News from Rumbek

Appreciating the work of Nicky Hess

“Always work hard to make your dreams come true. Sports will also help us know how to together handle emotions, build peace and focus our energy to create a better tomorrow. Thanks for the memories we’ve made together and always play to have fun.”

Nicole (Nicky) Hess, served alongside Sr. Penina from May 2017 to May 2019. Her work at Loreto has yielded much and she has felt like this was where God had chosen to send her. “There was a real need for additional medical staff to come and help at the small school clinic. I felt like Loreto was a place I could be involved in many different areas. I have been fortunate to see a lot of growth and expansion in my two years here. We’ve come a long way. I’m humbled that I have been a part of the clinic team and the greater Loreto family.”

For most of her time at the clinic, Nicky was working as a nurse: consulting, treating, and caring for patients before taking up more management roles, and supervision.

According to Sr. Penina, “I’m short of words to say thanks to Ms. Nicole. We started the clinic from a single room and under the tree for nutritionals. We’ve witnessed the growth of the medical section in this school together. She has made great contribution, offering herself selflessly and adjusting from a first world to a simple setting, with little available even for personal use. I acknowledge Nicole’s contributions and her role in helping in administration in the clinic.”

One of our nurses, Ms. Ann described her experience working with Nicky, “In a simple farewell we held, everyone had good words to say to Nicky. Her love for everyone and her charisma for children has encouraged us all. She is well informed and we’ve learned much from her, her good skills in paperwork including duty rota, questionnaires, health education and reports have improved the services we offer here.”

Another nurse, Ms. Susan added, “We’ve learnt from her qualities like teamwork, implementation of plans and helping each other more so the vulnerable. We’ll continue to exercise those.”

Besides nursing, Nicky taught health education to the girls in the secondary school, and facilitated the primary and community health education program. She covered topics discussing mental wellbeing, feelings/emotions and coping skills; physical wellbeing; nutrition; anemia; proper adherence to medication; and social wellbeing. She has also held several trauma healing group workshops and provided psychosocial support to secondary school students.

According to Regina Anguech of Senior 3W, a beneficiary of trauma healing support, “We had the program over September holiday 2018. One thing I learnt is that we should share our troubles and feel less troubled, a skill I’ve been applying and it is helpful as I can even talk to my friends when I realize they are not okay. It works.”

Health education has led to good progress concerning the community’s reception of the healthcare provided by the clinic. The community has grown to trust and appreciate the services.

Nicky says, “Initially, I heard more cases of students being taken to traditional healers/medicine in addition to coming to the clinic. Now we have even heard some people’s stories of refusing traditional medicine and coming to our clinic instead. Initially, when we started community health education, the community members seemed more concerned about us giving free handouts rather than the education we were teaching on.

But now, they appear interested and engaged during our weekly sessions. They are even suggesting topics that they would like us to cover in the future. It’s a work in progress, but I believe we are headed in a positive direction.”

Nicky Hess at Loreto Rumbek

Nicky’s last basketball game at Loreto Rumbek!

Nicky was also involved in coaching basketball and organizing sport activities. She raised support to construct two basketball courts to allow more students to play basketball.

One of basketball players, Priscilla Ayen of S2M says, “When I came to Senior One I didn’t have much skills but only had little skills from primary school. Through the training by Nicky on Saturdays on skills and her joining us in some days of the week, I have really improved especially in shooting and dribbling skills and I am in the school basketball team. My friends have also improved.”

As a member of the sports committee, Nicky also helped to coordinate a Sports Day each term for the primary and secondary schools. On Friday May 3rd 2019, she said a farewell to the student body during the secondary school’s Sports Day. In her speech, she encouraged the students to exploit their full potential. “Always work hard to make your dreams come true. Sports will also help us know how to together handle emotions, build peace and focus our energy to create a better tomorrow. Thanks for the memories we’ve made together and always play to have fun.”

For Nicky, the Loreto environment has been a conducive learning environment for all to exchange ideas with one another.

She explains, “I’ve learned the power of sharing because what I have, we have. The students, in particular, have taught me about courage, sacrifice, and perseverance, from the smiling kindergarten kids to the strong secondary young women. I have met some of the bravest people here at Loreto and I am grateful for the past two years’ experience. I’m encouraging the students to have the courage to hope, even when it seems like there is no hope. Trust that Jesus will walk with you always for you are never alone and you are all deeply loved.”

We thank Nicky for being part of the Loreto Rumbek family and we are all wishing her well in her next endeavors.

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