Eileen Greene began taking nursing students to the Katatura Hospital in Windhoek, Namibia many years ago. Every year she returns with her nursing students to this hospital which struggles to provide even the most basic health care to this impoverished township. Since Eileen founded the Home of Good Hope, all international nurses visiting the Katatura Hospital and the school of nursing at the University of Namibia at Windhoek are required to visit THOGH to contribute their skills to the children.
From A Memorandum Issued By The University Of Namibia:
International nurses from different parts of the world come on a regular basis to the Nursing Unit at Katatura Hospital for education in clinical electives. During this endeavour, they are exposed to The Home of Good Hope to embark on a trans-cultural encounter and to render preventative health care in terms of basic physical and psychological care. Children are taken to public parks on occasion to expose them to the ‘outside world’. Singing and dancing form a big part of their daily activities. The nurses also give hand in educational activities in the absence of a formal teacher.
Camosun College Students
Eileen Greene, RN. M.Ed.
My first encounter with the orphan children of Africa came when, as a nursing teacher I accompanied eight students to Namibia, We were challenged as we worked in an eight story city hospital which had no hot running water, washcloths, towels or other amenities. It was the people that we cared for that captured our hearts. They were warm and inviting and even though they had few material goods their sense of community and generosity of spirit were palpable.
In Namibia the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been tumbling out of control. At the present time, one-fifth of the population is infected. The impact upon the people of Namibia is devastating. With so many obstacles to overcome, combating this epidemic can appear to be an impossible task.
The Government of Namibia, for a nominal cost, does provide families with access to anti-retroviral medications. These medicines must be taken with food. It was this imperative need for food that led me to the start of a soup kitchen. The “Home of Good Hope” was established to feed, educate, support and counsel the residents of Katatura, a township located on the outskirts of Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia.
Katatura is a black community living in severe poverty. The people live in shantytown homes with few of the amenities that we take for granted. There is no running water, no electricity and no toilets. As well as living with hunger, the residents of this area face the major health challenges of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Monica Imanga, runs the “Home of Good Hope” soup kitchen as a tribute to her beautiful sixteen year old daughter Maria, who died of AIDS. It was Maria that inspired me to start the soup kitchen. I cared for her as she struggled to live and will never forget the fear in her beautiful brown eyes. I tasted that fear with her and felt I could not stand by and let this devastation continue. For Monica, her work with the soup kitchen is building a legacy in Maria’s memory. With over 167 orphans to feed, she needs our help.
The kitchen can feed a child for 15 dollars/month and an infant for 17 dollars/month. This provides a diet of vegetables, fish, porridge, bread, soup and vetkoek. As breastfed babies have a 30-40% risk of contracting HIV, the provision of formula is of paramount importance.
The University of Namibia Nursing Department is sending both their own students and International students to be involved in this initiative. Their International Department is providing accounting support to Monica.
Camosun College Nursing students worked at the soup kitchen. Josh stated, “As part of my nursing practicum experience I had the opportunity to travel to Namibia and assist in Monica’s soup kitchen. What I saw there was enough to touch anyone’s heart. These vibrant and laughing children endure hardships unimaginable to most of us and belong to a population underserved and overlooked. Any assistance directed toward the soup kitchen program has a direct and meaningful impact, and to see these children in person makes one want to help in any way possible.”
This project is in keeping with both the views of the Canadian Nurses Association and the World Health Association thereby making it an invaluable experience for students.
The Canadian Nurses Association believes that nurses and the nursing profession in Canada must contribute to the advancement of global health and equity. One way this goal can be achieved is by establishing partnerships around the world notably in developing countries. CNA Position Statement 2005
The 2008 World Health Organization report is “concerned with individual health security, concentrating the role of primary health care and humanitarian action in providing access to essential prerequisites for health”.