It is almost the end of the year, and it feels as though the year never happened. One gets the feeling that the days have just been sneaking past us and turned into mist.

Yet in spite of all the shifting mist, a lot has been happening. Behind our locked gates, life has been in motion. It has been a year of growth for the Residents and Staff, especially looking at how we manage our day to day routines under COVID-19. Before January 2021, we were unsure of how we would cope should we be hit by an outbreak at our institution. So when it happened, we got our heads together got to work. The result was a successful programme where we isolated the 2 residents who had tested positive, monitored symptoms in other residents, got residents and staff tested when they needed to and kept our home clean and disinfected to prevent further infection.

Once this was behind us, life carried on at Pevensey. We however could not take part in the Midmar Mile Swimming event, and we cancelled our annual Pevensey Swimming Gala. Cases were soaring and it was not safe to hold events. We waited and crossed our fingers as the month of May approached. In an atmosphere where it was difficult to make definite plans, the stress hit our residents the most. They are so used to a structured life, where they know what event they will take part in and on what day of what month. Their conversations are usually around such matters. They love looking into the future and be able to see a structure. Under COVID-19 regulations, this was torn into shreds. Anxiety levels are at their highest in such environments. We commend our dedicated Staff members who rose to the occasion and attended to residents to keep their emotional state positive and well balanced.

Residents in a moment of prayer at a Sparkle Ladies Conference held at Pevensey on the 22nd of May 2021. Thanks to the Highlands Ladies’ group, our residents enjoyed taking part in this event.

So May came and fortunately we could take part in the Cycle event, which provided us with an opportunity to meet new faces. This was a welcome fund raising opportunity which did not fall victim to Covid in 2021. Also in May, we had a fund raiser walk, in which a staff member and walked 100km in two days to raise funds for orphaned residents. This was a huge success and the community supported it well. R50 000.00 was raised through this initiative.

The mid year break saw us at a level where we could allow our Residents to go home and be with their families, and upon their return, we were hit by a COVID-19 outbreak which we confirmed on the 3rd of August. Again it was time for us to roll our sleeves up and isolate the infected so they could me taken care of as they recovered, monitoring symptoms and stopping the spread of the virus. This was done successfully, and by the end of August we had restored normal settings at Pevensey with all residents in their rooms and having meals the normal ways.

Having got through this together, we feel it has forged a new kind of resilience in us. A new sense of belief that we can find our way through stuff. A new sense of hope has sprouted, and also given that most of the residents have received their 2 doses (by the 20th of September) of vaccines, we are hopeful that the future will not be as bad as the last few months. Now we can set out to try and find ourselves again. To find our smiles again and walk with confidence again.

I think you need to go through some stuff to really appreciate life and understand what it means to persevere, overcome and have faith. I think those tough times make you a stronger person. – Judith Hill

So as we prepare for the last bit of 2021, we look back at the times. the good and the bad, and hold on to the lessons we have drawn. And we will not allow anything to cast a shadow on our smile. Not even a face mask!

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