I thought this was such a brilliant and lovely Email you should all share it! For those of you who do not know Chichi, she is a Zambian living in Cape Town, sister lives in Lusaka, and she flew up to meet Rebecca and her family before they came down to CT. Rebecca’s mother had to return to Lusaka last Sat.
I hope you are doing well, I am glad to know that you appreciate the support I am giving to Rebecca, thank you so much for enquiring about her progress and I am glad you asked.
I was going to email you about the wonderful time I had with Rebecca at the ward, especially after yesterdays experience. I had met your friend Judy, she is such a lovely lady, it was good to see her again.
I have been doing a lot of research on play therapy, and I have come up with a few ideas on using this form of play technique with Rebecca. Play therapy is basically a technique of using toys, games, etc in helping children articulate their feelings, thoughts etc with the goal of helping them become aware of and express their feelings; manage anger; improve self-control; reduce fear, anxiety, and depression. At the moment I have no experience in play therapy, but i think this will be a more realistic way for me to be interacting with Rebecca and to continue developing a rapport with her. I think I will get more in depth with this after she has settled down at St Josephs. As for now, with my visits to Red Cross hospital I would just like to be there for her. I have started experimenting this art of play with her, it is easy and fun. The first game we played is called the feelings games, I created a set of cards with different faces on it expressing a variety of emotions. I then narrated a story about my time in hospital and I showed her the different emotions i had experienced. When it was her turn she pointed out that at the moment she was feeling great, because of all the love and support she has been receiving. She said that she also feels sad that her mom has left, she feels scared sometimes when she is all alone and she also feels lonely. She also expressed that she doesn’t like the hospital and she misses home.
I assured her that when she moves back to St Joesph’s it will be much better than the hospital and she will have lots of friends to play with. We also did some art, she loves colouring and drawing, her art task was to draw anything she likes using different colours where by each colour expressed a different emotion. While she was drawing I just talked to her and asked her questions about her art work, that was fun. Rebecca had received quite a lot of visitors yesterday, one including a sister who goes around talking to patients, she came to tell Rebecca about a prayer room that is situated in hospital.
Rebecca decided that we take a walk to visit the prayer room, so after lunch she reminded me that we should go to the prayer room. The prayer room is a well kept comfortable and cozy place. When we got there we sat on the chairs and now I asked her if she knows what we are going to do next, I told her we are going to pray, so I tried to explain what prayer is in my language to her, when you want to pray we say “tuza mpepela” and she say yes “ni funa ku mpepela” which means I want to pray. So I asked her to list the things she wants to pray for. She said she would like to pray that her face becomes better, she wants to get well and she also wants to pray for her mom and her sisters in Zambia. So when it was time to start praying she closed her eyes and put her hands together, she was so cute when she did that Jane. When we were done praying there was a lady who was also in the prayer room listening to us, she came up to Rebecca and told her that God is going to answerer every prayer she just said, and she was touched and really blessed by Rebecca’s prayer. She then told Rebecca that God loves her so much and that she is a very beautiful girl and she is so precious and God is going to bless her. Rebecca’s eyes lit up, and she smiled. I was so touched by that lady’s words of encouragement, I almost cried Jane.
Rebecca loves taking walks in the hospital, and people do stare a lot and some people stop us on the corridors and they ask what happened to her. (But this doesn’t stop her from taking walks). When they ask Rebecca doesn’t say anything and looks away. So they ask me, and I tell them, most people sympathize with her and then tell her she is going to get better. Later I asked Rebecca how she feel when people stare and ask about her face and she says she feels fine, and then I asked her again in my language, and she replied back more sternly that she feels fine. I think she has learnt to cope with this, even though people do stare at her, this hasn’t stopped her from her love of taking walks. This already shows how brave and confident she is, I can learn a lot from Rebecca.
Her mom, Doreen also asked me to take some pictures of Rebecca and to send them to her, as she would like to see how Rebecca’s progressing. In my next visit to Rebecca I will take some pictures and send them to Kachy, so that he can pass them on to Doreen.
I will write to you soon once again on Rebecca’s progress. Please send my greeting to Ian.