The meeting started with the group of community members who are already
involved in some form of Home-based caring, sharing their stories on what
they are doing:
Elphas Dlamini: He is working in the Timpandzeni area. Encouraging
people who are sick. He is visiting homes and caring for people - trying
to find out if they are eating correctly. Making sure that they are clean.
If not, he helps to wash them. If the sick people do not have food or
candles, he helps them from his own pocket. He receives no money for this
work, but collects something from friends. Sometimes they have to buy
soap to wash the peoples clothes. There are times when they can do nothing
to help and they have to leave the patients carrying their own burdens.
They also teach other people in the homesteads to take care of their family
members. They try to prevent the sick people from feeling as though they
are dying. A big problem: People do not have enough food to eat.
Alice Lushaba: She is working in Thunzini area. The sick people expect
the caregivers to do everything for them. The patients are asking for
gloves. She answers that she does not have gloves but she is there to
see how people are caring for them. Patients are vomiting and have diarrhea.
They need electrolyte to drink, but it is not available. She also spends
time with the people who are caring for the sick person. She teaches them
how to take care of a patient. Many patients are "cheeky". She
teaches people to demonstrate God's love to the sick. When sick people
experience God's love, they are no longer cheeky but rather feels the
love. She helps where she can, but sometimes she has nothing to give.
Reginah Myeni: Working at Sigcimeni. Looking after orphans after mother
died. Father in Johannesburg but he is no longer coming home. Her cousin
is helping to feed the children, but if the food is finished, Reginah
has to help to get food. There are four children. The oldest one had been
helping the mother when she was sick, but she never had gloves to use.
They are now fearing that this child may also have become infected.
Sarah Mdziniso: She is working in the Zombodza area. In one homestead
both the father and mother passed away. There are six children who are
now orphans. They are not going to school. The oldest child is 18 and
he has now received a scholarship. He is now doing Grade 1 (one!!!). He
doesn't have a uniform. The other children don't even have clothes. Sarah
is trying to help them. The children also don't have food. Some of the
helpers are trying to help them from their pockets, but are failing to
make a big difference. They are afraid the children will start stealing
in order to survive. Sometimes they take maize to a mill to be milled
and then give the mealie meal to them to cook. This creates another problem,
because some of the sick people start asking for more if they only receive
Robert Mkhonta: He is working in more than one area. There are different
diseases in Swaziland. Except for HIV/AIDS, some are crippled. Old people
do not have a chance to exercise because nobody will help to take them
out. There are no wheelchairs to help those who are disabled. He teaches
the caregivers to always use gloves when working with sick people in order
to protect themselves. But usually there are no gloves available at the
thinkundla centres. There is also a shortage of napkins for those who
Banele Mdziniso: She is working in the Mthemba area (close to Zombodza).
Often the sick should go to hospital, but there is no transport to take
them there. They need a storeroom at the chiefdom to store material. Many
sick people do not have enough blankets if they are cold. Some homes have
toilets built by the government but others do not even have toilets. At
some homes there are no water. They need to tanks to store water in. We
need to tell our church members that they must not only visit people from
their own church but they must get involved in the whole community. Within
chiefdoms food must be planted for the use of those who are sick. The
high number of funerals are also putting a great burden on the community.
After hearing the "stories" the meeting went over into a discussion
about our future plans.
They do not have an idea how many people are HIV-positve. It is only
when people are about to die that they will admit it. People who admit
that they are HIV-positive may get ARVs. There are about 300-400 orphans
in EACH chiefdom (I thought about 80 in the whole area!)
There are one or two volunteers in each chiefdom. Zombodza has three.
Dwaleni is in the Ngwenyameni chiefdom. Zombodza has seven zones under
one chief. Robert can bring us more accurate figures on the number of
orphans. The present volunteers report to Robert as well as to the chief's
Do the volunteers have money? No. They take money from their own pockets
and buy food and fruit to take to 2 or 3 homes. There is no help from
government. The volunteer project was started by the Department of Health
but they give no support.
Andriëtte said that help should be focussed - identify a few homes
with the biggest needs and focus on these places.
Michelle explained how PSA works - volunteers meet once a week for support
and training and to hear the needs of the other workers.
At present the volunteers are only going out once a week to visit homes.
Elphas Dlamini mentioned a problem: If male volunteers go to visit homes,
it may happen that the husband is drunk and start accusing the volunteer
of bewitching the wife. They therefore need some kind of ID.
The present volunteers are not employed, except for two who are working
on a temporary base. The fact that they are not working makes it very
difficult for them to contribute anything from their own pockets to help
It was proposed that a vegetable garden should be started in the chiefdom
from which food can be received for the sick people.
Michelle said that volunteers should be seen as people helping with their
hands - they are not supposed to provide food, school fees, etc. These
needs should be reported to the committee who must try and help.
It was made clear that all volunteers are part of the committee, but that
an executive needs to be chosed in order to coordinate future training.
The following people were elected on the committee:
- Michelle McCubbin (Caring for Shiselweni)
- Sarah Mdziniso (Zombodza)
- Robert Mkhonta (Ngwenyameni)
- Shorty Khumalo (SRC Shiselweni)
- Banele Mdziniso (Bulekeni)
- Lindiwe Mkhaliphi (Makhonza)
- Cynthia Dlamini (Maphondweni)
- Arnau van Wyngaard (Convenor)
It was decided that training will be organised during the second or third
week of January.
At the next meeting it will be necessary to have a list of people in the
various areas in need of care, a list of the orphans as well as specific