Nomla Koboka: Volunteer Caregiver in Motherwell
I was born in Grahamstown in 1947 where I completed my schooling at Nyaluzo Primary and High School. I grew up with two brothers and one sister.
I moved to Port Elizabeth and in 1993 I started working at Pawulous Oyincwele crèche in Motherwell. I worked here for 20 years and loved teaching the young children. However, it was sad to see that many of the children had problems in the community and had to cope when their parents were sick or passed away. I retired from the crèche in 2013.
I began working as a volunteer caregiver for the Care Ministry in 2000 and completed a wide range of training courses. I learnt many things about HIV/AIDS, how to listen to people properly and also home based care. I also did a course about how to care for orphaned and vulnerable children as there are many children in my community of Motherwell that are suffering and need help.
Motherwell is a very large area in Port Elizabeth and sometimes I must travel very far to see people that are sick or need help. I either walk to the client or get on a taxi because I know that there are times when there is no one else to help. Before I retired I would go to my clients after work or at the weekends. I would finish my work with the children at the crèche and then go and visit the sick before I went home to my own home. I wanted to first make sure that they were ok and check if there was any help that they needed before finishing my work for the day. Now I am retired it is easier to see my clients during the day.
“I enjoy my volunteer work very much because I know that there are so many people that have nothing and are struggling because they are sick or lonely or grieving. There are many people who are battling with illnesses and it makes me feel good to assist them and make sure that they get the help that they need.”
Shirley Bacon: Volunteer Caregiver in Arcadia
I was born in Fairview, Port Elizabeth in 1951. I completed my primary schooling at St Finbars before moving onto St Colmcilles for my high schooling.
I have been blessed with three beautiful children, two boys and a girl, and now have a wonderful grandson as well.
I worked as an admin clerk in the maternity ward of Livingstone hospital for 30 years before moving to Dora Ngenza hospital maternity ward for a further 10 years after which I retired.
I joined the Care Ministry in 2001 as a member of the Arcadia group and have been working as a volunteer caregiver ever since. Our area covers Salt Lake, Arcadia and West End and we witness much poverty, sickness and pain in our community. In my area group we care for a wide variety of clients. I enjoy visiting the old age home and chatting to the elderly residents there to offer companionship and support. I also go with my fellow caregivers to a local home for adults with disabilities and we spend time chatting to the people as well as doing physical exercises with them and fun activities. We run a support group for people affected by HIV/AIDS which is a very rewarding experience as we watch clients start to feel safe and open up about their struggles and challenges. I visit families who have lost a loved one to offer bereavement support and we go and pray with members of the parish who are in need of love and care. I have had clients with many different health issues including a young man paralysed by a gunshot wound, people affected by TB, HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses.
I see my role as a caregiver as being to bring the presence of God to others and trying to be a human face of Christ in the community. People are lonely, grieving, sick and struggling and I enjoy showing them compassion and understanding.
Caregiving is a two way process and for everything I try to give to my clients I receive many blessings in return. I feel uplifted in my work and enjoy the comfort and touch of journeying with those in need.
Sr Audrey Scharnick
I was born in Grahamstown in 1944. I completed my Primary Schooling at St Mary’s in Grahamstown before moving to Uitenhage to complete my High Schooling at Dower.
I started my nursing training at Livingstone Hospital from 1962 – 1967 and moved to Cape Town for further training in Community Nursing in 1968. In 1969 I returned for the Port Elizabeth Municipality from 1969 – 1972.
I got married in 1972 and have 3 daughters and now also 3 granddaughters.
I worked for the Uitenhage Municipality between 1977 and 1994. In 1994 I was boarded from work after several back operations.
I initially began with the Care Ministry as a volunteer before taking over the supervision of the care group in Rosedale as a consultant supervisor. I currently supervise 10 volunteers. We meet monthly where I offer ongoing training, mentorship and support. We visit clinics regularly and I check that the caregivers adhere to their scope of work.
I enjoy visiting the caregivers one to one and accompanying them to their patients. In these times I am able to offer deeper emotional support and assist them with personal issues that need to be addressed.
Sr Beatrice Norani
I was born in Willowvale in the former Transkei in 1937 where I completed my schooling.
After school I completed my teachers training at St Matthews College and subsequently taught for 5 years. At this stage I decided to change careers and began my Nursing training at Livingstone Hospital. I further trained at Baragwanath Hospital and Groote Schuur Hospital.
I worked as a registered nurse at Livingstone hospital for 26 years and took early retirement in 1996.
I am married and have 2 children, 4 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.
I worked at the House of the Resurrection AIDS Haven, Port Elizabeth, for 6 years between 2004 and 2010 where I learnt a lot about HIV and AIDS. I resigned in 2010 when the Haven went through a process of restructuring.
I joined the Care Ministry as a consultant supervisor in 2011 and am responsible for the management of the group of caregivers in Motherwell. The caregivers are very dedicated and cover vast geographical areas in order to provide care and support to their clients. Our biggest challenges are the poverty and unemployment in the area.
I enjoy working with my group, my co-supervisors and the management. This work definitely keeps me feeling young!!!
Sr Blanche Damons
I was born in Natal in 1940 and attended Little Flower for my schooling.
I started my Nursing Training at Edendale in Pietermaritzburg through the University of Natal and furthered my studies at Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth. I qualified in General Nursing, Midwifery, Community Nursing and Nursing Administration.
I worked extensively in Family Planning and took over management roles for the Department of Health before retiring in 2003.
I am widowed with 4 children and 8 grandchildren.
I became involved with the Care Ministry in the role of consultant supervisor and am responsible for the management of groups in Kleinskool and Arcadia.
It is difficult to witness the extreme poverty in these areas but it is a blessing to journey with the caregivers as they provide care and support to those desperately in need.
Sr Bukiwe Abigail Msizi
I was born in Korsten, Port Elizabeth and completed my Primary Schooling in my mother’s town of Humansdorp, staying with my Uncle and Maternal Grandmother. I matriculated from Newell High School, New Brighton in 1955.
I completed my General Nursing Science and Midwifery at Livingstone Hospital between 1958 – 1961 and worked as a trained nurse until 1967. From then I completed a number of courses including Ward Administration and Paediatric Nursing Care.
Between 1970 – 1973 I completed Family Planning, Communication and Counselling and Primary Health Nursing Care Theory at the University of Port Elizabeth. I also studied for a Community Nursing Science Diploma at Edendale in Pietermaritzburg through the University of Natal in 1983. I further completed my Psychiatric Nursing Science at Komani Hospital in 1989.
I worked as a Senior Community Health Nurse at Municipality Clinics from 1970 until I retired in 2001.
From my retirement until 2004 I worked as a part time mentor for 2nd year Primary Health Care and 3rd year Midwifery students, supervising their practical work.
I am currently working as a Supervisor for Care Ministry Volunteer Caregivers in the areas of Windvogel and Missionvale.
I provide mentoring, ongoing training and support to the caregivers and carry out site visits to patients in the community. I very much enjoy this work and it keeps me busy.
I am widowed with three children. Sadly two of my children passed away and I now enjoy spending time with my one daughter and one grandchild.
Sr Mary-Jane Ntombekhaya Bonga
I was born in Alice in the Eastern Cape in 1943.
I am married and am blessed with 5 children, 3 boys and 2 girls and now have 5 grandchildren. I will be celebrating my 48th wedding anniversary in this year!!
I completed my Primary Schooling at Kwegana HP School in Alice and came to Port Elizabeth in 1959 where I completed my High School education at Cowan High school where I matriculated.
In 1964 I started my Nursing Training at Livingstone Hospital where I completed both my General and Midwifery Diploma. I worked in Port Elizabeth Municipality Clinics from 1972 to 1976.
In 1976 I went to work in Peddie District Clinics where I was promoted to District Matron in charge of 10 clinics.
In 1982 I came back from Peddie to work in the Private Sector for “Smith and Mitchell” Hospitals, now known as “Life Care”. I retired in 2003.
From 2003 I stayed at home and was kept busy with older persons activities such as Golden Games as well as a variety of different Church initiatives.
In 2007 I started working for the Care Ministry supervising volunteer caregivers in the area of Gelvandale. I am still busy working in this capacity and enjoy helping sick people. I am very grateful to be a part of the Care Ministry and the work prevents me from getting old and stiff!
Sr Ntombizanele Evelyn Mtongana
I was born in Alice in the Eastern Cape in 1942 where I did my schooling at Lovedale followed by St Matthews College.
I completed my nursing training at Livingstone hospital in Port Elizabeth between 1964 – 1969 before working at Fort Beaufort TB hospital (1971 – 1980), Algoa Chest PE (1980 – 1982) Algoa Regional Services Municipality (1982 – 1989) and finally working for the PE Municipality (1989 – 2002). I retired from my nursing post in 2002.
In 2004 I began working as a consultant supervisor for the Care Ministry. Originally I supervised the groups of Motherwell, New Brighton and Kwazakhele but since the employment of Sr Norani I no longer supervise the Motherwell group. I supervise 10 volunteers in Kwazakhele and 8 in New Brighton. I meet with them monthly for administration and debriefing and visit their patients in the community to supervise and monitor the care and support.
Our biggest challenge is the safety in the areas that we are working especially when we work in the evenings. We pray together for strength and protection. I enjoy the work I am doing and am happy at the Care Ministry even though I am growing older!!
Sr Veronica Doyle
I was born Veronica Bruiners in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape, in 1950. I had my Primary School education at St Joseph School and completed my High Schooling at St Colmcilles.
I then started my Nursing Training at the Old Somerset Hospital in Cape Town which I completed in 1972. I worked at the Knysna Provincial Hospital as a registered nurse until 1976 and from then I worked at the Uitenhage Provincial Hospital until I was medically boarded in 2008.
I got married in 1978 and have 3 daughters.
In 2009 I decided to work for the Care Ministry and was appointed as a consultant supervisor for the Kabega area group which includes an outreach to the rural area of Hankey. I am currently developing a new group with 3 volunteer caregivers in the area of Tiryville in Uitenhage.
I enjoy the work that I am doing as I believe that nursing is my calling.