This week I had an amazing experience. Not only does South Africa have a new president and a new hope, I helped deliver food parcels to 10 different families. Not our core business at Umduduzi – not at all, but it certainly lifted my spirits.
People always ask – how do you do your job? Isn’t it depressing? The truth is that working with sick children is difficult emotionally but it is certainly not depressing. The families we work with are incredible; passionate, emotional, resilient. Each one has their own story and journey that must be followed.
I love my work. Watching the grace with which these families handle the extreme adversity they face is a daily dose of humility. However the thing that will burn me out long before disease, dying and death is the poverty and dire social circumstances our families often face. Most mom’s cannot work because they are caring 24/7 for their precious children with special needs. Getting to all the hospital appointments alone can be enormously challenging. I can prescribe and deliver the morphine to a dying child’s bedside but when there is no food in the house? I feel so helpless and lost.
So how did I get to be delivering food parcels?
A dear friend Blake, lost his son in December to a chronic illness. In his honour, Blake has started the Junaid Foundation. He is raising money to assist families with sick children in need. Knowing I know numerous sick children dotted around the province we joined forces and went road tripping. I got to check up on my patients and Blake got to bless each family with a wonderfully heavy bag of goods. Thank you to some other wonderful donors we delivered 3 prams to babies with cerebral palsy and every child got a beautiful knitted blanket courtesy of the ‘Granknits’.
It is not Umduduzi’s role to provide food so we are delighted to work with organisations such as the Junaid Foundation and the Lamees Ryan Foundation – beautiful people doing beautiful work for beautiful families in need. All of the time making meaning out of their terrible losses.