STORIES FROM THE COMMUNITIES
“The Topsy staff were so kind in picking me up from the house with their transport and they also introduced us to the vegetable garden which we now survive from. What I can say about Topsy is that it is my guiding angel sent by God. They must never stop helping the poor and the sick people. God will continue to bless them.”
Moses used to live in Johannesburg. He was hospitalised three times without any improvement. While he was still in hospital, his sister came to visit him and was told that he has passed away, only to find out that it was the negligence of the nurse who was too lazy to check the files.
The family decided to bring him back to Siyathemba and took him to Dr Lindeque, which is where they found out about Topsy and its services. During that time he was unable to walk or stand on his own. He was bedridden and he was always praying to God to take his life soon, because he was the breadwinner at home. He also saw how they struggled to bury his two sisters who died from AIDS.
“I’m Martha and I’m 37 years old. I stayed in Johannesburg when I became sick. Not knowing what was going on with me, I ended up in hospital. They didn’t tell me what was wrong, they just continued to give me medication.
My mother called and said I must return home. When I arrived home I was very sick, I couldn’t walk or eat and I was coughing a lot. My mother told me about Topsy and I told her that I didn’t have money any more because I used too much money for doctors already but I was still sick. Then my mother told me that at Topsy I won’t pay anything and they will come and pick me up. I asked my mother how she knows about Topsy and she said she heard people praising and saying positive things about Topsy.
She called one of the Topsy fieldworkers and she sent the sister to visit me. The nurse came and asked how she can help me. I told her I was sick and I explained the entire situation to her. She was very patient with me. After talking to her, she asked me whether I want to test for HIV. I replied with a big yes because it was high time I knew what was wrong with me. She tested me and my results were positive.
After that she continued supporting me. I was not worried about my results because she prepared me first. so it was easy for me to accept it. She told me that they would come and pick me up so that I could go to the Topsy Clinic. When I arrived at Topsy I was so surprised, because these days people are not so patient and supportive for sick people – but at Topsy I found it was different.
They sent me to the social worker, who made me realise that there is life after HIV/AIDS. I started at Topsy in June 2008, my CD4 count was 12. I went back again to the social worker for readiness counseling for ARV and started them in July 2008. Ever since I started ARV I feel better, I started walking on my own and my appetite came back. I gained weight and I hope I will get even better than this because I have seen people at Topsy and you cannot believe that they are HIV-positive, as they are strong and healthy and live their life to the full. I have a strong belief that one day, I will be better than I am now. Thanks to Topsy and the God Lord for giving me another chance in life… Topsy I salute you!”
Regina is a grandmother of two children of which one is a patient here at Topsy. The children’s mother passed away 3 months ago. They are extremely poor and it is so cold in their house.
I want to share something very remarkable which I have never seen before. Regina is 70 years old and disabled. She walks with great difficulty and the only way she can get around is with two old crutches. It looks as if she might have had polio when she was young. You must see this lady take care of these two orphans. When she does their washing she fills a bucket of water, puts it on her head and starts walking with this very heavy load and disabled legs with two wooden crutches from her house to work outside on the grass.
It seems effortless, as she does it perfectly, but can you imagine the weight and burden for this old gogo just to do a normal daily task. And she is always so thankful and an example to so many people. She loves her two grandchildren so much and taking care of them in her simple but special way.
I choose to learn and try to be someone better than I was the day before since Topsy entered my life. I thank God for it.
P.S I monitored the cart’s condition over a few months and after having done 28km and approximately 210 trips (20 litre cans were carried) a total of 4,200 litres of water were carried per month. This is excluding the little bundles of wood it also carried. It has made such a great difference and still in perfect condition.
HOD: Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Project and Vegetable Gardening