes University) had asked us to help during his workshop regarding “the rape culture, love and teen dating violence.” I was really happy to collaborate because this is a huge topic and I have done similar programs at Bloomfield College with my organization.
My day started at 8 a.m. again since it was my second day at the hospital. I met with the hospital manager who directed me to the medical surgical ward. I met their wonderful staff that took me in right away and made me feel welcome. The nursing manager of the floor took me on a tour of the unit. There were many similarities such as their med room and how they keep schedule drugs (narcotics, pain killers and medications with potential for abuse) locked with a lock and a key, also having two nurses to take scheduled 5&6 drugs.
The nursing manager explained they just started doing so not too long ago and that before it was just one nurse. Throughout my stay there were only a few patients and one of them was being discharged. The medical surgical ward sort of does everything, from receiving pediatric cases, post-op patients, etc. The hospital used to have a pediatric and maternity unit however they closed it down. Therefore, if patients are due to deliver they either have to schedule it with their private doctor or they go through the public section of the hospital where nurses can deliver the babies. I went back to the trauma/ emergency unit after spending two hours in the medical surgical unit. Overall I had a great time and got to observe a lot more things. It is just amazing the work that nurses do and I am so humbled to be able to observe a learn from them.
I then headed back to the hotel where I changed my clothes and got ready for Inkululeko. Before heading to Inkululeko, we stopped at Joza Youth Hub. They also help keep kids away from the street, sort of like an after school place where they can do homework and meet with their friends. They provide the kids with a toy library, a music center, and a computer lab so that they do their homework. The kids were very nice but very shy as well. We were told that the program is not mandatory but I was surprise to see the number of students there. It was really good to know that these kids were doing something with their time and staying away from trouble. Majority of the kids had to do homework and use the computer lab when we got there and the rest waited outside for their turn.
We then waited for a bus to take us to Ntsika Secondary School to meet with the Inkululeko learners for the workshop. As mentioned before this was going to be an emotionally charged and difficult workshop and was not mandatory for the students to attend, however everyone showed up! The workshop was also open to anyone who wanted to come; some of the students from Rhodes University came to the workshop as well. I was happy that the learners were interested in the topic. We had a pretty good discussion and most of them were engaged and had questions, which was good.
Toward the end it started to hit me that today was the last day that we will be working with Inkululeko’s learners. I mean I knew we were going to be here for a short peiord of time but time flew by so fast! As Zuko started to wrap up with the workshop I decided to give them some words of encouragement and thanked them for allowing me to share with them, guide them, work on their homework and discuss health related topics with them.
This was a very fulfilling moment because they are the first group of teenagers I have done a workshop for. I was happy knowing that they at least had learn something from me. As I was addressing all of them tears started to roll down my cheeks and I immediately received a big hug from Zanele who also started to shed a tear. Once I opened my eyes I noticed that more of the learners were around so we all hugged and I told them if they ever needed me they could count on me.
Honestly this has been one of the best and most fulfilling weeks of my entire life. These kids are very smart and very unique in their own way. I just feel really lucky and blessed to had being part of their life for this past week. These kids will hold a very special place in my heart. I hope that one day I can come back and follow up with them, until then I wish nothing but success to them.