A few days ago I took a teenage girl to the hospital for some tests. She had learned that I am a nurse, and confided in me by asking for health advice when we were at Bible school. I was able to follow through with assisting her because she lives near Durban where I have been located for the last two weeks.
The public hospital is like a maze. There are many lowly lit hallways and corridors with concrete floors filled with wooden benches and chairs on which to sit and wait. Patients do a lot of sitting and waiting. As we moved from one line to another the young girl and I talked about her life. We discussed her family, and her relationships with her friends. We talked about her dreams, and her worries.
This young girl had been raped two years ago, and she now fears that this will happen again. I have come to understand that sexual violence against women is a major problem in this country. Growing up as a young woman in South Africa can be like navigating a mine field; just walking home from school can be a dangerous activity. This young woman has started to protect herself by refusing to go door to door to collect money for her school. This decision has caused her teachers to criticize her, and to call her a “rude girl.” She has been brought up to respect her elders, and so these criticisms hurt her very much and cause her much inner turmoil. We spent time talking about this, and talking about her right to protect herself from her fears and from further attacks.
The conversation then turned to the Bible, and we talked about this young girl’s questions about satan. When I explained that the understanding she has of satan is not in the Bible and explained some key verses, I saw her visibly relax. It was so nice to be able to comfort her in this fear as well.
At the end of the day I was able to explain her medications and diagnosis to her. It felt really good to be able to use my knowledge to support and help this young woman. I am really looking forward to continuing this relationship and building up this young girl’s faith and self-confidence.