Julia Logan-Mayes, Volunteer Coordinator at Compassus – Tullahoma, was one out of 12 members selected nationwide to be a part of the Compassus Interdisciplinary Team. The team was sent to their company’s sister hospice center Living Hope, a nonprofit organization in Cape Town, South Africa in August.
Living Hope offers health care services, counseling and education to more than 200,000 underprivileged residents in Cape Town. Its programs focus on improving general health and hospice care, HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, and economic empowerment. Living Hope provides health care for more than 36,000 South Africans annually through in-home visits, medical clinics and a 22-bed inpatient hospice center.
The Compassus interdisciplinary team, which included registered nurses, hospice aides, a social worker, volunteer coordinator, chaplain and other colleagues, spent a week in Cape Town working side by side with Living Hope clinicians and administrators.
“This experience will forever be etched in my mind,” said Logan-Mayes. “Despite the miles between us, we in the U.S. and the residents of Cape Town share many of the same struggles and strive for a life filled with love, peace, health and safety. Living Hope works daily to provide these things for the community and it was an honor to work alongside them.”
“I have not been out of the country that much myself, but it’s a different feeling to be an American in another country,” Logan-Mayes said.
One of the communities Logan-Mayes visited was an overpopulated shanty township called Masiphumelele. “The community was overpopulated and poverty-stricken. What was supposed to be a town built for 5,000 residents, now houses 50,000. We visited an after-school program for children at the Living Hope gathering place in Masiphumelele. It was amazing to see a group of 50 children dancing and singing to songs before heading back to their shanties.”
“One of my favorite things about this trip was the devotional that our interdisciplinary team would do with the Living Hope staff every morning,” Logan-Mayes said. “Everyone sang praise songs and we did a short devotion. It was a beautiful way to start the day off every morning.”
Living Hope also does a drug rehab program in some of the communities in Cape Town. “I learned very quickly that no matter the thousands of miles that are between South Africa and the U.S., we have the same problems. They deal with crime, gangs and drug addiction just like we do. Every moment was a powerful moment for me, and for all of us that went on the trip. The fact that Living Hope provides these safe havens for these communities is just amazing. They are truly doing the Lord’s work.”
“I love that Compassus gives us the opportunity to visit Living Hope and experience everything they do for Cape Town,” Logan-Mayes said. “I would not dream of applying again anytime soon, because I want other Compassus employees to have the chance to go and see this.”
Through an international partnership formed in 2011, Compassus donates monetary aid, medical sup-plies and health care expertise to support Living Hope’s health care and hospice services in the impoverished township communities of Cape Town.
Compassus matches voluntary employee donations dollar for dollar, with a total of $123,000 donated to the ministry-based nonprofit in 2018.
“Compassion is at the heart of everything we do, and our compassion has an even broader impact when we have the opportunity to serve alongside Living Hope,” said Edie Rimas, executive director for Compassus – Tullahoma. “We are proud of our team and their work with the people of South Africa, and I hope it inspires others to join the effort to advance the well-being of those facing life-limiting illnesses.”
For more information about Compassus – Tullahoma, visit www.compassus.com/tullahoma or call 931-455-9118.
Katelyn Lawson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.