Susan’s Blog: Elder Care

I can’t let yesterday, Feb. 11th, pass without commenting on the celebrations here in South Africa. On this day twenty years ago Nelson Mandela was released from almost thirty years of political imprisonment, and eventually led the country to democracy four years later with a message of forgiveness, reconciliation and national unity. This man is my hero. To me he embodies the definition of a saint. So sad that the current government has lost sight of his vision. If you haven’t read his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, I recommend it.

The Mission House slated for renovation

There’s a little mission house next to St. Augustine church which Ginny has earmarked for an elder care facility in the future. ‘Assisted’ and ‘complex care’ senior homes such as we have in Canada are not part of the African culture, since the adult children have always cared for their elderly parents. However, with so many of that middle generation dying, there are now elderly gogos left without caregivers. A sister group of ours in Kelowna, ‘Gifts to Grandmothers’, has pledged to help with renovations and has already forwarded a sizeable donation!

The house currently stores all of Sitabogogo's 'stuff', including these personalized craft boxes.

The house looks inauspicious from the outside, but I was pleasantly surprised when I went in. There’s a lounging/eating area, four good sized bedrooms that will each accommodate two single beds, a small but adequate kitchen and tiny bathroom. Ginny says the electrics need to be redone, the kitchen re-outfitted, and the bathroom completely redone. A friend of mine who’s a draftswoman, Maria Marais, came to have a look and is willing to offer planning advice and resources. Another project underway 🙂

The gogos had a singing practice in the church today for a very special event happening tomorrow – more on that in my next blog.


2 thoughts on “Susan’s Blog: Elder Care

  1. Susan, I know that you feel a quiet glow to know that the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release topped the news on CBC radio most of yesterday. I, too, believe that Nelson Mandela is the greatest man alive today. What a different world we would enjoy if we were to celebrate his ideals every day. It was auspicious that Grannies a Gogo’s monthly meeting fell on February 11. We may want to mark this day in a different way on behalf of the gogos in future years. Thank you for your ever interesting blogs. Love, Anne

  2. Hi Susan,

    Mom & I watched the CBC news on TV re: Nelson Mandela; how amazing to be in Africa at the time! I was so amazed to read about the beginnings of an elder care facility; from such humble beginnings, did you ever imagine Grannies a Gogo would build – and I’m sure continue to build to make such an incredible difference in so many people’s lives!?! You’re treading in the footsteps of Mandela himself – one person + one person more really can make a difference!

    Much love,

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