On Saturday, seven of the WhizzKids United Health Academy staff, along with three of the office staff from Durban organised and successfully ran an HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) Campaign in Ingqwangele High School in Snating, a semi rural community South East of Edendale Hospital.
The idea of the campaign was to reach adolescents who were further away from the Health Academy than those who are able to attend for HCT on a regular basis.
We arrived at 9am to begin putting up our 4 gazebos (kindly leant to us by the Department of Health) and already there was a queue of young men waiting to be tested and to be given appointments for Male Medical Circumsicion at Edendale Hospital. As a result of an hour of house-to-house leafleting, the school became a hive of activity, there was a large group of older clients who were there to have their vital signs tested along with being checked for diabetes, whilst in a separate classroom throughout the day various counsellors were conducting HIV and STI education classes for the adolescents who attended which included condom demonstrations and distribution.
In each gazebo counsellors rotated and treated each patient confidentially whilst conducting the HCT, one lesson we have learnt from this experience however, is that we need more counsellors as those who were there worked extremely hard with very few breaks in order to ensure that every patient was counselled and tested fully. In the end 69 people took HCT which is an incredible number considering we were expecting around 20! 3 of those 69 tested positive. A sexual risk assessment was done on 23 youths whilst an OVC Assessment was done on 16 youths, 4 of those being identified as OVCs and therefore being given a Health Academy appointment card in order that they would come into the Health Academy to meet with the OVC Coordinator
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that took part. The Health Academy staff who were involved volunteered to work on their Saturday and worked incredibly hard in order to make it a success, some even counselled 10-15 young people within the day. Whilst it was tiring, it was completely worthwhile and all those involved should be very proud of the work they did.
Two days, 275 children, pleasant anticipation, hotdogs, smiling faces of winners and long faces of loosers - yes, this is about tournaments in Rustenburg!
This week I went to Rustenburg in the North West Province for the first time. Together with my colleague Paul we travelled there to support our Life Skills trainers Elsie, Moeketsi, Buang and Sello to support them in running tournaments with the children from Boikagong Primary School. Except for Elsie they were the first tournaments for the other three trainers as they have been working for WhizzKids United only since the beginning of this year.
For me it was a very exciting trip because of various reasons. Firstly, it was my first time in Rustenburg so that I saw a completely different part of South Africa where I have never been before. Secondly, it was great to meet the trainers there. As a Programme Co-ordinator I am regularly in contact with our trainers from all the areas where we work. But meeting them in real life and not only knowing them through the telephone is something completely different. And last but not least, it was amazing to spend two days with the children from the school. All of them - boys and girls - were completely excited to participate in our event. Also the teachers and the principal enjoyed the days and offered us helpful and much appreciated support. Particularly, the second day was very successful as team South Africa turned out to be the best team of the tournament. Consequently, there were singing, dancing and clapping children all over the football field.
Experiences like that make the work for WhizzKids United unforgettable!
It seems like it was yesterday when I packed my stuff, said goodbye to my friends and family in Germany and started into my adventure in South Africa. Unbelievable but true, my six exciting months in this remarkable country are almost over and as soon as you get used to the South African life, you have to say goodbye to country, colleagues and friends.
I would lie if I wouldn’t admit that my experiences with WhizzKids United as well as my South African life affected me. Besides my language improvement South Africa taught me that you don’t need to do a lot to make a change in people’s lives. At this point it is always difficult to say what influenced me in particular and in which ways it affected me as a person. As I also realized during my stay in this developing country – progress and change needs time. Due to this fact I will primarily notice at home – back in my usual habitat - how the South African culture, my work with WhizzKids United and also the life away from the WhizzKids office influenced me.
I just can say that I enjoyed every single moment of this wonderful journey. There have been so many highlights of my stay mention all of them would go beyond the scope. My Road Trip from Durban to Cape Town was certainly one of them. All the good times and the friends I made make it really hard to leave, but I will leave South Africa with a suitcase brimmed with unforgettable experiences and moments and the promise that I will come back one day!
Thank you all for making my trip becoming a once in a lifetime experience! It was a pleasure.