Running the Surfers’ Challenge – and Runner’s Hyponatraemia

East London has an annual run which locals affectionately call “our Comrades” – a wildly popular all-terrain challenge now in its 41st year. 17,5 kilometers of sea sand, shale, rock and ocean, I ran it for the first time eleven years ago, and then every year during high school. I missed out during my university years, but this year I was back!

Pre-race jitters with my aunt!

Continue reading “Running the Surfers’ Challenge – and Runner’s Hyponatraemia”

Scaring Kiddies… Unintentionally

When I rotated through Paediatric Oncology during my elective, I had some trouble. Remember how I wrote about the incredibly late detection of tumours – well, that is largely due to the fact that the Eastern Cape has a large rural population. Also, a lot of these children are first taken to traditional healers and only once these measures fail do they approach so-called “Western” doctors.

On the first day in the ward, things were a little haphazard and I wasn’t really introduced to the ward. Tired of standing around, I decided to show myself around. The children had had breakfast and were playing games or watching TV.

I walked into one of the larger rooms…

A child looked around, his eyes as big as saucers, his cheeks turned ashen.

And, running to his mother, he screamed,

Mama! Umlungu!

Which is Xhosa for, “Mommy! A white person!”

I blushed, and the other doctors and interns laughed. It turns out a lot of these children, who grow up in the deepest rural Eastern Cape, have only ever seen a “white person” from afar.

For some hilarious “Kids say the darndest things”, check out Trisha’s latest post here.


 Day 5: What do you prefer to do on your birthday?

Birthdays are big in our family – as are Mothersdays, Fathersdays, and holidays like Christmas and Easter. We have learnt how fragile life is, even the youngest of us. In my Grade 12-year we lost so many family  members and friends that I seemed to develop an anxiety disorder, convinced that I would be next.

© D. Puchert 1995

Every special day on the calendar our prayer is: Thank you for sparing us to another day of togetherness. Continue reading “Birthday-thoughts”

An early birthday celebration

Tomorrow I return to Cape Town. It will be my birthday in two weeks, but since I cannot be with my family at the time, we celebrated my birthday today.

I had my very first experience purchasing jewellery. Mom and Dad wanted to buy me something special, that I can keep for a very long time and pass on to my daughter one day. We went to Denis Collins Jewellers, their favourite place to get jewellery. What a pleasant experience! They make you feel like a valued customer, show interest, pay attention, ask questions… I even got a bottle of champagne! (Well, it’s South African sparkling wine to be exact.) I now understand why my parents don’t purchase jewellery anywhere else.

Continue reading “An early birthday celebration”