Odette Robyn (26) looks content as she sits down in the office of the head nurse at Geluksoord, a retirement home in Stellenbosch, to talk about how her life has changed over the last two years following a chance encounter with a Bergzicht Training alumnus she only knows as Beulah.
“I remember sitting in church one day and a nurse got up and started testifying about how her work with the elderly had changed her life. Something about what she said made me go up to her after the service and talk to her and that’s when she gave me Bergzicht Training’s number.”
Before that life-changing moment, she says, her life was in shambles.
“I spent about four to five years at home drinking. During that time I also became pregnant with my daughter, Jay-Lee. After she was born, I got a big shock when tests revealed that she had Down Syndrome. I was young and I had no idea what to do. Not too long after that her father, Devon, who was addicted to drugs, died due to kidney failure,” explains Odette as the tears start rolling down her face.
The trauma of these events caused Odette to start suffering from anxiety and panic attacks.
Four years after Jay-Lee was born, Odette was still drinking and became pregnant again with a boy named Johnwin.
It was only when she heard Beulah speak in church that Odette’s final salvation came.
In 2013 she gave up alcohol and in January 2014 enrolled for the Life Skills course at Bergzicht, completing the Home Management and Health and Frail Care programmes thereafter.
“One day in class we started speaking about self-image and I realised that I had spent my entire life feeling as if I was not good enough and this had made me shy and withdrawn. I slowly learned to think differently about myself and actually started liking myself.”
Today Odette is pouring her energy into realising another dream – becoming a nurse one day.
“You know, when I look back at the kind of person I was back then I realise how irresponsible I was. After deciding to give my heart to Jesus, I place all my decisions in His hands. I am no longer just thinking about Odette. Now I am thinking about my children too.”