They were required to visit and interact with our patients. In the words of one of their teachers – “most youngsters these days are privileged enough not to realize that there are people out there who are less fortunate than they are.” Msunduzi Hospice was once again chosen as an organization that can be trusted to ‘teach’ impressionable grade 10 pupils about having an open heart and mind when it comes to
people in need.
The program called the Open Hearts Project aims to do just that – open the hearts and eyes of pupils to the needs of their communities. When the pupils arrived at Msunduzi Hospice, they were as boisterous as only teenagers can be.They were introduced to the care staff and spoken to about Hospice and the work that we do. They were given guidelines to follow on how to approach the patients and what to do in case they felt uncomfortable in some instances. Each pupil brought a food parcel for three families that they were to visit. All dutifully packaged and ready for delivery.
Five lucky lads remained with our Daycare patients.They spent a happy morning chatting to our patients, assisting with the serving of tea and cake and clearing up thereafter. Hospice was abuzz with boys in red, black and white tracksuits pushing patients in wheelchairs, sitting under the trees and chatting, playing cards and shopping with patients. The rest of them went out on home visits. Their excited chatter could be heard as they got into the cars and left. They were probably thinking that this manner of learning was really cool.Come 12H00 a really subdued groups of boys gathered for the debriefing session. When asked how did the morning go, one brave lad said “Sjoe mam, that was sjoe.” I guess he meant he was finding it difficult to express his feelings. After a lot of molly – coddling and cajoling they finally admitted that being with the staff and patients at Hospice was a real eye opener for them. Most of them had not realized the abject poverty that some of our
patients live in or how privileged they were in comparison to others.
The patients thoroughly enjoyed the time and attention that they received. The staff humorously recounted how excited the boys were on their drive to the patients (some live in PMB and had never been to the areas that they visited), so it was a sightseeing trip for them, and how they became progressively quieter on the way back. The volunteers thought that they were ‘charming young men.” The boys were exhausted but promised to be involved in future endeavours with Hospice. It is collaboration like this between Hospice and other organizations that adds value to the for both staff and pupils, but it provides valuable insight into the work that Hospices does.