Category Archives: KD Volunteers

Telling My Story – A Life in Nursing

Ondria Cheeseman has always wanted to write a book since her early days.

It was her volunteering experience at Klibur Domin in 2014 that pushed her along her bucket list giving her the much needed motivation to write and realize her dream.

At the age of three, Ondria needed to be hospitalized for heart surgery. She knew then that her calling was to nursing. That was in 1966 and fifty years on Ondria is still nursing.

She trained at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Upon her graduation she worked in Northern Territory, Western Australia, Papua New Guinea in the Duke of York Islands and Bougainville.

Ondria met her husband, Leicester, in Papua New Guinea and went to live in his homeland New Zealand, where they raised their three children.

Returning to Australia they settled in Ballarat, Victoria. Ondria worked in a variety of nursing positions and developed a serious interest in palliative care. This has been her main area of nursing in recent years.

About four years ago, she tried to retire, “I didn’t work out as I didn’t want to tidy my cupboards!”

Papua New Guinea made such a strong impression on Ondria, so much so, that she decided to go down that path again.

Ondria responded to an advertisement in the Ballarat Courier asking for volunteers to work at the Ryder-Cheshire overseas homes. Her credentials led her to the Klibur Domin Health Facility in Timor-Leste in 2014.

Ondria with the KD Stop Smoking resources

Whilst there she wrote up some basic procedures for medical conditions such as heart attacks, diabetes, asthma, stop smoking, high blood pressure and common cold. These procedures have been translated into the local language, Tetum. Upon her return to Ballarat, Ondria assisted the Ballarat Support Group under the guidance of the Director of Klibur Domin, Sr Joaquim Soares, to develop and design stop smoking educational resources materials to be used at Klibur Domin. These materials were financed through the generosity of the Ballarat Loreto College students. The students presented the no smoking materials to Sr Joaquim when he visited their College last year.

“Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste are two countries who face so many challenges in their health systems. My goal was always to work out how to make the most of what they have and perhaps just add a little more in which is both culturally acceptable and achievable, but still not be surprised if it is not as sustainable as I thought it might be and to just accept the reality of life. I wanted to learn from the local people and not to impose my ways on them.”

Ondria has achieved her goal on her bucket list. Nursing, Challenges, Laughter and Tears is finished and will be launched on Sunday 18th June at the Buninyong Bowls Club at 2pm. Her story is one spanning over fifty years of nursing. It is a down to earth recollection of her memories which are both humorous and touching. It is definitely an enjoyable must read.

“I have finished my book now and possibly will also finish work this year – perhaps it is time to tidy my cupboards!”

Ondria Cheeseman is a member of the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation Victoria-Ballarat Support Group.

Ballarat Support Group members at Ondria’s Book Launch in Buninyong

 Nursing, Challenges, Laughter and Tears can be purchased for $30 from:
Ryder-Cheshire Homes Victoria, 10-14 Donaldson Street, Ivanhoe, VIC (03) 9254 2400

Ondria Cheeseman cheesion@bigpond.com

Shared Love in East Timor

 

Fr Ted Burns is a retired priest of the Melbourne Archdiocese.  He has had a long association with Ryder-Cheshire and was instrumental many years ago in recruiting our current RCA President, Peter Newton AO.  Fr Burns recently visited Klibur Domin in company with Peter. He is the author of this article which is appearing in the Catholic magazine Annals Australasia and the text is reproduced here with kind permission of
Fr Burns and the publisher.

 

 SHARED LOVE IN EAST TIMOR

 RYDER-CHESHIRE IN ACTION ON AUSTRALIA’S DOORSTEP 

By Fr. Ted Burns PE

It’s not every day that a priest (especially one in his late 70s) gets such a sweet smile from a young lady. It happened to me recently at a small village in Ermera province, in the rugged mountains of Timor-Leste, better-known as East Timor.

The lady concerned was about 10 months old.  As she beamed at me from her mother’s arms, I realized, as her tiny face lit up, that she had virtually no upper lip. My immediate reaction was resolving to find help for her. Such cases are not unusual.

On this visit to East Timor, I had joined the mobile unit of a Community Based Rehabilitation team from Klibur Domin (KD) a Ryder-Cheshire (RCA) initiative sponsored by Australians and New Zealanders, and operated by about 40 local Timorese from their base at Tibar, 17 km west of Dili.

DIGITAL CAMERA

Fr Burns with mothers and young patients

Klibur Domin is Timorese for Shared Love, and the Mobile Rehab team is just one arm of this wonderfully effective outfit. There is also a Mobile TB team. It too travels to remote villages, diagnosing and treating sufferers. Timor has one of the highest rates of TB in the world, and literally hundreds have been treated, thanks to the Clinic at  KD. Continue reading Shared Love in East Timor

Stuart and Jeanette

Recently we had the privilege of spending two weeks as volunteers   at Klibur Domin.  We were warmly welcomed into this eclectic community and were impressed by the wide range of programs operating out of KD.

We were happy to fit in where needed while we were there.

daw 1Stuart joined Barry (volunteer) in general maintenance around the place and in continuing to work on the kitchen garden established by Barry.  They also spent time sorting and repairing equipment stored in a container on the compound. We had taken Daw 4some medical supplies over with us and Stuart, a nurse, spent time with the clinic nurse going through the supplies and discussing how they could be used.  Stuart also had the opportunity to spend a day Daw 7with the immunisation team which was a highlight for him professionally.

Continue reading Stuart and Jeanette

Fran

Fran Head

Anyone who can possibly make the effort to spend time in Timor Leste should jump at the opportunity. I enjoyed every day of my two months’ stay at Klibur Domin. As I have been retired for a few years I was worried that the long day from 8 am until 5 pm in the heat might prove too much for me. It turned out to be like a holiday on a tropical island away from the Ballarat winter. The warm weather and cool nights suited me though if I had to work in the sun it would have been a different story. Continue reading Fran