A nurse of gold

Name: Maureen Dunnett

Area of specialisation: Trained Nurse, specialising in Midwifery

Family: Married and has four sons and six grandchildren

Johannesburg, February – Since she can remember Sister Dunnett wanted to care for people in need. She has travelled widely to England, USA, India and Africa, and finally, she’s visited the Tshemba Foundation. Although this was a reconnaissance trip to the Tshemba Foundation programme and Hlokomela Clinic, her visit left an impression on the foundation and vice versa. In fact, she loved it so much that she’s returning for two weeks this February. “I was welcomed to the Tshemba Moditlo Lodge by Katherine, and my stay was amazing,” said Sister Dunnett.

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She was guided through the daily working programmes, which enabled her to assist wherever possible. “I was absolutely blown away by the staff. Every patient was treated with dignity and respect. It was a very special, humbling and unique experience.”

Based on her work for SAALED (Southern African Association for Learning and Educational Differences) and her experience in basic health education and project work in rural areas, Sister Dunnett is well-placed to help establish the nurses’ sector in the Tshemba Foundation programme. “Specialists can easily be used in the hospital and surrounding areas, whereas the foundation is not sure yet how to maximise the use of volunteer nurses.”

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“During my stay, I did not visit the hospital but instead travelled with the hardworking Hlokomela Clinic staff to the farms and clinics. Every day was a different experience for me. The time spent around HIV-testing and treating was highly informative.”

Sister Dunnett explored every possible way in which she could assist. From being involved with sex and farm workers’ health assistance to helping ladies knit and sew, she came to understand some of the issues needed.

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“I was able to visit places I wouldn’t normally. In one of the last villages we visited, the people had to wait in long queues for hours to collect water from a JoJo tank. I saw dear old ladies walking distances pushing wheelbarrows with containers to collect their water. Many folks have electricity but no sanitation,” she noted.

“It all depends on how involved you would like to be. There is a great need around Hoedspruit, Acornhoek and the Timbavati regions. The more frequently my husband and I visit, the more insight we’ll have as to where our services will be needed and then stay for a longer period,” Sister Dunnett concludes.

Add your voice to Sister Dunnett’s and help those in need. Bring your partner along to share in the giving during the day, while you spend your nights at a luxurious five-star lodge in the Limpopo bush. Contact the Tshemba Foundation on +27 (64) 507 5527 or visit www.tshembafoundation.org.