By Terri van Iperenburg, Fourth year Social Work student at Avans Hogeschool (ASH). Graduation project at George Hospital South Africa, Caring Society Project

Terri and her CASO friends

It has been a while since I wrote a blog… As many of my family and friends know I wasn’t really capable to write about everything and I won’t go in on it too much.

But one of the things that really scared me was my thesis. I hadn’t written much, but the half of it was finished by the first date I had to enter it to school. But a few days before I got a mail that it was interesting that I used my style of interviewing (the one with the big board) because to write your thesis with that method you need a special counsellor and you have to follow 3 workshops. I never read about this of saw it so I was completely in panic obviously… But I get to rewrite my interview part but still use the interviewing method, but I have to call it something different. So I’m working hard to finish my thesis now before the 17th of June (when I have to do a retry). I hope I get some feedback and can get my diploma a little later than planned, but still do it with this thesis.

I missed my sister’s play in the Netherlands which I Always go see. It is just one of those things that you don’t realize you miss that much until it actually happens (my sister is amazing btw, singing skills on point, right sis ;)). And also someone in my family passed away which is devastating for me. Everything is just adding up so much and I can’t believe I am still here in South Africa and haven’t quitted yet and just went home. Especially after a heavy event in Cape Town it was weird still being here and going on.

On top of that, I really wanted to go to George to end my project on a good note. I first was planning on going with someone, because of safety and to get a good amount of work done and to show the beauty of George, but I had to go on my own. Panicking a lot on the way (and the days before) I went anyway to go to the hospital to thank them for everything, clean the house, work on my thesis and present some of my results to the hospital.
I am happy I got to go (even though I cried a lot in terms of not feeling safe and not really being able to go to many places because I don’t have a driver’s license) because it felt really good seeing Esmarie again, have a good dinner and chat. Also, my presentation went really well. I met with a doctor from the hospital to discuss what I had seen and collected in my project. Afterwards, she told me she was going to bring it into their Ethics Meeting (on which I wrote about a few blogs ago) and have a discussion on how they can improve the needs of the staff members so that the symptoms of burn-outs can get less or weaker. I was very happy she reacted so positively to my presentation and everything.
When I walked away from the hospital and the residence I felt really weird, I had learned so much from that place, not only about the subject of my research but also about myself which was hard to say goodbye to.

Terri and Esmarie

What I have been up to as well, is I have been looking for different organizations who do some kind of social work related work in Maitland (CT) because I am very interested in the way things go in South Africa and that is also one of my goals, to experience how Social Work works here. I have seen a few things in George, but in Cape Town I saw when I drove by with an Uber an down syndrome center/school for kids called Peter Pan. So I send a mail to the center to ask if I could come over some time and see what the organization was all about. I had an amazing talk there and saw a little bit of the organization. But not enough for my taste, so I have decided to go to the organization a few days to experience the way of working and how Social Work is included and what methods they use in classes (and of course I hope I can do some fun activities with the kids, theatre related I hope).

Also what I am very excited to do is after I hand in my thesis I will help PS4L with their holiday program in the schools. Pepijn and I, are looking for a way to include theatre in the program through 4 days. We were thinking of making a play or a short movie with the kids which we can show to everyone in the end. We are so excited to work together and use creative resources to make a fun program which the kids can learn from as well (hopefully haha).

So yeah, that was basically it for what I have to say for now! Hope you enjoyed reading it.

Lots of love,

P.S. Pepijn and I got fabric for a handmade dress for me and a blouse for him (see the second picture). It was a tiny shop hidden away inside a print shop, and because we came from overseas the owner wanted to make a picture and put it on Facebook, LOL (5 seconds of fame can be crossed off the bucket list)!

Terri and Pepijn
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