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Saturday, December 16, 2006
Maternity staff party
Every year the doulas (trained birth support women) used to give the mothers a bag filled with goodies at Christmas time as a once off prezzie.
Because Bosom Buddies is now giving even more gorgeous bags three times a week, we suggested that BB get together with the doulas (of which I am actually one too!) and give the nursing staff a gift instead.
We had 23 bags sewn up by the very nifty Monica who lives in Khayalitsha and filled them with all sorts of goodies from various people that Lisa Southin organized.
(Inge Bosman paid for the labor of the bags so thanks loads.)
I then approached different stores to get food & drinks sponsored for the Christmas party and many agreed to help us out.
On the morning of the party I had the inevitable happen with people letting us down and not delivering on their promises except for.
Pick n Pay Waterstone Village. Kevin the manager handed me over to his manageress Sanet who took my wish list out of my hand and proceeded to fill a trolley with TONS of food and festive tinsel, Christmas crackers, red & green napkins, juices and cakes & tarts. I was blown away by their generosity. I had prayed that morning for all we needed and who does God put in my path..? Sanet, an ex nurse! Coincidence? Not a chance!
I then had to dash off to Woolies at the Mall to pick up the rest of the food although Kevin & Geraldine had said it wasn't much, just some veggies & strawberries.
Drove around to dispatch and almost passed out when I saw the mountains of food. I was stressing big time as I had to get to the hospital in 45 minutes and I had to now find another charity to give the excess food to. Weather cooking hot, food potentially going to spoil. Aaaaaaaaaaargh!
I hate wasting food, especially when I know people are starving here.
Anyway, luckily Andy & Lynn from CHE met me in the parking lot and we loaded off most of the food into their car which they took into the townships. The people were stoked!
I then dashed off via home (pick up other food) to meet Lisa at the hospital and a couple of us set up all the food and decorations. The nurses and other ward staff were thrilled and touched with their gift and the party. We set aside enough for the night staff and all those who were on leave.
I want them to know we do appreciate their hard work and know the conditions under which they have to perform. Sometimes I get irritated with the sense of entitlement and total lack of gratitude some of the mothers show. Some of them are just surly and rude. Imagine what it is like for the nurses! I do know my attitude is wrong and not very Mother Theresa-ish. I really do love most of the precious moms.
Actually I must apologize for my attitude, its just a few of the preemie moms who take a second bag and pretend they haven't received one before who piss me off a little.
I should just know they have so little so that's why they sneak a second one but it's dishonest and means someone else doesn't get. Grrrrrrrrrr!
Anyway, a quick update of what's been going on lately.
December is a busy month with many babies and plenty preemies who are transferred from other hospitals.
The neonatal ICU was very busy yesterday but they all looked great and the room has such a golden light feeling to it for a change. Sometimes it feels so dark and sad in there but not yesterday.
While we were visiting we had 2 babes born within 10 minutes of each other. The poor women were yelling and groaning, but then finally, one little girl and one big boy born with a huge head. (OUCH!)
We gave out 16 bags in total so that's pretty busy. It was the first time we have gone on a Friday as we always do Thursdays. The previous day I couldn't find one single person to go with me and felt very strongly it was a mistake to go in alone. I know this probably sounds a little freaky / Lordy to some of you, but God clearly states (in the bible) that when 2 people are together in His name, He is there. 2 are better than one and we can stand in agreement on certain things. One going in alone is too vulnerable, like a sheep wandering off to the edge of the field. Snap, snap says the wolf and chomps up the sheep.
Am I making sense? I am the sheep, the devil is the wolf and I don't want to get chomped.
Today is Saturday and we were wandering if it was worth going because of yesterday. Liz decided to go anyway with a new recruit, Renee. She had phoned ahead and we were told 4 moms but I packed 9 bags just in case.
She landed up having to come home and pack more bags it was so busy. (15 bags) They also had a stillbirth mother so fortunately could spend some time with her and give her the bag we had prepared for her. So that's 31 bags in 2 days, crazy hey! Renee had an awesome visit and wants to come again which is good for us.
The previous week we had NO bags sewn and had a really bad volunteer week. I decided I didn't want to get too hung up on the details so Liz organized strong paper gift bags and we packed those for the Saturday and Monday visit. It worked out fine and is great for a back up.
We are now packing a POOR bags which we indicate by drawing a little heart on the back of the card. In addition to the regular goods, these have cloth nappies/diapers in with nappy liners, waterproof pants & a snappi in. We also put extra clothing in those bags.
It is a little tough deciding who gets those bags but nice to give.
Our clothing supply is good at the moment and blankies too. The sewing of the bags is not great but hopefully we will continue to get funding to pay Monica to make up the shortfall. We have been very blessed lately with about R3500 coming in the last month.
Which brings me to my long overdue thank you list:
Leana & Erica plus all the moms from the breastfeeding clinic
Jenna & her husband Charlie, parents to trips William, Elizabeth & Carolyn. They sent the most awesome parcel with exquisitely made baby blankets, clothes, products & goodies for mom. All the way from California.
Judy, Molly and Tamara, the Sugarplum faeries from Plumstead who sent us a whack of babygros, cloth nappies, liners, snappis, salt, vests and everything we needed. They even put English & Xhosa instructions on the salt which just reduces me to grateful tears!
Ladies from my church who always give
Delint & her mom who gave us a Hi-Fi for our kangaroom. Vibes at last!
Colleen Gast who told me I can use the R130 I owe her for my snazzy cake plate and buy products for BB. (I won't forget!)
Irene Bourquin who collected products from her ante-natal moms
Dezi & Verna who bought 2 newborn baby clothes packs
Doreen Freeman, Leighâ€™s granny who knitted for us
Lynn Hawkinss English ladies who sent us loads of wool and knitted cardigans from the UK
Lara Kirsten from Woolies who organized us Woolies waste
Kevin & Sanet from Pick n Pay Waterstone Village for all our party food
David & Geraldine from Woolies Mall for the remaining food
Megan & Twiggy for a second lot of clothing
Tina Hovaker from Pasadena, USA who sent us a gorg parcel of cute baby girl new clothing. We all oohed & aahed over the cute US clothes!
Cozy jerseys for next year from the elderly ladies at St Francis in Simonstown.
Generous cash donation from Retha & Lourens on behalf of their boys David & Stefan. This pays Monica for 3 months, yahoooo!
Lee's step dad who donated R2000 for us, we have put R1000 in our bank account and I sent Lee & Eleni shopping with the remaining R1000 for baby things. What fun.
Liz Holmes from JHB who gave us a great big box of dummies & bottles. It has been great having so many because we out 2 dummies in each bag.
And you, whose name is not on this list. Please forgive me, I suck at the admin and have lost track of some donors. I am ever so grateful though and we cannot survive without people like yourself. Ta!
To my volunteers, thanks forever. Please don't bail on me now. I really don't want to stop for Christmas and believe these moms, if anything, need extra TLC.
We are going on Christmas day after church so let me know who wants to join.
Bring on the mince pies!
Friday, December 08, 2006
Thought I'd better send you the list of who has given to BB so that you have a record. I noticed that
you thank people on the blog.
Veronique (clothes and about R200)
Plus ..... Peter (a friend from www.asiamedicalservices.com) who drove me and my car around HK picking up all the packages
on Friday. I would never have managed it without him. Plus Max (hubby) who fully supports the project (financially as well to pay the unaccompanied luggage fee).
Some people ran out of time to either send or deliver to me as too far to pick up with such little time left - next time! But there were many who had the thought and intention too. I told one lady not to worry, that she can donate to another charity (her daughter had hurt her arm and so I did not want people to stress about getting the clothes ready etc) in HK of her choice. She replied saying she was fussy where she gave stuff too and after reading the info I sent her (which was on your blog about what you do) she decided this was the one that was going to get her stuff. So she packed all the items together - all the bibs, all the onesises etc in neat little parcels and sent a taxi to pick it up and deliver to me - she lives pretty far.
I am really touched and impressed by the generosity.
Have a super weekend!
Friday, December 01, 2006
I am not sure why but we have had loads of preemies lately. The incubators are all full and mostly doubled up. These littlies are our warriors, fighting for their very lives.
We couldn't go in today because the awesome Dr White (my paed too) was attending to them. He comes around for a few hours and teaches the young trainee doctors how to care for these small people.
One little boy was just too small to be ventilated and he was explaining that the complications of blindness and possible cerebral palsy was just too great a chance. They were monitoring him and making him as comfortable as possible. Another 3 babes were also micro preemies, poor little sausages!
The bigger babes are all tucked between their moms boobs waiting till they hit the magical 1.8kg mark so they can go home.
The kangamoms were in fairly good spirits, one of the mothers sucked the dummy in her own mouth to clean it off. I know we all do that at some stage but not quite for our preemie or newborn. It is just such a different way of life and shows you how tough babies really are.
One of the biggest frustrations of birth at state hospitals is poor obstetric care due to lack of staff, funding and just plain ignorance. Some staff do know what to do but are not supervised or trained properly. The result is many babies born with problems due to a poorly managed labour and birth. This is such a shocking waste. A child that was 100% fine is now mentally and sometimes physically challenged. A mother now has to care for this child in her straightened circumstances of poverty and poor support. In fact, some we still lose healthy infants at birth. Makes me CRAZY but nothing I can do unfortunately.
We decided yesterday to put a few cloth nappies, snappi and waterproof in some of the bags. I draw a little heart at the back of the card to indicate it's for an extra poor mother. I haven't done it before because of the snappi problem and then I get a mail from Jasmine in Hong Kong who just bought us a box with 900 snappis from China. She is coming down in December and bringing those as well as baby clothes for BB. We are VERY excited! God is good!!
I don't have my thank list with me so will do at a later point.
Last week our church had their end of year ladies do and we asked people to bring things for BB instead of our usual gift swap. Was great and we got many much needed stuff, especially products! Thanks kind ladies !!!
It was exactly a year prior that I got to share my vision of what I hoped BB would be so I did another report back of what has happened in this past year and where we are. God has been so amazing in providing exactly what we need when we need it.
He has taught me so much about giving, loving, having faith and obedience.
I led the previous Saturday's youth visit and I prayed specifically that He would let me see these ladies how he sees them. It was such a cool visit and they were all so beautiful to me. I just touched their faces and really got to bless them and love them. Today my toddler has croup and I had to get to my Doc after the visit so I was distracted a little. Each visit is a little different but each one special.
On the 12th of December we have the Christmas party for the maternity staff. They are looking very forward to it and we have got Woolies & Pick n Pay to sponsor for the snacks. We have been collecting little prezzies to pop in the bag for a while now so hope we have a good stash. They used to be a bit offish in the beginning but now that they see we are here to stay, they seem to accept and welcome us.
The charity organization that assists the hospital have never really forgiven me for stepping on the toes/hearts so they still flatly ignore me. It is a great pity as we could help each other and should be on the same side. Anyway, it seems the charity business is as political as any other.
I will update my thanks list soon, just waiting to get all the concerts and other kid stuff out the way so we can chill and enjoy the holidays.
Can't wait !
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Oops, I forgot Mel's update
Sorry about that Mel.
Sorry, I know I am a VERY bad blog updater but crazy busy.
The great thing is Bosom Buddies has grown so fast and so amazingly since our first visit in March. The bad thing is the volume of work and the lack of resources to accomplish this. We are up to 170 bags a month....... whooohoooo!!
I seriously need to make a plan. Ideally I need to pay someone a few hours a week to do all the admin. This entails record keeping, financial, keeping up to date with the thank-you's & basic marketing. Pippa I miss you hidden under all those children of yours!!(4 week old Thomas, 15 month old Emily, 5 year old Jordy)
Pippa and I are hoping that in a years time we will have sufficient funding to pay ourselves a basic salary, her 1st and then me. We will only do this when every mother receives a bag.
Pippa plans to return in about 5 months time which is good because my other va va voom volunteer Heather, is preg with twins.
Not sure what it is about Bosom Buddies but almost everyone who gets involved gets pregnant.
More than half the girls so far:
Mish with baby # 4
Alice with baby # 2
Marla with baby # 1
Heather with baby # 3 & 4
Nadine with baby # 2
(Tabisa, Pippa & Hannelie already had their babies)
Anyway, let me get to what's happening.......
LOADS of baby girls being born lately
Unfortunately also many preemies but few twins
No stillbirths for months and then 2 last week. I so hate it that they share a ward with the mothers and babies. They lie in the corner bed and face the wall. It's so painful to see them just crying and waiting to be fetched. I want to try and get some training organized for the nurses on dealing with neonatal death and how to cope best with the mother. I will need to be very subtle as they are often sensitive & defensive. They are just so overworked and underpaid and basically just fed up. We did a fair amount during our Doula training plus having lost my precious nephew Ben after 10 days, I know a little. I wouldn't do the training myself but will get a specialized counselor in to assist.
Saturday youth day is going SO well. It's is exactly what I wanted it to be and Liz, my organizer has been brilliant. Thanks so much! It's so cool when someone owns what they do and I know I can rely on them 100%. The teens are all very enthusiastic and definitely touched by their visits.
Sewing situation ever stressful but we are working on getting some funding for job creation and paying someone. It's a win-win! My friend Jen's nanny has Lupus and can no longer work. We want to get her trained up and equip her to work at home so she can have an income. She is very intelligent so I know would do great. Plus more honest than Mrs Faith Kmaliwe from Nomzamu who did a runner with 40 bags, months worth of material & cotton and my scissors I purchased for her! Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!
Thank you to the following....
(I know, I know.... you must think me very ungrateful and rude to be so slow in thanking people but I just cannot keep up with all the admin. This is actually a good thing as means we are getting in tons of stuff. Please know we are so grateful and you ARE making a difference!)
My gorg brother PAUL in London who raised 120 quid for me and is busy organizing another fundraiser in his pub so will probably raise another. With the rand being so week it means R1680!
Lynne McKenzie and the ladies at Boland Ladies Network who donated R1300 cash for us. We got to buy bags of cute blankie fabric which was on sale.
Twiggy & Megan.... 2 very special moms who have twins of 12 weeks called Hannah & Nicolas. They have being on the most incredible journey to conceive these little people and you cannot believe the gorgeous clothing they donated. 3 massive bags of almost new things, probably worn for 5 minutes by the looks of things!
Vera from SBH Cotton Mills who gave us about 400kg of fabric to make the bags.
Thanks to husband Gary who collected for me and Wayne Allen who is storing some for me.
Thanks also to Anna from Treehouse who donates her offcuts to add that cute factor to the bags
Liz to all the extras she brings.
Kate aka Dr Whites.
Dezi & Verna for the babygros
Laura (congrats on baby Oliver born last week) who donated pads and mom stuff
Americans who have sent me parcels with sweetest ever baby clothes
Gawie & Nadine who bought me 2 packs of little preemie nappies and a bunch of blankies.
Everyone at Every Nation Church in Somerset West who support us and pray for us
Leana & Erica and all the mothers at the breastfeeding clinic who leave us goodies in the pink box.
Chis, Jen's friend from swimming for the clothes & blankets.
Sam & Wilna and all at Garden Court Hotel for all the linen, pillows and towels. You knocked my socks off with the huge quantity you donated to myself and Thembacare.
Carice & Andre for a second huge lot of gorgeous clothing
Warren at Dischem again for various goods for both mom and baby
Jeanine's mom for the blankets
Angus Mattee at Woolworths for the big box of baby & children clothing for BB and Thembacare Athlone
My card makers, bakers, sewing ladies, hospital volunteers and especially Colette, Mish, Heather, Pippa & Jeanine. What would I do without you gals??!
And now I'm off to run around fetching things, packing bags, thanking people and then tomorrow my delicious morning of holding fresh new babies and kissing little heads full of springy curly hair. Yum!
Monday, November 06, 2006
Bosom Buddies latest
letter mailed out to my church members who help me enormously and keep us going!
Bosom Buddies Latest....
Hi everyone. Thanks so much to all of you who help, each contribution both big and small, keeps us going.
We are now going 3 days a week and delivering an average of 180 bags. If you feel left out and also want to be part of the BB action, we have a few vacancies left....
The Saturday youth day has been awesome so far. We have 1 adult team leader with 3 or 4 teen girls who visit each Saturday. The girls have been both overwhelmed and touched by the previous 2 visits with Liz. This is a stunning mom-daughter opportunity so maybe one Saturday a month you join the girls?
Monday & Thursday Visits
We still need more people on for each day. You do not have to attend each week but can do alternate weeks or even once a month. Nadine is going on Mat leave and Thursdays are busy so join us pls!
Mondays: one extra person
Thursdays: 2 extra people
Join the ranks of Jean, Jeanine (Shofar Church) Rosaline, Lorraine, Heather, Marla, Colleen, Virginia, Gina and Yolandie. We are looking for a certain quantity per month from each person. The number doesn't matter, you sew as much as you have time for. (We are looking for commitment though as planning has become essential and I need to work on a set monthly number.) Find a partner and do it together so one can cut and iron, and the other sews. Yak, yak, yak…..much more fun and efficient too! You do not have to fund anything as I supply all the fabric, if you have fleece or blankie fabric, then that helps but not a major.
Blankets: Another 2 people are required. (Must have over-locker)
Bags: Always need more people!
Each bag has a little yum treat inside. Thanks to Kim, Michelle Beckett, Phillipa & Carmen who bake every 2nd week for BB.
Alternate Saturdays (bake 20 lots of suitable items such as 4 biscuits or crunchies, or a muffin in each pkt.)
We look after the kanga moms who have to stay at the hospital till their babes have reached 1.8kgs. This sometimes takes 2 months. It’s long and boring and they are easily discouraged.
We leave them tea, coffee, sugar, milk and bread. They have asked for peanut butter & jam which I did buy this week. They also asked for washing powder and pegs which we supply from time to time. We cannot afford to keep the food shopping up so we are hoping for people who will purchase what they need once a month. If I get 2 people a month, supplies will be sufficient. (the team leaders supply the bread each visit)
The shopping will be +- R130 a month so if that is too steep then every second month would be amazing for BB. That’s only 4 people a month!
Tin Coffee +- R25
100 pack teabags +- R10
6 pack carton milk +- R 35
Tin jam +- R10
Peanut butter +- R18
5 kg Packet sugar +- R28
Our weekly cost is R160 as I have a contact and purchase them for R7 a packet.
They come in bulk packets of 12, 12 in each individual pack for R84.
If you would like to sponsor a bulk pack, you would be helping us out enormously! First choice is of course product sponsorship of reject or package damaged stock . So far no luck in approaching companies so if you have a contact, then share away!
Bulk pack sponsorship @ R84 a month
Most important of all! Please pray for Bosom Buddies on a regular basis, especially 9.00 to 10.00am on the visit days.
Please also pray for protection for myself and the team. My two year old Sofia (my youngest and adored baby) has been in hospital 5 times this year with various ailments & had 2 operations. (thanks to all of you who prayed for her yesterday) She is actually not a sickly child and this is just not acceptable! Am beginning to feel like a dodgy mom!
Saturdays Liz 6378337
Thursdays Mel 8522004 or 0829239038
Baking & Sewing Mel
Financial Sponsorship Bosom Buddies
Somerset Mall 114145
Acc #: 1141018144
(use your name as reference so we can thank you!)
Pads Can be purchased from supplier directly who delivers to my home or you can pay into our bank account by debit order
Bronwyn Holmes from Mother’s Choice 8554936 or 0824974584
Thanks to all of our loyal donors who always bring goods for BB to church every Sunday. If I am not there then you can give to Colette Breedt or Michelle Farrer.
Mail me: email@example.com
Love in Him, Mel
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Liz's Saturday Report Back
Saturday 21st October was our first Saturday venture to the hospital. Yay - God is good! The 2 young girls from our church greeted me with great enthusiasm (it was their first visit). Once through the hiccup with the security guard at the entrance (he didn't want to let us in initially), we walked excitedly, perhaps somewhat apprehensively, down the passage towards the maternity section, laden with beautifully, lovingly sewn bags.
We took 15 bags with us and left with only one! Praise the Lord! All the mums were new (except for the ones in the kanga room) and there were a lot in labour. They all received us well and were visibly touched with the gift and the prayer. It's amazing to see the newborns, so beautiful and so precious, so loved. Some with lots of hair, some without, some with straight hair, some with curly hair – it's gorgeous! We had a lady with us who is pregnant for the first time and she mentioned afterwards how emotional it was for her. To see the mum with new babe, only hours old, and, seeing the mothers in labour and the pain and discomfort in their eyes etc. To think that she'll be in that same situation in a few months made her think and get a different perspective!
We stood at the doorway of the ICU ward to pray and didn't go to each individual incubator as we didn't want to get in the way of the nurses. The sight of the tiny precious babies seemed a little too overwhelming for one of the girls who burst into tears and was consoled by their youth leader.
So, all in all, it was a wonderful visit! I left the hospital feeling great! It's hard to put into words just how I felt but it was a 'God' feeling! Just so elated at God's amazingness (is there such a word?!!!), so aware of His presence and goodness and provision. I prayed a lot before this visit, mostly in the spirit, because I wasn't really sure what to ask God for and you know; God is so faithful. Even though I had no idea what, specifically, to pray for (other than the norm for the mums and babies etc), He met me in the midst of that. It reminded me of: 'If we show ourselves faithful, God shows Himself faithful.' I bumped into a friend of mine about half an hour after I left the hospital and she said to me 'you look lovely this morning, you're glowing!' My answer was, 'it must be God - I've just had an amazing time at the hospital!'
It's such a privilege to be part of this awesome ministry! Mel, you are a courageous, brave, obedient woman of God. As we stand with you, faithfully, that ALL the Bosom Buddies needs will be met, God will meet us there.