Responding to the COVID-19 crisis

Responding to the COVID-19 crisis

Message from Goedgedacht’s MD | 27 May 2020.

Dear Friends

How life has been disrupted for us all over the last couple of months! The Goedgedacht community greets you – and prays for peace and hope for us all during this difficult time!

At Goedgedacht we have had to adapt our normal flow of work as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus.  The pandemic asked of us to respond to the needs of our communities in a new way, as we were suddenly faced with desperate situations of hunger and the risk of getting infected with the coronavirus.  The situation called for an immediately response, and we have had to think outside of our usual paradigms.

Given that people live in small houses in dense communities, many people would struggle to self-isolate should they contract the virus.  Beyond this, the social drivers of illness make many people in rural communities extremely vulnerable, as hypertension, tuberculosis and diabetes are common in these disadvantaged communities. We have therefore decided to use our conference facilities, in partnership with the local Swartland Hospital, to create what will initially be an isolation unit for people who are infected with the virus, but who are not seriously ill.  As the pandemic unfolds, we expect that we will provide an extension to the hospital for people who are not seriously ill, but who have co-morbid illnesses that make them more vulnerable and hence need monitoring.  In this way, we want to do our part in flattening the curve, reduce the burden on the local Swartland hospital whose main priority is to care for very ill COVID-19 guests and provide the best care for vulnerable people.

Over the past month, Goedgedacht staff has been working hard at transforming the accommodation in our Barn and Leadership Academy into COVID-19 Recovery Units.  These facilities can accommodate 19 women and 17 men.  We’re passionate about providing a dignified space with good meals, internet, television and games, where people will be able to gain their strength, recover, and avoid hospitalisation.

On Friday past, after a long wait, we eventually signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Provincial Department of Health and are expecting our first guests in the coming days.  We are grateful to the Nussbaum Foundation for its generous donation which enabled us to buy beds and mattresses for the Centre. We are also thankful for linen donated by the Vineyard and Mowbray Protea hotels, as well as the Cape Grace hotel.

While we are waiting for the first guests to arrive, the realities of the pandemic are starting to hit home.  Earlier this week I learned that the parents of one of our Riverlands POP Centre volunteers have tested positive for COVID-19. We decided to close the centre for 14 days and advised all our volunteers to self-isolate.  We are busy with planning around new methods to get meals to the ± 200 families whom we have been serving daily from this POP Centre (Goedgedacht had served more than 140 000 meals across our 6 POP Centres since we launched our emergency feeding scheme on 14 April 2020).

Amid all the current challenges we see in the Recovery Centre as a beacon of hope.  Indeed, there is life after the coronavirus.

Many thanks to all our donors and funders for their support in making all that we aspire to do, become a reality.

Yours sincerely,

Deon Snyman
Managing Director Goedgedacht Trust

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