Updated: Sep 18, 2022
In remote and rural settings, it can take hours to safely make your way to a hospital.
In South Africa, hitching a ride alone after dark is unwise (to say the least) and so a victim of sexual assault must often wait until daybreak to travel under the protection of rush hour.
After arriving at the hospital, several hours may have passed...and only then does the real waiting start. Swarming queues of crying babies and coughing grannies accumulate outside poorly marked buildings. The purpose of each queue is communicated back to you in "broken-telephone" style messages, passed down from the front in a mix of imperfectly overlapping languages. Which queue do you commit to?
...Am I an outpatient or a clinic patient...? Don't I have to be dying to qualify for the emergency queue? Maybe it is the women's clinic that deals with rape victims? Perhaps I should just join the shortest one?
No matter where you are in the world, waiting is the primary activity in any hospital, and time is one of the most critical determinants of survival.
For the rape victim awaiting a medical investigation, a cruel detail of their wait is that they are encouraged to not wash themselves after an assault to preserve evidence. And so, each minute of their wait prolongs their trauma.
Are we done now? I just want to wash myself...
The urge to wash oneself after an assault can be overwhelming. With no other option in Tintswalo, one exasperated patient commandeered a garden hose on the busy front lawn of the hospital. She walked up to it, took a deep breath and directed it under her skirt for 5 conspicuous seconds. Then, she stood up, straightened her hair and casually walked away to begin her long journey back home.
This is humiliating in any culture.
Poverty reduces one's options to ensure dignity but that does not make it part of any culture.
No one is too poor for dignity.
The only shower in the hospital broke several years ago, and with no budget to repair it, the door was locked...until we broke in a few days ago...🤢
Luckily after the last post launching this initiative, we received just over the USD1000 requested 🌈💰🙏!
This has allowed us to increase the scope of our work to include repairing this patient shower!
Here is Meyelani giving the shower some elbow-grinding TLC (and a lot of bleach) before we replace the taps and shower head and buy a new door.
It is really this easy.
No "admin fees". No middlemen. Just pure simple progress.
There's a lot more to do.
Join in to put your spare change to good use.