Mandisa Pula, currently working at Living Hope hospice, is originally from the Eastern Cape and arrived in Cape Town in 1994.
Mandisa then began high school and completed her Matric in 1999. When she completed her Matric, she studied at Muizenberg College where she started a Marketing course which she did not complete due to unforeseen circumstances.
After not being able to complete the course, she sought work and managed to land a job at Metrorail, but her contract there was completed after a year and not renewed. During this time Mandisa struggled financially and emotionally because all she was seeking was a stable job and income to just survive. After the Metrorail contract expired she managed to get another job working for Long gate, selling airtime but then unfortunately she was faced with another stumbling block, and in 2008 she was retrenched. After being retrenched and having such bad luck with jobs and finding work, Mandisa was very down and out and decided to sit at home and not to look for a job. She wanted to rather focus on herself and what sort of job she really wanted instead of wasting time and being down and out every time she lost her job or was retrenched.
While at home her brother spoke to her about the prospect of nursing and what her feelings are around that. Mandisa being a person who was always willing to try different things had a very positive attitude towards it and said to her brother that it’s something she will consider and try out.
However deep down, unbeknown to many, Mandisa already had a small passion for nursing and this sort of field because years ago she had a friend who was HIV positive and Mandisa helped her a lot during this time because the friend could not help herself. Every morning Mandisa would wake up, travel to Groote Schuur Hospital to give her friend breakfast, to bath her and so forth. It was while doing this that Mandisa realised and grew into her passion for nursing.
While helping out her friend she was approached by a student and this student suggested to her that she should study nursing at UWC (University of Western Cape). Mandisa was very unsure about this, but one thing she was sure of was that this profession of nursing was a definite calling from God into her life because not once would she have imagined that she would do nursing as a job.
After being approached by the student to study nursing she decided to go to a college in Gugulethu to study,however once again she was faced with a challenge in that it was full and that she must try again next year. Mandisa couldn’t wait that long, she had done some research and discovered a school of nursing in Claremont where she studied for 4 months and then had done her practical training at Hope Care in Wynberg.
After she completed her practical, Mandisa was at home for a couple of months and then one day her son came to her stating that a man had dropped off a letter for her stating she must drop her CV off at Living Hope. As fate would have it, it was the last day to drop a CV off at Living Hope for this specific position, so Mandisa quickly called her brother and asked him to please take her to Living Hope to drop the CV off.
The following week she received a phone call that she must come for an interview, and amazingly on the same day in the afternoon they phoned her to tell her that she had landed the job. Mandisa was overwhelmed with emotion and once again knew that this was indeed a calling and blessing from God.
In 2010, Mandisa started her life off at Living Hope as a home-based carer in Masiphumelele. She loved her job so much, she loved the interaction with the people she encountered on a daily basis and loved the fact that she could work in the community.
After a couple of months Mandisa landed a position in the actual Living Hope hospice as an in-unit carer and this is what she is currently doing. For those who are not aware, Mandisa shared that when she was a home-based carer the main responsibilities were to make sure that the patients who are based at home take their proper medication and have interaction with other people, because a lot of the time families have abandoned the patients, especially if they are HIV positive.
Sometimes you get those patients who just refuse to take their medication and then, Mandisa explained, she would tell the patients what would happen to them if they didn’t take the medication and how their body would deteriorate.
Mandisa said that she loves her job, that she’s surrounded by different people and recognises that you must have passion and love towards the patients, for if you don’t, then it’s a job you will not last in for more than a month. She doesn’t feel it is burden but rather a blessing from God that she has this job and for her this is a job that she respects.