It was exactly a year ago when we sent out a newsletter to all of you announcing that I would be taking over the reins as director. My journey as the director has been immensely enjoyable and fulfilling, but it has also been very tough. I’ve had to balance my work life with family life and this has placed pressure on my health – I was sick for most of May with a horrendous chest infection. The journey so far has left me wondering how I enhance my resilience and maintain my wellbeing moving forward.
One of the ways in which I am enhancing my wellbeing is learning to pace myself. Climbing mountains has taught me to go at a pace that is comfortable for me and for those I am walking with. After a year post the changing of directorial hands, everyone at Mamelani says that they are enjoying the pace at which we are forging ahead. Although throughout this transition we’ve maintained a steady pace forward, the winter cold is here, and I would like us to find ways to do better at balancing our work and health.
In this newsletter, I want to reflect on Mamelani’s attempts at nurturing wellbeing and building resilience inside the organisation and for those we are privileged to serve.
The immune-boosting G-shot
The famous Australian cricketer, Ricky Ponting, once said that as a leader you have to first and foremost put runs on the board. I have been thinking about my leadership and the ways in which I can remain healthy so I can continue putting runs on the board. My wanting to stay healthy inspired me to create an immune-boosting concoction that I believe will hit any virus for a 6! I’ve called it the G-shot. Here it is: 1 finely grated garlic glove, some ginger, 1 whole lemon (squeezed), 1 tablespoon of honey, a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a touch of cinnamon, mixed in a half a glass of warm water. Try it out and please let me know! I hope that this G-shot, even though it does not taste nice, will be part of a match-winning performance this winter!
Welcoming eight new grandmothers
We are very excited to welcome eight new gogos into our Grandmothers Network, bringing our total number to 16. We want to acknowledge their role and wisdom in taking care of our communities. Over the next year, they will get to learn from each other, build supportive relationships, establish household and community gardens, and gain vital information about community health and wellbeing. As part of hypertension month in May, we invited some of these grandmothers and our community champions to a workshop facilitated by Beauty from the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Everyone, including Mamelani staff, had their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked. Beauty reminded us of the importance of regular exercise and a balanced diet in reducing our risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.
Caring for Child and Youth Care workers
As part of the International Child and Youth Care worker week, I had the honour of co-facilitating a learning process with 50 Child and Youth Care workers. The process was titled: Nation building in the “hear” and now – taking care of our ourselves, our colleagues and the children and youth we work with.We explored three questions with them: 1. How are you? (self) 2. How are we? (as practitioners) 3. How are they? (the children and youth). Our aim was to promote deep listening and reflection as a means of maintaining wellbeing and healthy relationships. I enjoyed seeing these questions press the pause button on their overwhelming workloads. The exercise seemed like a relief and it allowed them to bring to the surface some of the feelings and emotions affecting their livelihood and wellbeing. Co-facilitating this process made me realiset he importance of Mamelani’s work of providing spaces where people can be listened to, where they can acknowledge things as they are and be supported in overcoming the challenges they face.
Youth on self-care
We recently recruited 26 young people into our youth transitions programme. These young people are preparing for their transition from either a children’s home or foster care. Over the next three years, we will attempt to enhance their resilience and support them in building healthy networks of support. So far, they’ve had orientation, participated in assessments, met their mentors and had one-on-one sessions with them, and partook in the annual Amazing Race. During the assessment period, we were surprised to see how many young people identified self-care as a major priority in their future plans. In the past, this was lower on the scale with accommodation, education, and employment being rated as more important. We look forward to walking alongside them and discovering what self-care means to them.
Running for Mamelani’s wellbeing
Lisa Brunton, our chairperson, recently completed Cape Town’s famous Two Oceans Marathon to raise funds for us. She trained for several months to prepare for the race. She managed to raise just over R67 000 for the organisation – an incredible feat because asking people to donate to such campaigns can be hard work. Thank you, Lisa, for being a true example of building resilience and for supporting Mamelani’s wellbeing!
Finally, we would also like to thank everyone that supported our Invest in South Africa’s Transitioning Youth campaign during youth month!
Wishing you warmth and wellbeing during this cold winter season. We look forward to sharing more news with you soon.