Veronica, 27, has been in the respite unit since before I arrived in South Africa. She has been very, very close to death and then, somehow, she bounces back. In fact, she recently started ARV’s and walked by herself for the first time 2 weeks ago. She is soooooooooo frail and quite sore, but she is getting stronger everyday. Everyone she became friends with has gone home or they have died, so she’s kind of alone in the unit.
I knew she must be bored out of her mind just laying around all day, so I began hanging out with her quite a bit. She is the same age as me which is a wake-up call in itself. She and I lead such different lives, yet we’ve created a beautiful friendship and have realized we have more in common than we’d once thought. It is very hard to communicate with her because she does not speak English very well. Many times I’ll catch a few words in English and then she’ll continue in Zulu…thoroughly confusing me. Since she has been in the unit over 3 months, that means she’s eaten the same food for those three months. One day we were talking and she asked if I could bring her in some different food. It’s been fun to cook some American food for her and also to bring her chips, chicken pies and sweets when I can. She loves them.
Vero is still too weak to live at home and she really has no one to care for her. She also has a 2 year old little boy that is quite busy. However, she asked if she could go home for the weekend just to visit and get out for a bit. I brought her home yesterday with two fellow volunteers. We drove up the cliffs in Lower Molweni until we could drive no further. She showed us to a steep, grassy incline leading to her home. We finally got to the top and were greeted by her Mother, Aunt, and some small children. They were happy to have her home, though sad she couldn’t stay. Her family does understand that she is too weak to stay for good at this time and they’re happy she’s under our care.
Here are some pictures from the hike to Veronica’s house and the babies that live there. I also posted a picture of Vero from February so you can see what she looks like.