“Those were the days, my friend…”
None of us can escape the inexorable march of time.
And none are more acutely aware of this truism than those in their twilight years who are forced to acknowledge their own mortality as once sparkling eyes grow dim and strong shoulders start to hunch over.
What should be a time of gentle care in the company of loved ones, cosy nights with family and slow walks down memory lane is, sadly, not the case for some of our elderly.
The Sad Truth
Dorothy* is 98. She has lived longer than she had expected to, and her pension has dried up. Her family brought her to Mothwa Haven to provide a safe space for her to live, enjoy the company of others, and have access to medical care when needed.
Then, they left the country.
They simply packed up, and left!
Dorothy has not heard from her family in over two years. She is completely alone. She has no money and no support. And her heart is broken. How will she live now that her financial safety net has evaporated?
We’d like you to consider for a minute what you would do as the administrator of an assisted care facility with spiralling costs, dwindling pension contributions, and several desperate older women in your care – just like Dorothy.
How would you handle this dreadful situation?
Granted, not everyone in the capable hands of Mothwa Haven is in the same situation as Dorothy.
But the fact remains, here is a building full of fragile men and women with limited means, and the dedicated staff are doing their very best to create a warm, comfortable, and safe environment for these ones.
Against all odds.
Kas, Manager of Mothwa Haven, spent some time with the Kaomi Charity Team and updated us on their current situation.
We listened in disbelief as she detailed the challenges resulting from previous mismanagement that she was trying to sort out. But, we also learned of some amazing initiatives that have helped her team pull together and put the facility on a better path.
She explained how grateful they are for the recent contributions in the form of comfortable living room sofas, garden furniture, plants, benches, and similar items that help to turn a drab inner-city building into a beautiful welcoming space.
However, their income is insufficient to cover their monthly costs, especially considering that there are individuals who don’t contribute in any way to their care. They simply can’t.
We sat on a bench unpacking the situation at Mothwa on a typically humid Durban day. While we spoke, an undertaker’s van reversed up to the rear of the building. When we left a few minutes later, the van was gone.
How Can We Help?
When faced with such a challenge, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed. Our small team is in no way equipped to deal with such major financial and emotional burdens, and we left the haven wondering how we can make any difference at all to these wonderful ladies.
We asked Kas how we could help. What can we do? What do they need the most?
“Any contribution, no matter how small, is welcome! And it needn’t be financial at all. In fact, we prefer that it not be.”
Contributions can take the form of::
- Cleaning products
- Towels & linen
- Potting soil
- Pots and other small gardening tools
- Outdoor furniture
- Wood (wooden doors)
- Kas has informed us that they have recently received a very kind donation of some doors for one of the floors. However, doors and hardware on the remaining floors will need to be replaced soon.
- Dining room tables and chairs
- Jojo tanks
Are there any items on this list that you can assist with?
Any of these items will help – in a small way – to make this home friendlier and more homely. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
The Kaomi Project
Our team have made the decision to tackle the dining room area and turn it into a more comfortable space. We are looking to upgrade the decor with a fresh coat of paint or wallpaper, some pictures, plants and other items.
Additionally, we want to replace the plastic chairs and tables with softer, warmer furniture to make this room inviting; a place to linger over dinner and enjoy good conversation.
As much as we want to, we can’t fix everything, but we can create a small piece of happiness in this beleaguered space.
Will you help us?
*Some names have been changed