I'm at the end of my first week in Hawston! Let me start recapping the week by making you super jealous. This is the view from my back yard:
I took that photo the first night. The sunset was incredible! Unfortunately, the color comes from the big storm clouds that were rolling in. It rained most of the weekend, and I admit that I was rather cold for my first few nights in my new home. But it has been much warmer this week, and I haven't needed to turn on my heater most nights, but I'm super glad I purchased it. It helps warm up the house on nights when it is cold.
Here are some more pictures:
Again, taken from my backyard. You can't tell because of the light, but I can see the ocean!
My house, as viewed from my back yard. As I mentioned, it used to be a children's home, so there is a swing set. On Monday night, the two little girls who live next door came into my yard to play on the swing. They didn't speak any English, and I don't know enough Afrikaans to communicate beyond the most basic introductions. But they were obviously enjoying themselves. After a while, three more little girls from across the street joined them, and I was suddenly the host of a spontaneous party.
The front of my house. It says 'St. Andrew's House of Hope' on the side. That was the name of the children's home.
My living room. All of the furniture and decorations were there before I moved in.
Part of my kitchen
My bathroom. That's basically the tour of my house!
Now for some pictures of Hermanus. Hermanus is the resort town that is about 9 miles down the road from me. It is full of beautiful views, lovely cafes, and lots of shops.
I took this from above the Old Harbour in Hermanus. You're looking East across Walker Bay, where the whales live.
A rainbow my first day! It's a sign that this year is going to turn out right :)
A rather blurry photo of a penguin
The unidentified furry creatures have a name! They are rock hyrax in English, but I prefer the Afrikaans name, which is dassie. Thanks, Malan, for enlightening me!
Here is the only photo of a whale that I have been able to get. As I said before, the real ones aren't so easy to photograph. They live underwater. (Side note: It can be hard to indicate sarcasm in a blog, because you can't hear the tone of my voice. But just FYI, that comment was sarcastic.)
So, there you have it. Some exciting photos. Now I will catch you up on my first week of work in the clinic. Hawston Hospice's real name is the Overstrand Care Centre, but most of the people in the area know it as Hawston Hospice. It is really more of a rehabilitation facility that a hospice. Some patients are terminal, but many are not. Patients are admitted for a variety of reasons. Some are coming from the hospital, and are not quite ready for care at home, so we take care of them until they are stable enough to be cared for by their family members. Others are usually cared for at home, but come to the centre if a certain issure flairs up, or if the family needs a respite from care. There are usually 8 patients in the clinic. The patients are cared for by 'carers', who are trained but unlicensed nursing personnel. Their closest US equivalent would be a CNA. The carers are assisted by a few aids who help with food preparation and serving, exercises under the direction of a physical and occupational therapist, and whatever other tasks the carers ask of them. The carers are overseen by Martin, who is a nurse from Zimbabwe. Martin takes a supervisory role, and he trains the carers on ways to improve their practice. I have spent this past week learning from Martin. The hope is that, once I get up to speed on the routine of the centre, I will be able to work with Martin to improve the nursing processes of the clinic and to take some of the work off his shoulders. He is a very busy man.
The centre also serves as the central location for home-based care. The home based carers are just like the carers who work with our inpatients, except they visit patients in their homes. They might be overseeing medication, helping patients with their activities of daily living, or simply checking on their status. We also have a social worker at the clinic who runs programs for at-risk youth and for seniors in Hawston. I will be joining the home-based care team and the social work team in November.
As you can see, work has kept me pretty busy this week. I don't have a lot of plans for the weekend. I'm going to relax and enjoy my free time before another busy week, do some chores and errands, and exercise. I found a group called the Hermanus Whalers that do Saturday long runs, as well as group runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I confess that I'm a little out of shape right now. I didn't really run all that much over the summer, and I'm not really training for anything specific, but I think I am going to join the Whalers for their long run tomorrow. It is 20k, but I am thinking I will just quit a bit early. I have some errands to run in Hermanus tomorrow anyway, so I might as well join in a run as well. On Sunday I will go to the Anglican Church that is right by my house.
Now that you're all updated on my life here in Hawston, it seems unfair that I don't know much about what is happening at home, other than what I hear from Jacob. So please, leave me a comment or send me an email! I'd love to hear from my friends and family, and I could use your moral support as I work on making friends in my new town.
That's all I have for now. Totsiens!