Monday, June 22, 2009

Huis Maria, a humbling experience

Huis Maria is a normal looking house on 20th Avenue in a suburb of Cape Town called Elsie’s River. This house is not different from the other houses in the street, until you actually take time to step inside. “This house shelters recuperating mental persons”
WWWA members as part of their community connecting and relationship building to mark world refugee day this year paid this house a visit.
We a good time sharing information, cleaning and cooking and having lunch, with residents who were very trilled to see and talk to these other people from Africa as they constantly referred to us. The coordinator of the project Carmen was happy to introduce us to all the residents. Some of the residents were quite frank when they mentioned that they never thought that there were people called refugees but that they had knowledge of these other people from over seas.
They wanted to know why these refugee have to flee their homes and why some of them had to choose south Africa to come to, there were questions about what languages are spoken by these “fugees” as they kept referring to refugees, they wanted to know when and how will refugee go back home and if there were refugees from Europe as well.
A touching moment for me was when I watched three guys sitting together , one black, one white and the other one colored , what stood out for me was how closed they were , they shared a cool drink from the same cup , every time some thing was passed around these three performed the sharing ritual until the last bit , it started with a cup of cool drink then a packet of chips then an orange, and even a piece of chicken.
They sat there so close to each other in their own world whispering and looking out for each other. these was my big moment I was deeply touch how we all needed as a world to became mentally deranged at some point, in order for us to actually realized that we all are one and the same and capable of love for one another.
Huis Maria is a place of love and care and offers hope to people who have lost hope as well as family ties and respects from the community. Perhaps that is why we connect to this project; refugees are more in the same space.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another woman dies in birth related complications

It is with a heavy heart that I write this morning, in fact with tears in my eyes.
A member of WWWA Miss Phillomina. K. died on Friday 6th June 2009, this was also the day she was born 24 yrs ago. On that day she went to the hospital to deliver her twin babies.
She lost the babies and then her life.
The question that one begins to ask is why women should loose their lives especially when trying to create another life. Again, is giving birth not a God given responsibility. Why then did Phillo have to die? Like the many hundreds of women who loose their lives in this continent every year.
In 2008 we buried two members who had died in maternal related complications.
Is this the new killer or is there any form of foul play, and why?
Phillo will be laid to rest on Thursday 11th June 2009. May her soul rest in peace.

Concepts and definitions
In the International Statistical Classification of
Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth
Revision, 1992 (ICD-10), WHO defines maternal
Death as:
The death of a woman while
Pregnant or within 42 days
Of termination of pregnancy,
Irrespective of the duration and
Site of the pregnancy, from any
Cause related to or aggravated by
The pregnancy or its management
But not from accidental or
incidental causes.
This definition allows identification of maternal deaths,
Based on their causes as either direct or indirect.
Direct obstetric deaths are those resulting from
obstetric complications of the pregnant state (pregnancy,
delivery, and postpartum), from interventions,
omissions, incorrect treatment, or from a chain of
events resulting from any of the above. Deaths due
to, for example, haemorrhage, pre-eclampsia/eclampsia
or those due to complications of anaesthesia or
caesarean section are classified as direct obstetric
deaths. Indirect obstetric deaths are those resulting
from previous existing disease, or diseases that developed
during pregnancy, and which were not due to
direct obstetric causes but aggravated by physiological
effects of pregnancy. For example, deaths due to
aggravation of an existing cardiac or renal disease are
indirect obstetric deaths.( –health publications )

Monday, June 8, 2009

world refugee day celebration 2009

WWWA is preparing to celebrate world refugee day on 20th June 2009. This day is celebrated across the globe every year, to remember the plight of refugees around the world and to recognize the contributions of refugees in the communities where they live. At WWWA we believe that it is a time to think about how far we have come and how far we still need to go in the daily struggle to be treated with dignity and respect. It is an uphill struggle for some refugees living in South Africa to day to reestablish them selves after the shocking xenophobic attacks of 2008. There is a yearning for us especially the women to be who we always wanted to be in other words a time to think about the rights that are denied us on a daily bases . This is a biter reminder to us again that for a refugee human rights became a luxury because you are more often than not treated as a non human, and the issue of rights then became a far cry from your mind, in this regard every day is trauma and torture day, every day is a day that reminds you that you do not belong and that you need to do some thing extra in other to be accepted.
In Cape Town WWWA continues to be supported by dedicated women and men who believe that man kind and humanity belongs to all. That refugee or not we are the same people. The partners and friends of WWWA have stood by us and have continuously supported the refugee women who seek the services of WWWA, to that effect the women of the Union of Jewish Women in Cape Town have offered eight week training free of charge to ten women from WWWA, in conflict management, anger management, and relationship building. This is a precious gift from women to other women, the women who will participate in the training are selected from the following countries of origin , Burundi, Zimbabwe , Cameroon , Rwanda, Malawi, Congo Brazzaville , and Congo DRC, the selection, was based on the fact that these women will take the skills back to the various communities which they represent.
WWWA will co host three events in different communities to mark this day
On 17 June WWWA together with community members will visit Nazareth house a place of safety for the sick and home less where we plan to distribute clothing collected from the community, we will clean, cook, share lunch with the residents of the shelter. And also share with them information on who a refugee is and why refugees come to South Africa.
• A church services with the Huis Maria in Elsie’s River Cape Town, is planned for 20th June. This is a place of safety for recovering mental patients and ranned by a generous nurse and her family , Huis Maria carters for recovering patients who do not have family or any one to care for them .
On June 21 the WWWA women will recite poems from a book living on the fence based on true live stories of these women and written by them. this will take place at the St Goerges Cathedral in Cape town after the sunday service . The poetry will be followed by a discussion with church member and other dignitaries. This will be a cession of sharing and giving by all who will be at the event.

"A mind in confussion"

Forced to flee their homes
Having lost everything,
And sometimes every one
Refugees have a lot to deal with
They have needs,
Emotional, economic, and social.
Most of all they have rights,
The right to seek asylum,
The right to life
The right to study
The right to work
Have children, educate them
And most of all the right just to beeeeee
Please refugees have the right to beeeeee.