Twenty-eighteen was like the unwanted visitor who overstays their welcome. And this blog post is the sigh of relieve I give as I wave goodbye. Can you relate?
2018 left me fatigued. Extremely exhausted and physically, mentally and emotionally drained! So much so that I got red flagged by SANBS at my last scheduled blood donation. Apparently I need to keep my blood to my anaemic-self and work on getting my iron levels and blood pressure up. So I’ve been suspended from being a super hero for the next three months. This once again reminded me that you cannot serve from an empty cup. And man was I dry! 2018 gave meaning to “critical but stable”.
Yesteryear didn’t waste time. It was moving and didn’t care to wait so I could catch up to everything that was happening!
Here are a few of the “Wow-Worthy” moments that made it sweet:
Laz graduated! This was a huge deal for me. I had just started working the day before. In fact, I did my first “night shift” and had to change in the bathroom before leaving for his ceremony. There was absolutely no way I was going to miss this or be late for it. I witnessed his struggles and hard work, admired his resilience and was about to share in this victorious moment with him. I was overjoyed when he walked across that stage. For a short moment I forgot that it was a formal event and I had to practice my inside manners but I just had to cheer for my guy!
This is a story of hope and resilience, I strongly believe this will encourage someone and set alight dying flames.Our Chairperson, Laszlo 'Laz' Maya graduated from Nelson Mandela University’s School of Accounting on Monday, the 23rd of April. As with many of the student who walked across the stage to collect their well-deserved qualifications, he had to overcome many obstacles to get to the moment where he would bask in the glory of his accomplishments.Laszlo enrolled to start his BCom Accounting degree in the year 2013 as part of the Thuthuka Bursary Programme. He was no different than many of the other excited first years, except for the fact that he completely lost his hearing at age 6 after a bout with mumps. He received a Cochlear Implant in the same year which helped “restore” his hearing to some degree. He completed his 1st year with 9/11 distinctions. His 2nd year was no different, scooping a Golden Key Society Award in 2014. He was completely reliant on the hearing assistive devices provided to him by the Disability Unit to partake in lectures. Outside the lecture halls he continued to live out his passion for rugby. On the field he was completely deaf, and relied on hand signals to communicate with his team mates. He formed part of the Stallions rugby team who won the then NMMU Koshuis League in 2014, going on to represent the university in the 2015 Varsity Cup Koshuis League. At the beginning of his 3rd year in 2015, a terrible ear infection threatened his health. Ear infections are more severe and dangerous for those who have received Cochlear Implants. This forced him to be absent from lectures and assessments, and later forced him to cancel his modules for the academic year.With motivation from his audiologist, Thuthuka agreed to give him time to recover and fund him the following year when he returns.He returned in 2016, full of zeal and eager to finish what he had started. Little did he know the challenges the year would bring. His Cochlear Implant processor (“hearing aid”) malfunctioned, and he would be without his hearing device for weeks on end because timely solutions would prove too costly for him and his family. He still attended lectures deaf, to sign the register and meet requirements, but the work lost accumulated. The situation intensified during the FMF campaign, where lecturers communicated and lectured topics via voicenotes & YouTube. Studying and keeping up to date became a struggle as he was, and still is, unable to hear properly over electronic devices. His resilience and dedication to succeed pushed him to do “twice as much” and put in everything he can in an effort to grasp concepts and learn what he needed to. Unfortunately this was not enough. He failed two of his modules that year and as a result, he lost the Thuthuka bursary of which he was a top achiever over the years.During that year, and out of frustration and disappointment, Laszlo decided to take a stand and advocate for the rights of those who have hearing disabilities, and to make the public aware of the challenges faced by those suffering from hearing loss to help bridge the gap between the hearing and the deaf. He co-founded the Facebook #NotDEAFeted deaf awareness campaign in September 2016 (Deaf Awareness Month) where he shared his personal stories and struggles, as well as facts in an effort to educate the public so that the deaf are no longer left behind. Two weeks into the #NotDEAFeted campaign Laszlo made it onto the front page of DIE BURGER newspaper and was invited to several local radio stations to spread his message and deaf awareness. His message was spread far and wide, managing to reach a global audience.In 2017 he was determined to finish his studies and gave it another shot. Whilst studying he co-founded the Maya Deaf Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation of which he is the Chairperson, whose objectives include raising funds for those with hearing disabilities to obtain hearing aids and Cochlear implants, and spreading deaf awareness. In July 2017 he was announced as one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans and recognized for his contribution to civil society. He continued his #NotDEAFeted deaf awareness campaign in September 2017 and, together with the NMU Disability Unit, spoke and spread awareness at several engagements held across the NMU campuses. In November 2017 he finally completed his degree and graduated in April with a BCom General Accounting degree. Laszlo's CAN DO attitude is admirable. He is perseverance personified!#Graduation 🎓#BcomAccounting #NMUgrad18
Posted by Not DEAFeted on Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Both my sisters were expecting and gave birth to my nephew and niece. A healthy and very chubby pigeon pair! We were pleasantly surprised and filled with gratitude towards God when the doctors ruled out a spinal operation for Yadah, opting for non-surgical treatment for his scoliosis.
I got two job offers this year. And I’m convinced that I made the right choice and for the right reasons. Still I find myself missing the excitement and creativity the online tutoring brought with it.
I did my first ever 10km which made me realize how unfit I am. I started a wellness journey because I have Ironman goals and want to be well prepared. My boyfriend has been a huge support and inspiration during this time, working out a training program for me and helping me make better food choices.
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I wanted to do something I've never done before… by myself, for myself, to challenge myself! So I entered the 10km Women's Day Diva run! The #distance would be the challenge, I thought… little did I know there would be a cut off time! Such madness I signed up for. Waking up 05:30 on a public holiday to #run a 7:00 race in this cold! Anyways, this diva did it 👊 and I feel all kinds of awesome right now🏅
The new job is in a different city, meaning that I am mothering and girlfriending over a long distance. This year saw me packing my bags religiously every Thursday evening, leaving for either J-Bay and, once in a while, Graaff Reinet. On Sundays I’d say my goodbyes and ball my eyes out while saying silent prayers to God for us to be together soon, and then Monday I had to unpack. Then repeat in 4 days time! Not having my own car made this tremendously difficult. I’m trusting this year to be the last of it!
Never would I have thought that I’d be carrying my grandmother out of the house in a coffin last year. I wasn’t ready to exchange our Sunday thing (helping her down the stairs at church) for this. I fondly recall how I asked her just a few weeks before when she would stop wearing heels to church coz she’s old, to which she replied “Al moet ek ook in ‘n rolstoel sit, sal julle vir my moet hakskoene aansit.” We laughed as she proceeded to ask about how Laz is doing. She always asked about him ☺. The other things we shared was our love for nature – the animal kingdom especially! Now she walks with the elephants.
I almost didn’t post this as I felt that my new year started out great and I didn’t want to dwell on 2018, but I’m glad I did… writing this made me see God’s hand even more, and made me incredibly appreciative of His grace.