What a beautiful place to sit and reflect today…
I am writing this blog on the banks of the Orange River in Uppington…
The picture above is real and just taken by me…
The sun is glorious this morning…… the water cascades over the rocks below….and the air is filled with the familiar sound of the turtledoves nesting nearby….
Another awe – inspiring day in Africa !
This has been a frenetic week….
I have been extremely privileged to be able to join the PINK DRIVE team on the outreach journey in the Northern Cape….
Just some background….
PINK DRIVE is a public benefit organization that promotes
cancer awareness and provides screening services for cervical, breast and prostatic cancer.
The services are mainly focused on women and men who have very little access to health care for 2 big reasons:
Either they can’t afford it or geographically they are in such remote areas that these services are not available to them. In most instances both reasons co-exist.
Entirely funded by large corporates and organized fund raising initiatives, Pink Drive manages to fill the gaps in our health system. (And we know that these are more like craters!!)
They have a fleet of educational vehicles and Pink trucks equipped with the state of the art mammogram facilities and gynaecology examination rooms. Together with employed staff and volunteers , they take their much needed services to women around the country. In their short five years of existence, they have managed to perform 5000 free mammograms, done over 60 000 clinical breast examinations, educated over 90 000 people and distributed over 100 000 bits of educational material. For more, see their website on www.pinkdrive.co.za
I have had the most amazing week….
I laughed…with the women who came to us…. When despite waiting in the blazing sun for their pap smears and mammograms they still managed to joke around and find something to smile about…we laughed at the hot flushes some of them were having because of menopause …and
in an educational discussion when each realized they were not the only ones dealing with this, there was a feeling of “I can do this because she can too”.
It is beautiful to observe how women strengthen each other.
I was outraged….. at how government officials showed up and told the people in the queues how this was “service delivery in action.”
Knowing full well that government provided no funding to this initiative…
I then calmed down as the week progressed….
I came to appreciate all the “behind the scenes” work that was necessary by the CEO and her team to make this project happen…
They very skillfully navigated their way through a “minefield” and managed to create and nurture relationships and partnerships between government, corporates and the ordinary person in the street.
I came to see how we all need to be included and work together in our country (despite what we may think of each other) ….
And I saw first hand that when we do this….
I was reminded…..how beautiful and diverse our country is….
We drove through kilometer after kilometer of fantastic roads(yes we were still in South Africa)
Through landscapes that changed so much….
Through dessert sand dunes littered with date palms …
Through vineyards (a variety of grapes are grown in the Northern Cape that are specially cultivated for French Champagne)
We travelled through the lush areas around the Orange river…
Passed the Black Mountains that are so rich in Zinc…..
For many kilometers….not a soul in sight…
My heart exploded with gratitude…..
As each day I realized how many blessings we all have in our lives…even when we think we have so little…
How much love surrounds us…
How much we all have to give… even if it is just a smile…
How selfless acts by amazing people can change so many lives ….
The tragedy is that we are so busy with the business of “survival “ that we are blinded…
Its time we learnt to see again !!