27 September 2010

Nkosi Haven

In May I wrote a blog that discussed a book I recently read by Jim Wooten. The book, “We Are All the Same” chronicles the life of Gail Johnson a woman living in Johannesburg who started an AIDS home for mothers and children and during the process found herself taking a young boy with AIDS into her family and her heart. The story spoke to me on many levels. I was touched by the connection between boy and woman, I found myself getting lost in their trials and triumphs, in the love and dedication between the two. I was impressed by their strength and learned more how to relate to my patients at the AIDS center through their story.

While we were wandering around shops in Johannesburg last weekend we walked into a used book store. The first book that caught my attention was “We Are All The Same”, ironic I thought considering we were probably just a few minutes from Nkosi’s Haven, the site Gail Johnson had created. I found their number and address in a phone book and after getting lost for a good 25 minutes, my patient roommates and I found the center.

Gail unfortunately was not feeling well and had gone home sick, but we were given a tour of the beautiful facilities. I was impressed with the size of the place which houses currently 91 children and 32 mothers and is still not at max capacity. The accommodation includes housing, food, love and support, treatment administration and encouragement, as well as specialized therapy sessions for children (speech and language, occupational therapy and a social integration play room). There was a beautiful bakery on the property a brightly colored leisure room and various places for children to play.

As we were leaving I rememberd the copy of “We Are All The Same” that I had purchased. I asked one of Gails co-workers if she thought Gail would be willing to sign it and mail it back to me if I left money. In all honesty I wasn’t expecting it to realistically happen, but two days later I received a package in the mail with a very kind note in the front of the book.

“Dearest Meghan,
Wishing you all the very best in life and in your future career in nursing. All my love – Gail Johnson”

I have recently been trying to decide where I want to go once this year is complete – it has been a toss up between going back to school for speech therapy or nursing. I never told anyone at Nkosi’s Haven that I was interested in nursing, but perhaps it’s a sign?

1 comment:

  1. It is a sign! You would be an amazing, caring, compassionate, and tough nurse! Pediatrics of course ;)