Sorry for the lag in adding blog info. It seems the only internet connections we were able to establish on many days was while in a van on bumpy roads. What a THRILL!!
I continue to be in awe of the many colleagues, friends and just plain people I come into contact with in S. Africa. What a “HARDY and RESILIENT BUNCH”!فف
When considering that S. Africa has about as many speech and hearing specialists to serve their county as the State of Texas has Audiologists to serve within the state, I have to shake my head. How can one person cover multiple hospitals and schools in a part of a province?ف Brent Archer is a speech and hearing therapist who graduated from University of Witwatersrand just a few years ago, much like many of his peers he has to cover the speech and hearing difficulties of clientele in part of the Free State Province in multiple hospitals, public schools and private preschools. We worked alongside Brent by dispensing hearing aids in an “Old Folks Home” and then conducting preschool screenings in the first phase of our program.ف He not only has too many people to serve, but he remains under resourced.ف About 80 of his clients have been waiting 18 – 24 months for their hearing aids.ف No one seems to know why, and no amount of asking seems to unearth they mystery. Brent has such a passion for his patients that when we presented him with 40 hearing aids and batteries and various other audiology supplies he was genuinely excited for his patients.
Tambo and Nellie grew up and still live in Soweto.ف Their passion is to reduce the drop-out rate that has been on a steady upward climb in Soweto.ف Though they are both young, there is a drive and love for those adolescents who have a limitless potential who happened to have a misfortune of being born in Soweto.ف Tambo and Nellie want the youth of Soweto and South Africa to succeed.ف They accompanied our large group of volunteers in phase 2 of the program in Hazyview/Xanthia Clinic. Not only did they act as translators for us, but they held a number of meetings with the local youth so that they would be encouraged and strive for success and eventual employment.ف Now as a result of our interactions, they are excited to relate the hearing and speech problems to failure to succeed in school.
Clearly a visionary, Dirk Koekemoer, left his practice as a medical doctor in S. Africa so that he could follow his passion of ensuring that ALL S. Africans have the right to hear.ف He is the creator of the KuduWave, which is a unique audiometer that is more portable and sophisticated than any other I’ve ever seen.ه What makes the audiometer even more remarkable is that with a simple internet connection, anyone can test a patient who may be in any rural part of S. Africa where there is a health clinic and they can be tested remotely by an audiologist anywhere in the world (through TeleAudiology).ه Dirk was adamant that patients should not be denied access to audiology services, so he continues pushing forward on an incredibly challenging project.
As we are nearing the end of this year’s mission, there are a number of remarkable people on both sides of the pond.ه Oticon USA and Oticon S Africa as well as AAA-F for helping to raise awareness of the need for humanitarian projects worldwide.ه
This IS Africa – comprised of such unique people who have an unsurpassed love for their country.