33 year-old Thandekile is an intelligent, well-spoken young lady with a bright future and a second chance at life. Looking at her beautiful face, you would never guess the pain and grief she has endured over the past ten months and how, were it not for the help of her close friend, Londiwe, she may not be with us today.
Having completed her studies in beauty therapy back in 2011, Thandekile was enjoying her job at a Durban-based spa where she was earning good money. Her passion and skill for her chosen career, coupled with her open and friendly manner made her popular with the spa’s clients. “I can do it all,” says an obviously proud, Thandekile “facials, gel nails, pedicures and massage – I love seeing my clients relaxed and happy.”
But in March 2018, Thandekile’s life was turned upside down when her mother passed away and she was left all alone in their house in Verulum. Not long after this, Thandekile herself started to get sick to the point that she was struggling to get out of bed every day and go to the job she loved so much. “I started losing a lot of weight and had no energy.” says Thandekile.
After a trip to her local hospital, Thandekile was put onto treatment for TB and also had a HIV test which came back positive. Sick, all alone and very scared, Thandekile describes that time as a very dark and difficult period, “The medicine made me sick. I was vomiting a lot, too weak to walk and felt like I was losing my mind.”
Thankfully Thandelike’s friend, Londiwe, had seen something on Facebook about HACT’s 24-bed Respite Unit and not knowing what else to do, she called the Unit. Thandelike was admitted and not long after that, initiated onto ARV treatment.
Two months later and Thandekile is well on the road to recovery. She has regained weight as well as her strength and with the help of HACT’s nursing staff is even able to walk again. Thandekile says the Unit is not quite what she initially expected as she was under the impression she was going to a hospital. “But this place is not like that,” she says “there’s doctors and nurses, but otherwise it’s much more like a home where you can feel comfortable.” Speaking of HACT’s nursing and care staff, Thandekile says they are just the best and have been like mothers to her. “They do everything for us without any complaining and they even pray for us too!”
Thandekile is almost ready to be discharged, something she is looking forward to, especially getting back to work. “The nurses have prepared me well,” she says “they have explained everything to me and I know I must continue with the ARVs if I want to stay healthy. I am grateful to all of them. They have good hearts and like me, they really love their job!”