A special sister city bond between Nelson Mandela Bay and the City of Jacksonville in the United States resulted in great joy for the community of Ward 41, who are now benefiting from the donation of a state-of-the-art mobile clinic.
A delegation from the City of Jacksonville paid a visit to Nelson Mandela Bay in April and donated the mobile clinic to the community of Chatty in Booysens Park.
This humble gesture by the City of Jacksonville was greatly appreciated by the community who before had to a travel far distance to neighbouring areas to access a clinic.
The City of Jacksonville delegation showed another act of human solidarity by pledging the money left over from the purchase of the mobile clinic to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Education Task Team. The amount of R1 600 will be used in the uniform collection drive to buy school shoes for those learners in need.
The sister city relationship between Nelson Mandela Bay and the City of Jacksonville dates back 12 years ago when the two Municipality’s first agreed to cooperate and assist each other in various identified areas of priority.
Jacksonville sister cities secretary, Tina Daniels, said the mobile clinic was bought from a grant of two million dollars from the Gate Foundation under the African Urban Poverty Alleviation Programme.
"We were chosen out of 27 American cities to receive money from the grant, and we identified different areas within Nelson Mandela Bay, with Booysen Park and public health as our priority. We are pleased to be lending a hand and this is not the end. Working with the Department of Education and the Municipality we will be focusing on sanitation programmes and renovations to schools," said Daniels.
Nelson Mandela Bay Deputy Executive Mayor, Cllr Nancy Sihlwayi, said the mobile clinic was a much needed facility in the Chatty community.
"We are extremely grateful to the Jacksonville sister city delegation for the donation, knowing the good that this facility will do in the community of Ward 41,” said Cllr Sihlwayi.
"The 12 year partnership with Jacksonville has brought many positive spin-offs for our city. We have already benefited in capacity building and knowledge exchange over a broad spectrum of areas, such as business, legal services, parks, recreation, customer care and social investment. We value this partnership,” said Cllr Sihlwayi.
A Chatty community member, Sindiswa Nothwana, was equally excited about the mobile clinic.
"I can’t express my gratitude in words, I am very happy. Thanks to the health facility coming to our doorstep, I will not have to walk long distances with my child for check-ups," said Nothwana.
She called on the NMBM to form more partnerships of this sort to benefit the people.
"It goes to show that when our senior political leadership and management in the Municipality visit overseas, they are there to work and we appreciate the effort and its outcomes,” said Nothwana.
The sister city agreement between the Municipality’s of Nelson Mandela Bay and the City of Jacksonville is bearing many rewards, and a donation of a mobile clinic to the community of Chatty is just one of the many ways that the Bay is benefiting from the partnership.
One of the very first patients at the new mobile clinic in Chatty was little Sinomtha Nothwana (2) with her mother, Sindiswa Nothwana and nurse, Letitia Kritzinger.