My personal story!
Born: 06/10/1963 in Fort Victoria, Rhodesia. Parents immigrated to South Africa when I was 5 yrs old. I grew up in a rural town, Tzaneen, in the North Eastern part of South Africa, not far from the Kruger National Park – much like Wagga Wagga!
Due to God fearing parents and a maternal grandmother who loved telling us missionary stories, I realized from a very young age that God had a calling on my life – I wanted to become a missionary! As I grew up I also realized that one could be a missionary with and in a specific career. I was very interested in teaching and still love to teach and explain things to my patients. In my final year at school I then decided to do medicine, thinking that it is a wonderful way of reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus. It is a career one can practice over many borders and cultures. I strongly felt the calling to work in a mission hospital.
My parents were always busy with the work of God, doing church planting in the Baptist Denomination. They both had demanding careers, my father having his own business in crop spraying, employing pilots and special aircraft and working across most of the country of South Africa. He had a shop in town selling pesticides and everything pertaining to vegetable gardening. Weekends were spent assisting in his shop! My mother also started up her own stationary business, selling and servicing photocopier machines, typewriters etc. She was one of the first people in our town to own a computer! It was as big as a small car and made a huge noise when processing data! I have fond memories working in her shop. She then later opened another one in a nearby town, Pietersburg as well as a bookshop selling school supplies. Not many kids were in the position that I was, gaining business experience at a young age. It was not commonplace for schoolkids to work at all – unlike here in Australia where working from a young age at McDonalds and other places helps kids to gain experience in retail and time management.
So many of my weekdays were spent alone at home, doing my homework and assignments independently. I cannot recall one singly day that my parents ever had to ask me if my homework was up to date!I was the most serious kid at school, very strong in my Christian faith, knowing exactly what I was aiming for and why I was at school. I was not interested in partying and hanging out with the popular kids. Because of good marks and behavior, I was the teachers’ pet every year from year 1 – year 12! These days it is not cool for teachers to have a pet pupil! I was the Dux pupil in year 12.One of the very affirmative situations that occurred towards my medical career happened when I applied to Medical school.
I only applied to the Prestigious Medical School of Stellenbosch University – near Cape Town and the furthest away from home!
However, after not receiving any reply from them and almost 2 weeks before enrolling, I called up and heard they had not received or processed my application. They were going to call up the board members and have a special sitting to discuss my application. A few days later they called and confirmed I was accepted! God is faithful!Medical school was not that easy as I was far from home, feeling very homesick. However, my one and only sibling, an elder brother was also attending at the same university doing a BCom.6 Months into my 1st year, my parents decided to sell off their respective businesses and they relocated to Cape Town. Now I was more settled having home nearby and could focus more on my studies, only to find out that I was extremely tired and started having fainting attacks during hospital ward rounds. In short, I had a congenital cardiac defect, called an ASD (Atrial Septum Defect).So there I was having open heart surgery during my 5th year of Medical school. This proved to me more valuable than many books and hours of study – by just being a patient and on the receiving end. One thing it made me have much empathy with my patients.
When completing medical school, graduating as Dr Ettie le Roux, I returned to the northern parts of the country to a Homeland in South Africa called Bophuthatswana and worked in a Baptist Mission Hospital. During my first trip to one of the peripheral clinics I was asked to examine a patient who was having a post-partum bleed and she was lying on a blanket on the floor (no beds available). I was handed candle light for my examination of the patient. Such meagre facilities bring to the fore initiative and development of skills which I prize to this day!
The Medical Faculty of the University of Pretoria became involved in this rural hospital as part of their rural medical school/campus. That is how I met up again with my proctors and teachers from the University of Stellenbosch. They had made a career move and held Professorship postings at the Medical School of the University of Pretoria.
The opportunity arose for me to proceed with specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Pretoria. I do hold a great award to my teachers and what I had learnt from them. They continued to support me when I ventured out in 1996 to start in private practice in the city of Pretoria, adjacent to Johannesburg.
I met my husband in 1996, Chrisjan Joubert and we were married in 1997 and have 4 children! The eldest a girl, Anli, the second another girl, Madelie and then twin boys, Eduard and Christiaan.
I often share my experiences during pregnancy and childbirth with my patients and yes, I know exactly what they are talking about!
After 10 years in practice, with many patients being so dear to me, a thriving practice, a lovely home and family, the need arose to leave South Africa to find a safer physical environment to raise our children.
This in itself is a long story – it took us 5 years after receiving our Permanent Residency Visas, to actually make the decision to come to Australia. It took time because it is not easy – it is according to Psychology experts, one of the most stressful events in a person’s life – to emigrate!
Once again God was faithful, He made a way for us and led us to come to Wagga Wagga.
I recall my first interview soon after commencing private practice at Calvary Hospital – “I am here to serve the community of Wagga Wagga”.
I am a servant, not in any way a perfect human being. Yet I feel very privileged to share 20yrs of experience in O&G with my patients.
My commitment to you is purely what I would have for myself should I be the patient.
The memories of my patients and colleagues in South Africa are still with me. Many of my present patients remind me of similar personalities and patients of my practice way back then – it is just so special to me. The longing for home and for my dearly loved patients in South Africa have been stilled by equally special people and families that have become patients in my present practice!
Thank you so much for the kindness you bestow upon me!