"The Samaritan Care Centre aims to provide holistic care to persons living with life threatening illnesses."
2007 at the Samaritan Care Centre (SCC) has been a year of transition. After much debate and discussion in 2006 it was finally settled that the centre would move from the Pefferville location to the Khanya Centre in Buffalo Flats. After nearly a year of renovations, the SCC moved into the new centre on Dunoon Road, Buffalo Flats on 25 June, 2007. The grand opening of the building was held on 28 October, 2007.
The centre moved from a small, somewhat dilapidated building in Pefferville to a wonderful, sparkling, spacious home in Buffalo Flats. It was, however, a long journey. There were months with no finances for the Pefferville location nor for the new location. There were uphill battles to actually obtain the new building legally, but thanks to SCC lawyer, Enzo, and to a friend of SCC, Greg, those battles were overcome. There were many who worked endless hours and donated their time and energy to make the final renovations possible to move in: local churches, individuals, local schools, businesses made donations both of labor and materials, community members and overseas partners. SCC founders, Mike DuPlessis and Craig Peffer, put in many hours of labor and stress in making this move possible as well. The Board of Directors, new CEO and Management Board also put in their part in making this transition a success. Without the commitment of volunteers, none of this ministry would be possible. Some volunteers have moved on to other forms of employment but others remained through the move. And in the new location, new volunteers are onboard from the local community. Most importantly, patients have continued to receive quality care since the centre's conception in 2003.
There is currently space for 15 inpatient beds for those who need more intense, one-on-one care. A women's unit and a men's unit are located on either side of the building. There is a central living area, reception, kitchen, nursing bay, both patient and staff bathrooms with toilets and showers, a pantry, laundry, and an office. Outside is a lovely flower garden in front of the building, two vegetable tunnels that are currently growing spinach, outside vegetable gardens, clothes lines for drying of linens and clothes, and a parking area. The entire premises are fenced in with a secure gate. There remains plenty of space in the yard to grow the buildings and the ministries.
SCC also provides home based care to approximately 90-100 patients. Patients are primarily HIV positive and in need of support such as assistance with clinic/hospital visits, bathing, cleaning, shopping, medication monitoring and the like. The volunteer staff has been trained to provide home-based care to outpatients. There are currently 25 volunteers that perform a number of duties that include: home based care, inpatient care, cleaning, washing, cooking, ironing, office administration,
and gardening. There have been many times through the years that staff has received no remuneration for their work but they continue to provide the much needed care required by the patients. Several very generous international funders have provided stipends the last two years or so, and this has provided much hope for volunteers to continue their ministry. SCC currently receives a very small stipend from a partner organization to allow each volunteer to receive R240 ($37) per month. The volunteer staff members are all committed, compassionate, and faithful people who give so freely of their time, talents, and lives.
Patients at SCC are suffering with some form of terminal illness. Ninety eight percent of patients are HIV positive. The current situation with HIV/AIDS is difficult. Tuberculosis is another disease that is causing much pain and suffering, especially to those already diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The clinics and public hospitals are overwhelmed at the moment, and the quality of care is poor. However, with the roll out of ARVs (anti-retroviral medications), the quality of life has improved for those who have accessed these medications. Samaritan Care Centre continues to work with what is available. A part-time nurse is helping provide care currently and has been a tremendous asset. The hope is to eventually employ a full-time nurse and have a doctor on board to volunteer his/her services for inpatients as well as outpatients. Transportation also continues to be a challenge with dependence on public transportation or volunteers from the management board to assist in clinic/hospital appointments and home visits.
One exciting transition has been the development of a partnership with a small orphanage, The Ncedanani Life Care Centre, run by a grandmother who is taking care of 25+ children in her home/shack. Some of these children are HIV positive as well. Samaritan Care Centre is working with her to coordinate better care, facilities, education, and health for the children in her care. SCC is not prepared, at this point, to take children into the inpatient unit, but has long-term goals to do just that.
In the year ahead, the hope is to completely finish all the renovations to the building to make it the best care centre to provide the highest quality of care to the patients. Dreams for expanded services to include:
- A facility for AIDS orphans
- After school study centre for school children
- A daycare facility
- Doctor's office
- Office for the Department of Health and Labor to assist community members in obtaining grants and other needed services
The Samaritan Care Centre wants to be a beacon of light, hope and care for all those who visit now and in the years to come!
Prepared by: Office of Resource Development
P.O. Box 1986
Indianapolis, IN 46206
Tel: (317) 713-2555
Fax: (317) 635-4323