Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saying Goodbye PART 1: an update on Nov-Dec 2010

Wow, it's been just about 3 months since my last blog post... The problem is, it takes AGES to upload all the photos, so blogging ends up taking like 5 hours. and let's be honest, who has 5 hours to spare!? But, I haven't blogged in 3 months. The guilt is eating me up, so I decided to fill you all in on my life before Kayleigh or Lisa start sending me hate mail again :)

IT'S 2011!!! And it's already half way through January, wow. A lot has happened since last time I wrote, too much to actually fill you all in on, so I thought I'd just put on a few photos with captions, and that will pretty much sum up the end of 2010:


So, a group of us from the hospital decided to go away for the weekend to a backpackers about 90min down the coast, called Bulungula. It is a great place! Beautifully situated right on the beach, and very environmentally friendly. The toilets are all compost toilets (no flushing, just put sand in the loo after you are finished), the showers are run on gas (you light your own shower and get 7 minutes of warm water), and all kitchen waste gets put in various bins for compost or recycling. We ended off the weekend with a 5 hour hike back to the hospital :)

SPOONS: In the evening we all played a card game called "Spoons"... This is the common room, sitting area. A very chilled, friendly atmosphere with couches, books to read, and a help-yourself-but-put-it-on-the-tab bar and snacks counter.

Me, Gillian, Katy, Uncle Tony and student Karl decided to go canoeing.

After canoeing we had to hike up to the "town" for lunch... The locals have business initiatives in connection with the backpackers, and in this instance, a lady made pancakes in her hut and we then sat outside on mats eating after the long canoe trip!

BULUNGULA BACKPACKERS... student Karl and Project Trust volunteer Katy are racing outside to pick up a spoon and be crowned "King" of the card game.


The singles and students from church went up the coast for a weekend away at another backpackers called Mdumbi. This backpackers was also right on the beach, and we had a great time playing volleyball and soccer, swimming, eating together, having a church service and relaxing! Angela, Gillian, Katy and Asanda came with, and we had a lot of fun exploring and trying to make Zithulele famous :)

The beach :)

Gillian, Angela, Me and Katy outside our chalet

Katy, Angela, Me and Thabs on our way to the beach

Cooking in the kitchen...

Fun and games on the beach...


I took and few wheelchair guys to play a basketball game against Madwaleni Hospital. It was a very wet trip, and we got stuck in the mud more than once, but it was super fun and the guys enjoyed it loads... Mute even got his first imprompto driving lesson so he could reverse the car out of the mud (with one foot and one crutch) while me and a few locals helped push!

Phew, just after we got out of the second mud pool! Note my incredible wheelchair stacking abilities in the back :)

Some of the basketball guys.


Towards the end of December Shoni, Linds and the AIM team (Baron, Trev, Ariel, Moriah, Kalen, Schwenn, Susan) came to Hole in the Wall for a few days holiday. It was so great to show them my playground and I'm glad to say that a couple of them left with a new-found love for my little South African Eden and it's residents :)

Of course, me and Linds took them on our favourite nearby hiking route to coffee bay...

The team, just outside Coffee Bay

Pizza at Pappazellas in Coffee Bay

The long walk back...


Me and the AIMer crew went to the Lambert's for Christmas. Jean was kind enough to invite us despite our big crazy presence and it was a really great weekend. This year was my first Christmas away from home, and I was quite sad to be spending it away from my family, but The Lambert's Christmas made me forget all about that and I was so grateful to be included in their celebrations. It was a fun evening with amazing food, about 10 different desserts, great conversation and an incredible Christmas vibe :) JEAN LAMBERT DID IT AGAIN!!!
The next weekend me and Linds went to the Lambert's holiday house for new years. Getting there was interesting because it had been raining a lot... we drove through about 5 rivers and slipped and slid all over the place - high 5 for new adventures! It was an exciting trip, and that pretty much set the tone for the weekend... good food, good company! We celebrated the new year by playing poker, 30 seconds and darts, and just really enjoyed meeting new faces (there were loads of people there), exploring new beaches, and eating a lot of gooooood home-made pot bread!


The couch potatoes, struggling to make it to midnight!

The serious poker players... I chose to leave the game - I couldn't handle the heat!

Random people marching and singing down the road!

Hmmm, too deep to cross? I think not! Although, coming back, the nose of my car did take a dive, literally.

The last few months of work went buy so quickly. The department was busy, and when I had a few minutes to spare I was on my computer writing reports for my projects so that they could be continued in 2011. As always, God worked through the chaos! I was able to really invest in some patients, particularly a man in the wards who I spent a lot of time with, speaking about his family, himself, praying etc... It always amazes me how God is able to work and make Himself known.

Oh, and, we ate fried Chicken feet!

Well, that's all I have time to blog about now, all in all, it was, as usual, an incredible last few months... God is so good. I'll blog a "Part 2" soon, about my trip back to PE and life back here (for those of you who do not know, I am going to be working in PE for the next 6 months). I am starting my new job tomorrow, please pray that that goes well :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

All we can do is keep breathing...and seeing patients, A LOT of patients :/!

Wow, work has been CRAZY! Tomorrow marks my last 2 months of community service, which is quite an unbelievable thought... time is such an odd thing, at times it seems to go so slowly (like when you are waiting in the "Customer Service" line at Game), at other times is goes so quickly you barely have time to take it all in (like the perfect ultimate frisbee game on a warm, still day) - if you ask me, I don't think time is constant, it's relative to the situation :) Hehe, anyway, ok, so here goes a quick summary of the last few weeks:

HIGHLIGHT!!! My family came to Hole in the Wall for a week! And when I say "My Family", I mean "MY FAMILY"! My dad, mom, brothers, Linds, and my 2 grans... And can I just say that it was possibly the best family holiday I can remember! Granted, I was working, but I enjoyed the evenings with them so much. I am blown away by my family and feel so blessed (see, using a "charasmatic" word like that just proves it)... I love my family a lot. It was so nice to sit outside and sing along to Dean playing guitar, with Byron and my dad braaing, my grans sitting chatting and drinking wine,and the humorous imprompto 30 Second games which seemed to go on in between everything! I think I hope I will remember that holiday for a while to come - thanks family for visiting me; for the bike rides,good chats, loud laughs, great dinners and much appreciated quality time.

Liz, Sion and Laura came for the last night... So it was my grans hanging out with the "young-ins"

Me, Liz, and Sion went to East London for a weekend. Of course, we went straight to the movies! Linds met us there and the first evening was so cold and rainy... we stayed in a tiny little backpackers chalet, hehe, is was a fun experience! The next day however, me and Linds decided to find something a bit sturdier, so we stayed in a very cosy bed and breakfast, and had some great chats, and as usual, lots of fun exploring :)

Actually, I've had 2 weekends in East London since I last blogged... Last weekend I drove to East London and Linds met me there again for some good Bud-Time. It was a quality weekend! We stayed in Gonubie, and although it rained the entire weekend we still got some good exploring in! We walked around the town, getting lost a bit, walking through peoples yards to find the road, and after about 3 hours popping out a block away from our accomodation, haha fun times! We also went driving around the farm land, and it was beautiful... Gonubie really is an incredible little town. I could very easily settle down along the outskirts I think - anyone interested in being a housemate? Of course, Hippotherapy would be a part of it though so you had better be prepared to earn your keep :) So, it was fun... We also saw a movie, got to stay with Britni for an evening (which is always great), etc. It was a really good, relaxing weekend.

Beautiful Gonubie farm roads :)

We found the Gonubie BOARDWALK! Not quite like PE's, but hy...

Making supper, stirfry, and the next night home-made pizza... goooooood food!

So in between all of that, work has been INSANE! For both the doctors and the Therapists. Marlie and Megan had a car accident, they weren't hurt too badly but both took some leave for a bit after that (it's hard to work as therapists with a broken finger and whiplash). Laura has also been away, so for a week and a bit me and Karen were the only Physios, and WOW, it was hard work! It also happened to be a Clinic week and we had an annual outreach day in there on top of that... let's just say we definately earned our pay in October, and probably for the rest of the year! But, as you know, we also party hard, so amongst all the hard work, we have had a good time braaing and all that :)

Me and Jess stayed in the Pirottes house while they were away, and, ummm... made playdough people. Meet our sad little grandpa.

Hmmm, that's about it. Oh, in other exciting news, our road is looking great! We have signs to the hospital and other numerous near-by holiday destinations (very official looking), with lines on the road and everything! The Coffee Bay road is still under construction, but some of it is now pothole-free, for which we are greatful. Also, me and Asanda are staying in the Le Rouxs house for a week and a bit because they are away, so it's really nice to have my own bathroom and kitchen, and sitting area! Moving is always a mission, but definately worth it :)

So, that's about it. Actually, i'm sure it's not, but that's unfortunately all my limited memory can recall.

A typical Sunday afternoon at the Lamberts :)

The Coffee Bay road... note how many cars you can fit along-side eachother on one lane of pot-holed road - approximately 1 million.

Memo to me, do NOT leave my car outside the hospital property overnight.

To my Christian friends:
As this year comes to an end, I need to make some very serious decisions about next year. The plan is still to go to the USA in June, which means that I need a job for the first half of the year (which is a tough ask of potential employees). Zithulele is currently trying to open up more Physio posts - there are no free ones for next year, and I am in the process of being interviewed for a job in PE... There are a few other options, but I am not sure where God wants me to be. Please pray that He continues to open and close doors as he sees fit, and that I open my eyes to see these doors and take the opportunities He gives me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


God has been incredible, I feel like this year is continuing to fly by and I can barely keep up, but the last few months since I have blogged have been great :)A lot has happened, as usual, and I have barely had time to sit down and take it all in, let alone Blog! There have been many highlights, and of course some lowlights as well, and through it all God has continued to grow me as a therapist and a Christian. I think there are a few lessons I have learnt over the last bit: 1) It's worth really getting to know your collegues - especially if you are living within 100m of eachother 2) Never turn down an opportunity to get out of the Nurses Res (my 1 room palace) 3) When the opportunity arises to do something out of the ordinary at work, do it!

So, of course we have had our usual braais and cell group evenings, DVD nights and random dinner dates. We actually had a very entertaining braai at the Le Rouxs, which ended up being a house party with all of us eventually "Walking like a Egyptian" around the kitchen table before we all went off to bed and exchanged embarrassed looks the next morning at work! We have also had some great rugby and braai evenings - complete with locally bought lobster and chilled guitar vibes by moonlight (Bernard and Marlie make a great 2 person band).

The kitchen party crew - Liz, Jess, Kayleigh, Karl

We have the kewlest dance moves this part of the Transkei :)

Christening our newly bought "communal" DVD player - Ian (pharmacist), Jess (OT), Liz (Doctor), Gillian (Scottish Volunteer), Katie (Irish volunteer), Kate (project OT), Lisa (OT), Angela (Mthatha Doctor), Laura (volunteer PT)

I also took some leave at the beginning of August which was great as usual :) Linds met me and we drove down to East London to stay with Britni - a friend of ours who is doing her Internship there... she took us to a beautiful little spot called Lavender Blue for breakfast. It was so nice - it had a farmers market type of atmosphere! We then drove to PE, and I spent a week or so at home. It was my Birthday so it was good to spend it with my family. Me and Linds made a "Pink Hut" Birthday Cake - it was so kewl! Clearly I don't ever get enough of seeing those little houses spotting the hills surrounding me...

Us at Lavender Blue- we were excited about the cake!

Britni, Linds and Me

The most amazing birthday cake in the history of the WORLD!

It was Karen's Birthday at the end of August, so Rog organised for us to go to Hole in the Wall for a weekend, so off we went - about 12 of us; either walking, driving or cycling, to suprise an unsuspecting Karen! It was really an amazing weekend... Me and Laura (a physio who is volunteering for 3 months) rode there - it is a perfect ride, hilly but rideable (which is a novelty here). A whoe bunch walked along the coast, and a few drove so we would have cars to get back in! That evening Jack (Kate's canine companion and the resident Plaza guard dog) tried to eat a sheep, successfully breaking it's neck and thereby providing us with meet for a potjie the next day :) After getting there, we braaied and spent the evening laughing and enjoying eachothers company. We woke up early the next morning for a beach frisbee game, and then we spent the rest of the day lounging around in the sun, exploring, or doing pilates! We watched an exciting game of rugby, then ate the sheep - and it was goooooooood, thanks Jack! Apologies to the poor owner of the sheep - he did get reimbursed for the damage and trauma caused though. The next morning me and some friends woke up and sat on the hill to watch a beautiful sunrise, complete with dolphins and whales playing in the waves. After a lazy afternoon me, Laura, Karen and Lisa rode back to the Hospital, with the rest of the guys driving past hooting or stopping to chat before leaving us in their exhaust dust! All in all a great weekend... Good conversation, good memories, good food - The best weekend yet this year!

Karen, Emma and Gracie taking a ride on Anna

Jess, Sion, Liz and Kate chilling out, catching a tan

Sion, Me, Liz, Jess and Kate watching the sunrise... Laura is behind the camera :)

Karen with her Birthday Cupcakes - she is unscrabbling the conundrum "DRINK THY PAPAYA HERB" - HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAREN

Fun on the beach - the waves were HUGE, we nearly died!

Karl marking out our Ultimate Frisbee court :)

A hard ride back...

Since then me and Laura have gone on some great runs and rides :) On the note of exercise, I am proud to announce that our Wednesday running club has expanded! It is now 5 people strong, sometimes 6, and it's so nice to start off the middle of the week with a bang! On another exercise note, earlier this month I sort of impulsively decided to run White Clay - a 21km race over the hills around this area... it's VERY hilly, but it was so much fun! I was so lucky to have Lisa, Megan, Marlie, Shannon and Jess driving along encouraging me at every possible opportunity! They made a huge sign saying "Go JT" and stuck it on the back of their car, so by the end of the race I was pretty famous! Haha :)

I have been learning so much work-wise this past month. Despite the strike looming again and again Zithulele has continued to function (although somewhat stretched). This week I went to Mqhele Clinic. It's about 45-60 min away and is serviced by the therapy department in a neighbouring hospital, Madwaleni. They only have one physio though, so she is incredibly stretched, so I went to her clinic instead to help off-load her a bit, and it was great - it was refreshing to work with different therapists (even though I really enjoy my collegues)and see different patients! I have also gone on some fun home visits and outings, including one today. I drove a huge 4x4 bakkie over what can only be described as multiple goat paths :) It was fun, yip.

So, in summary, as I am sitting at the table in someone elses house, with Jess skyping in the room next door (we are house-sitting for Bernard and Sarah), and people constantly popping in and out to say HI or borrow margarine, I have realised again that despite the challenges and sometimes loneliness, I am continuing to learn a lot, laugh a lot, and grow a lot... I feel so lucky to be here at this time... GOD IS SOOOOOO GOOD!

To my Christian buddies: God has blessed me. He has provided me with amazing friendships and opportunities to speak with and learn from people. Cell group is so big now that it has split into 2, and it's been great! Laura and I have been forming a close friendship, we are trying to meet once a week during lunch time to have "Bible time" together. Asanda has also gotten a group of young singles who work at ARV Clinic together (4 or so) who are interested in doing bible studies, so we have started a bible talk on Tuesdays during lunch times... God continues to show me that He cares about Zithuele a whole lot, please keep this incredible hospital in your prayers!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

June and all the adventures that went along with it!

This entry is dedicated to my OT friend Lisa - your sarcasm towards my previous "blog entry" has been my inspiration to write this PROPER one!

So, i'm sitting on my bed with an empty coffee cup next to me, listening to the Parlotones... I'm supposed to be at work today, but my Sinuses have been quite blocked up lately and after 5 consecutive days of headaches under my belt, I decided it was time to take some time off to recover. Although, I had organised a wheelchair basketball practise for today, so I ran that for about an hour or so earlier, and after many collisions and falls, bloodspills and near foot amputations, I am back in my room, thinking in hindsight that perhaps I need to invest in a Medical Aid Kit for my players!

It has been quite some time since I last blogged, although this is becoming my usual trend. It's funny, when I first got here nearly 7 months ago I thought I would have ample time to blog... In fact, I thought I would have too much time on my hands! I now see that I was wrong, very wrong. It's amazing how busy you can be out in the bush! There are so many movie nights, suppers, frisbee games and bible meetings to attend, I feel like I need an 8th day of the week to recover. No, actually, it is perfect :) As I reflect back on this year, I actually can't think of a better community service placement for me... Admittedly, I have days when I crave the comforts of a city - going to watch a movie at the cinema, walking to Spar to buy a desperately-needed chocolate, driving to the gym for a easy work-out, going for a relaxing stroll down the road without being looked at strangely or attacked by rabit canines! But all in all, sitting on the steps this morning I was reminded again that it is SO worth it... To look over the beautiful hills, to see the people working their land, to hear the birds singing, the sheep "bleh"ing (Ummm, if that's what sheep do), to hear the constant hum of the construction vehicles uprooting the old road and replacing it with a new tar road and the promise of something better... To see the blue-roofed schools, the newly thatched huts and to watch as life continues here, I have realised time and time again what a priveledge it is to work in the Transkei, to be allowed into these peoples lives and onto this land.

Anyway, enough of that! It has been a busy last 2 months, there have been some soaring highs and terrible lows... But I'll just touch on a few highs for today :)

A friend from the States, Brooke, came across to SA for the World Cup. She has come to SA a few times before, including about 6 months in Cape Town to study. She and Linds know eachother from Cape Town, so they came to visit and we had a great time hiking to Coffee Bay! It seems like that's my favourite pass-time when friends visit :) It was great to be out on the hills again! We stayed at a backpackers in Coffee Bay, Coffee Shack, and then headed off to Durban the next morning.

We braved the water to get across the path at high tide :)

Me, Linds and Brooke hiking through the little forest just after Hole in the Wall

Me, Linds and Brooke somewhere between Zithulele and Coffee Bay!

On the way to Durban we saw snow!!! It was amazing, so cold outside. At one stage the temperature gauge read 0.5 degrees! At that point, I rolled down my window and drove with my arm stuck out, I love the icy bite of really cold weather, it makes everything seem so fresh and alive!


Our putt-putt team: Panda, Carrot Top, Pun Intended and Myself; Bushwacked.

Me and Linds have a habit of not planning trips very well. We headed off to Durban not knowing where we were going to stay, or how long we were going to stay for, and not having World Cup ticket but convinced that we were going to attend a game! So, to cut a long story short... God is good. We stayed with a great single from our Durban Church, and then with a family Brooke is friends with and whom we had just met. AND we ended up watching a game live - Spain versus Switzerland!

The Durban Stadium

It was a real adventure... spending a day waiting in the ticket line, paying an arm and a leg, each, making new friends, wandering around the beachfront amongst the stampede of tourists. By the time we got to the game I was so tired and, possibly suffering from heatstroke, ended up not paying all that much attention during the game, but it was a great experience! That, coupled with driving around searching for laundromats, walking around Shaka Marina not sure if or where we were supposed to pay, being homeless for the last night (until some Saints took us in), playing extreme indoor golf, and strolling on the beach... it was a great trip :)

Me and Linds in our BOX SEATS at the game, Spain vs Switzerland

Durban World Cup fever baby!

I got to drive in a kewl sand car! There were some amazing sand sculptures on the beach - including stadiums, the big 5 and to Lindsays excitement, a horse!

Again, God is so good. I wasn't eaten... but i could have been! Here's how it went down: I was in bed, lights off, drifting to sleep when I turned over and noticed a big dark shadow on my ceiling. I thought to myself "Gee, I don't remember seeing that big moth on my roof". I got up, turned on my life, and froze in terror. Now, those of you who know me, know that I'm not a fan of spiders, in fact, it's safe to say that I have a bit of a phobia. Luckily, I had Jess. I went and knocked on her door, yes, at 10pm (which is well past Zithulele-midnight), and she came to help me remove the 8-legged murderer. When she saw it, she was quite stressed out too. So there we were, the 2 comm serve Jesses, staring at this hairy tresspasser in horror, wondering how we could make it dissappear. Here's a hint... hitting the roof next to it, throwing a tennis ball at it, shouting at it, turning of the light and trying lead it out with a line of torch-light, and blowing a fan directly onto it DO NOT WORK! But, in a moment of ingenius and once our laughing had subsided enough, we built a spider catcher using a broom stick, plastic container and knife. Jess trapped the spider, and dragged in along the ceiling towards the door, she was a real trooper. Unfortunately we hadn't figured out how we were actually going to get it out the door yet. So we took turns shakily holding the trap to the ceiling with Maximus (an appropriate name I feel like)crawling around inside the container frantically. After what felt like an eternity and me telling Jess that my arms were getting really sore, Jess bravely lowered the trap and rushed outside into the corridor, both of us hoping that Maximus would stay calm and in the bowl like a good spider. He did.

Jess, using her impecable dexterity and courage to trap Maximus

At that point we didn't know what type of spider he was, I just knew that he definately looked poisonous and I didn't want him coming back into my room! I apologise to all the spider-lovers out there, but we decided to, like Hitler, take the safe and cowardly way forward... we gassed Maximus. He died. The next day we found out that he was in fact a Baboon Spider, and not the poisonous one - only the small Baboon Spider is poisonous - but I don't have any regrets! And so, that is the story of my very terrifying encounter with The Arachnid... I have come a long way since running away from little pinky-nail sized jumping spiders in Cape Town.


To my Christian Buddies
God has been fruitful at Zithulele! A friend from the hospital, Asanda, got baptised this weekend :) She is a great girl, she has such a pure and child-like heart, and she is reaching out to her collegues in amazing ways... We have started studying with another guy here, and are hoping to start a bible talk during lunch time with at least 2 other girls here. There are so many open hearts, please pray that God continues to use Asanda as he is doing, and that he continues to grow and strengthen me, giving me wisdom in approaching people. And that He continues to expand his Kingdom out here!

A friendly reminder :)