15 noiembrie, 2011

ORA DE ENGLEZĂ- Aventurile unui englez în Africa de Sud, la BLOGpeBLOC

Un britanic descrie pentru BLOGpeBLOC experienţa traumatizantă a unui proiect desfăşurat într-un stat extrem de afectat de SIDA: Republica Sud-Africană BLOGpeBLOC propune pentru cunoscători un articol în limba engleză. Un vechi prieten al nostru, britanicul Pete Snushall descrie în continuare detaliile unui proiect sud-african în care a fost implicat. Reamintim că

Republica Sud-Africană este extrem de afectat de pandemia numită HIV- SIDA. Snushall rememorează aici o experienţă mai mult sau mai puţin traumatizantă, într-o lume tot mai asediată de boli pe care nu le poate înţelege şi pe care nu le poate vindeca. Mulţumim, Pete: şi noi sperăm că mâine va fi mai bine.

"Dear George, here you are. thank you for your acceptance. Peter Snushall"

I am writing to detail the time I spent in the project. One of the things I had to do was complete each week a report for the meeting detailing all that had happened that week. Unfortunately I didn't think to save a copy but since being home since january 2006 I find I can remember most of what took place. Duration: May 2005 – November 2005. The TCE program runs for three yers in an area of 500.000 citizens. The project is in two areas where it is placed; Naboomspruit/Mokapane, with Mookgophong Locations. We worked in Naboomspruit, an afrikaaner town in Limpopo Province where the work was more office-based. Typically the blacks live in the “Location” while the whites live in the suburb. This is from the days of apartheid althouth atittudes have changed slightly since then with those blacks in the Police force, Doctors and Teachers setting up home in the town.

The second area Bakenberg, a rural place close to the border with Botswana. The only difference is that it is solely black. We lived in a hut with a tin roof. Mr. Jimson Moyo, our project leader lived here rent free for the security of the church. I transferred to join him and take over from Waltraud (Rosa) from switzerland who had just finished her time in the project. He was then promoted to be in charge of Naboomspruit. The weather conditions in SA are very hot and dry with only a few weeks of mildly pleasant warm climate with a few rainy days. I started in the project with Beverley (UK) who trained with me in Hull, UK but she left after three months. Water was a problem. The stand pipes are sometimes closed off over the weekend. Boreholes can be R12.000. But this is never addressed by those in charge of development, and because of this i met with the Nduna (wise-men) of the village at their meeting place and explained to them that I had money available from family and friends and therefore could use this to fund the boreholes. I donated the funds to the community for this purpose. I felt that it was appropriate to have done this. Rebecca was a Special Force who took ill and died while I was there. She belonged to the Zionist Church of Chris, a church popular in SA. Every other person is a member. The vigil for her continued all friday with the burial on saturday at 09.00. she was
passionate about her work. It is a reason people should have the knowledge to liberate themselves from the epidemic. The last three months was spent in the field going door to door with alternate Field Officer in there village. I preffered this to Naboomspruit. This case eas one of many the Field Officers came across in their daily work. One 80-year-old woman got the virus by not using the correct method of protection while caring for her daughter thus it is important to know about blood to blood contact, which they now do. Information about transmission and prevention of spreading the virus is very important. People believe the virus is spread through intercourse only thus giving them a misconception about why the virus exhists. The senior age group is the most difficult for an FO to talk to, as condom demonstrations are part of the program. Seniors take the viewpoint that they don't have sex at their age so they shouldn't have to have condom use demonstrated. Tact is an important. Grandparents can teach the young. Funding the project Donors vary from country to country. The program in South Africa was part funded by the ABSA Bank in partnership with HUMANA. Representatives from the bank came to study came to study the statistics and see that the project was run properly. Donations would be unavailable to us if they thought the goal were not being met. It was usual for the money not to be readily available at certain time when it was needed seo we would have to wait. Conditions in daily life In Naboomspruit it was more like Europe than Africa with the shops and retail stores at hand. Running water in the house and washing machines are common whereas in Bakenberg collecting water and pit toilets were part of life. I learnt how to collect water and hand laundry. It was also the only white in sight. Here I could leave the accomodation which was also the office and go into the field with the Field Officer. I divided my time between rural which is very sandy and dusty, and town to help Miribelle, from Cameroun who was left alone in charge of the project. Also I could stay in the house where I could wash and do laundry. Local language and customs There is an etiquette with meeting people in their households. I found this many times as I went door to door. Walking into the yard you don't say a word until a bench is brought out. We are then seated. We greet the householders, introduce ourselves then the lessons begin. Sometimes we would be offered food. A typical dish being heads and feet; chicken.this is especially if you are poor. I didn't mind them except not much meat on them. Papp, a maize meal is very nuch the staple diet. It is just like mashed potato. After a while being in the rural area.i gained the ability to keep an ear out for Sotho which was quite easy to pick up. Once having being taught this I could use it with taxi-drivers and passing. Hitchhiking, known locally as taking lifts ia a main part of daily routine. Taxis are early morning so we wake up and prepare ourselves. Taxis are however in short supply in the afternoon. You must pay in both cases. An allowance of R1600 was given to Development Instructors every month especially when we needed to get to Naboomspruit for our weekly meetings. My responsibilities were given to me. These included bugetting and buying seedsfor my vegetable garden workshops I gave to the community. Money was always an issue. I felt in order to help the project it was necessary to use my own funds for this. I also helped with the youth clubs.this is a good excersise to get the young to take responsibility for their own personal responsibilities to stay away from drugs and sex. The average ageof a person to get the virus is age 16-24. we were given money from HUMANA to buy footballs/netballs/volleyball for the FO and their clubs. This was limited to R750 so we had to share it between 30 clubs. Footballs are not suited to the rough and dusty terrain of African soil so they didn't last long. I gave talks in the meetings of which, preparing the ground for vegetable gardens and income generating projects. I was incharge of the Field Officers who had a village of each. There are 14 villages. There is am orphan problem. Child-headed households are common all over Africa. It was my responsibility to detail names of each child by way of the field officers. I designed the forms and gave them out to FOs at their meeting point. The municipality would then have the names and then could act on them. Duties to perform The Field officers carry out door to door campaigns on a daily basis except Sunday, which is kept for going to church. I would help the Field Officers prepare their School Program once or twice a week raising subjects which include Abstinence and Puberty. The management meet on Tuesday in the Naboomspruit office. We go through the weekly results and statistics given by each officer. These include; Number of Households visited, How many condom demonstrations are given out and how many people or pupils talked to. This usually takes most of the day to go through and if the field officer had low statistics we could go door to door and pinpoint their difficulties in the field. We bring ideas on how to solve the problem they face with the community. Patrol and Troop meetings are held on consecutive weeks. The Agenda is set by the management for the meeting. These include Role Play, councelling etc, and courses are taken by the Troop Commander – a promoted FO who is in charge of the Field Officer who is in charge of the Field Officer's gathered forms and noting problems they come across in the community such as lack of condoms, being chased away from the door amongst others. These issues would be taken into account at the Tuesday management meeting. Our Special Force, FO who have been promoted and therefore are in chage of the FO in Bakenberg and also give talks in the meetings and check the officers in their field. Sarah is a typical African woman, squat and full of fun. Thandy when she wasn't at work in the field was a mother with two sons. She was an expectant mother. This didn't stop her climbing up on a cattle truck or crawl into the back of a pickup. She had a baby girl by the end of my time there. Great fun to be with. Rosinah had a good command of english, was very outspoken and wasn't afraid to speak her mind if anything was unreasonable. I spent the last three months with them. The last two months were spent in Durban where I wrote up reports and evaluated data. This was very uninteresting but the openess of the other Dis in training compensated for this. Most were from Cameroun. Our FO Joseph Thubakgale Skilspad Village was promoted and joined me in Durban. He was very good at mobilising the community on vegetable gardens and youth clubs. It was good to be able to spend time with him so that I could help with any questions he may have. He is now doing the work I was doing in the TCE Program elsewhere. Since being there, not wanting to return it was very. It was so nice meeting so many wonderful people it was a very worthwhile, interesting experience. I still like to think of all the people I met at the project who were fun to be with. It could be quite demanding work. It is the people than anything that I think of more. Six months is never long enough to complete the work you do but does some benefit for sure. I hope to take up more development work in the future. “It is for People to Liberate Themselves from the Epidemic.”