Yesterday I could see another project of our partners, the Thembalitsa foundation: „Thembacare“.
I will surely never forget this day, which was both shocking and impressing. Thembacare is a palliative station, which takes care for terminal ill persons, HIV positive people and tuberculosis patients in the townships.
Additionally, they take terminal care for seven in-patients. The waiting list for the beds is long, but the government supports only four beds with a non-sufficient contribution. More places with the high ongoing costs, are just not affordable.
I walked into the local township with two nurses, who are called there the angels. I received a clear guidance, stay close, no backpack which would attract desire and photos only to be taken with permission. Quite annoying considering the fact, that Capetown and vicinity ranks place nine amongst the most dangerous cities in the world, due to the townships.
Entering the officially called “informal settlement”, I experienced a shocking level of poverty and life conditions. The average income per person is less than two dollars a day, which makes Grabouw better than many other similar places. Being 60 kilometres out of Capetown, the farms around the city offer at least a seasonal income.
Together with the team, we walked eight kilometres through the township, visiting twelve seriously ill patients. Twenty per cent of the population are HIV positive. Tuberculosis or cancer are other frequent diseases. Thembalitsa is nursing almost 350 patients a week, with five teams.
It was just admirable, to see the nurses doing their vocation under those circumstances, bringing hope and dignity to people who really need it.