ANNIE DOYLE HAS GONE HOME TO HER FAMILY !          - 19/1/2009      <--Prev : Next-->


Anyone who has been connected with Bartley Block in Bulawayo will know Annie Doyle.

Dear diminutive Annie, weighing in at about 40kgs, perfectly groomed always, exquisitely dressed in clothes, albeit they were pretty ancient, that could take her to tea at Buckingham Palace ....

Annie was the doyen of Bartley Block. She ran the library, supervised the kitchens and helped out in any way that she could. The good people of Bulawayo, via their Churches and Associations, have for twenty years been making daily meal pilgrimages to Bartley Block to make life more bearable for the residents.

At one time there were sixty residents but now the numbers have dwindled to around twenty although goodness knows there must be hundreds of elderly folk in Bulawayo who could do with a clean but shabby bed at Bartley Block.

Whenever we arrived, Annie would rush out as fast as her frail legs would allow, and help with the food trays. Annie's twinkling eyes, bird-like and bright, would welcome everyone with such joy. Her thin grey hair always wound in a regal chignon, Annie was the light of so many lives at the Government Geriatric Nursing Home, where such sadness usually abounded.

Annie took rigid control of the plates bought by the church groups, she kept a list of the diabetics to ensure they were not given anything sweet, she would march around the long corridors daily, distributing food, keeping a watchful eye on those sad hungry souls who tried to get more than one plateful, and all the while keeping up a flow of cheerful conversation, always regarding others, never complaining, always thankful and gracious.

Annie was not like the other residents, most of whom were bed or chair bound. Although always clean and tidy, the hospital had little or no money for food or clothing and most of what was there was by donations from the community. Rainy days were always a problem at Bartley Block, as there were no dryers to dry the clothes for many of the patients who were incontinent. Even when one is old and frail, one is still proud, and when pajama bottoms were in short supply, dignity still had to be respected while passing out the food plates ....

We tried so many times to coerce Annie to move to the Edith Duly Nursing Home, but she refused saying "my family will not know where to find me when they come and fetch me "

Happily that day came yesterday and Annie's family have taken her to Johannesburg where she will hopefully live out her last remaining years in the comfort of their arms, away from the Institution which has housed her for so many years.

We will miss you Annie..

Thank you to all the wonderful folk of Bulawayo who serve those less fortunate.

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." - Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)