"9 Year old little Sibusiso* was admitted to Nkosi’s Haven in November 2014 along with his grandmother who was his main caregiver. They had been referred to Nkosi’s Haven by an outlying clinic as both are HIV+ and Granny was certainly not coping with ARV administration. Thus both were not well on arrival with little Sibusiso on 24 hour oxygen therapy, a viro load that was off the page, severely damaged lungs and minute - 9 years he did not look older than 4.
Both were admitted to sickbay and Granny looked totally relieved to just hand over all responsibilities but we were very concerned about Sibusiso and started allocating funds for a funeral - he was not well!!
Sibusiso was allocated a wheelchair and soon he was curious enough to mix with the other children but very reserved - this child has an unbelievable bond with his Granny (we are in for hell when she passes on - he will not cope). Soon he was moving independently of the wheelchair and walking short distances only needing oxygen overnight. He and granny gained weight beautifully and soon he was off oxygen totally.
Granny and Sibusiso were moved out of sickbay and into a cottage where they share with a mom and her daughter. Pretty soon Sibusiso was mixing with the other children at the Village but unable to join them for a ‘game of soccer’ as his lungs are just too damaged and he tires very quickly.
Sibusiso had only ever attended 6 months of schooling, prior to admission, so was struggling with the work and of course, HIV does affect brain functioning if not on ARV’s. Thus we admitted him at the Mondeor Community School last year - which is a very basic Grade R little school with the most divine 'headmistress'. His grasp of things was very slow, so we had him assessed by an Education Psychologist and he is a very special ‘needs’ child, thus application was made to the Hamlet School.
In his brand spanking new school uniform in which he swam- Sibusiso started at his 'very' special needs school on 11th January 2017. Still minute for his age, now 12 years old, he is one of our success stories with all praise going to our sickbay and our very generous donors who so willingly support our project - thank you."
Gail Johnson, Nkosi's Haven
* Not his real name.