I came back - after 32 years!
Here is my blog post which I hope will encourage you to give Tshemba a try! I came back after 32 years, that’s right, 32 years. But to start at the recent ‘end’ of my story, I volunteered in August - September 2023. I’m an Australian GP and had worked as a rural generalist in the past so I covered outpatients, a brief stint in medical ward, and GP work in Tintswalo Hospital as well as a few of the satellite clinics.
What can I say? You won’t be disappointed, but make sure you come with a kit bag full of flexibility and a ‘can do ‘spirit!
Rhian, Nicole, Lisa, and all the Tshemba team really do their best to make the experience as positive an experience as possible and to this team you bring your positive vibe. The situation is, to say the least, interesting and challenging.
The accommodation is out of this world, living in a game reserve a 20 minute drive from Tintswalo Hospital, and you will be in the middle of one of the most beautiful of African settings.
So to 32 years ago: I had actually worked, not as a volunteer, but as a medical officer for the ‘Black homelands ‘government way back in 1990. When I returned in 2023, the ‘homeland’ had vanished into history and South Africa had completely changed in many respects.
My head spun for the first few weeks as I absorbed what I heard, saw and felt, coming back with a head full of impressions frozen in the past. But on top of all of this, was one important thing that had not changed radically in 32 years, and that was the ongoing need for health services in rural South Africa, which is still underserviced compared to its cities.
You might think that in such a small period of time that your contribution might not be of significance… to this I would like to say to you: nothing could be further from the truth. Every contribution helps, it really does. It was like that in 1990 and it was like that in 2023…and it will be like that when you volunteer. Believe me!
Life kept me away for 32 years but…I came back and I’m darn glad I did. And, yes, I’m planning to return again- but I’m definitely NOT waiting another 32 years!
By Ron Ti, GP