“FAMILY isn’t always blood.
It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs;
the ones who accept you for who you are.
The ones who would do anything to see you SMILE and who LOVE YOU no matter what.”
Family, friends, laughter, chats, food, games, pets, sport, work…..HOME! This is how Carol Mileham describes living at Sunfield Home Howick. Carol has been a resident at Sunfield Home Howick for almost 44 years, joining the Sunfield Family at the age of 13 years of age! (Note: new admissions now need to be 18 to join the Sunfield family)
Being intellectually impaired, Sunfield Home, Howick, was selected as Carol’s new home away from home.
This is Carol’s story…
Before I came to Sunfield Home Howick I lived at Mary Cook children’s home in Pietermaritzburg, after which I attended the Sunfield Home School in Verulam.
I’m not sure about my age (Carol has just had her 57th birthday) because I’m not very good with numbers. I was so happy when I moved into Sunfield Home. When I first moved here we still lived in the original Farm House, called Schaefer House, but there has been a lot of building and growth since I have moved here.
Mommy Gregson used to look after us and I was very fond of her. Since then they have built Gregson House, De Smidt House and Combrinck House.
I moved around a lot but now I live in Sunflower, which is a smaller “independent living” unit for nine residents. I love living in Sunflower because it is small, and very peaceful. We are like brothers and sister who all live together.
I have my own room which is my own private space, but we also have a lounge and kitchen where we can make our own tea, coffee or hot chocolate on cold winter nights. It is my HOME.
Over Christmas, I usually get to spend some time with my friend and her family in the Cape, but home for me is here at Sunfield.
Sunfield Home is not just my Home, but it is also my place of work. I attend the sewing workshop daily, Mondays to Friday, where I am involved in a variety of projects. I would say my best skill is crocheting, using a large hook and working with t-shirt yarn. I specialize mainly in making bathroom mats and larger rugs. But I also make bags, poof cushions, the full bathroom sets and can design any pattern that our clients might need. These products then get sold in our Sunfield Shop. I also enjoy cooking and baking and being a shop assistant in the Sunfield Shop.
I’m also part of the “Green Gang”. We are a group of residents who work in our veggie tunnel. I love working in the beds, pulling out the weeds and planting new seedlings, watching them grow and then harvesting the veggies. We provide vegetables to the kitchen, and then we sell the remainder. We have planted onions, cucumbers, lettuce, green beans, chilies, spinach and even watermelon.
I am also a sportswoman so I enjoy playing pool, bocce and going on walks. My top sport was swimming when I was younger. I had the privilege of attending the Special Olympics in Ireland, China and Greece for swimming.
Here at Sunfield we also have a lot of fun! We have discos, celebrate birthdays with birthday parties, go on outings to the dam, and have movie nights.
We are all family here at Sunfield Home. When a new resident joins our family we make sure they feel welcome and included. Even if it means having a sleepover in their room for the first night or so.
When one of us are sad, we support one-another, and if there is reason to celebrate, we celebrate with them. I have helped look after some of our residents when they were just young children, and now they are grown-ups.
It’s a blessing and a privilege to have known one-another for so many years. To me family are the ones you live with, laugh with, and those who know you best!
Sunfield Home… it truly is my HOME!