Paying to Care
Sister Theresa is a nurse at Kaloma and she operates a number of home-based care clinics – at least that is what I call the visits because she goes to one location and the people come to her. Sister Theresa has two women who are “carers” who know what is happening with the people in their area. They help Sister with translations, usually Tonga, as needed. They also do on-the-spot updates on each patient, which are recorded in a book. The carers pay to volunteer. I still do not understand this arrangement. Mrs. Makalani is one of the carers standing in the doorway.
It Takes a Village
The clinic setting is very humble. The waiting room and the exam room are the same. There is no HIPAA here. Most of the clients are HIV/AIDS patients so Sister has a suitcase of vitamins and other supplements to assist her clients. One benefit to this group approach is that the client gets lots of emotional support from the other women when she admits to Sister that she has been “thinking” too much. This is to say she is very worried about some aspect of her life. It was really touching to me to see the women waiting to be seen and the carers help one woman who felt so alone and overwhemed to realize that they were her family, too.
A couple of Presentation donors are contributing to the building of a hostel for girls who live in the bush. The girls are too vulnerable when left to find their own housing. The school held a dedication ceremony in our honor. A group of young women and men from the school sang a welcoming song for us. We were invited to dance with the girls. I found the direct encounter very moving. I felt we were more mutual – we both had something to offer each other.
The Sisters are helping establish a farm. The picture shows a dairy barn that was just constructed with the help of a grant. They also raise pigs. Some of the funds are used to provide an income for the workers and some funds help support the home based-care program for people with HIV/AIDS.