Heading to SA
After coming back to a grim, rainy British January for my (successful!) paediatrics interview, it was time to plan the next stage of my year out (click here for the blog of my first 5 months and thank you to all those who took the time to read it).
I entered the world of locum doctoring and started meeting with the lovely ladies at TWOWEEKS, a UK based volunteer network who work with charities in South Africa and Peru. The Lily of the Valley and Makaphutu Children's Villages are in KwaZulu Natal province (about 45 minutes from Durban) and provide a home for children abandoned or orphaned due the HIV/AIDS epidemic. They also work closely with the surrounding communities on a variety of projects, including nurse-led clinics and a TB Hospital.
TWOWEEKS was set up to provide short term volunteering opportunities that have a lasting impact and to that end each volunteer develops a personal project based on the orphanages' current needs. The widening availability of effective HIV treatment and improvement in the health of the children means that most are now reaching adulthood and outgrow the villages. Although this is a great 'problem' to have it is throwing up challenges and they are keen to equip the young people with the life skills required to live on the outside world and break the 'orphan cycle'.
I've prepared myself as much as I can for what is to come over the next month but as I have regularly been told, flexibility is key! I have a few project ideas in mind but plans B/C/D/Z are there just in case and it's more than likely I'll end up doing something none of us have even thought of yet.
Internet access may be a little sketchy but I'm hoping to blog about my experiences as often as I can. After my month is up I have a couple of weeks to explore South Africa so any hints/tips/offers of company are encouraged and appreciated!
My Zulu is in its infancy but as I depart I say to you all 'Sala Kahle', or 'stay well'.