Ever wondered what it’s like being a medic? Driving and racing in those ambulance vans to get to the next emergency scene? For us bystanders, we hear the sirens and hope everyone is okay and then we move on. But for the people behind scenes, they see the reality we only see in movies. One of those people is Ajay Esterhuizen, 20-year-old medic. He shares with us his inspiring story of how he became a medic and what he faces on a daily basis.

“My daily routine depends on the shifts I work. I normally prepare myself two hours before the time. I make sure I look neat because I want my patients to trust me and if I can’t look after myself, how could I expect others to trust that I am able to look after them? I also make sure I do enough research on anything I’m not sure of, I strive to continue learning and growing.”

Ajay resides in Strand, Western Cape but works in Cape Town. He is originally from the Free State. He explains to us the troubled times he had faced in primary school.

“I was a quiet kid. I would be shoved and pushed around, my head would be shoved in urinals, I would get mocked and nobody wanted to be seen with me, I felt like the hunchback of Notre-Dame.”

Because he knows what it’s like to be the underdog, he has a passion to help others, “to lift them up [the underdogs] and give them a fighting chance.”

Once the primary school years passed, he found it easier to make friends in high school. However, Ajay had dealt with the heartache of losing his own friends to suicide. “I’ve had many people close to me pass away, which made me feel helpless. I lost my own ex-girlfriend to suicide, she died in my arms. It drove me to not ever want to be as helpless I was on that day.”

When asked what the best part of his job is, he confidently says, “The best part of my job is to be able to make a difference. Whether it is to save a life, or to buy a family enough time to say goodbye, or just being able to hold the hand of the dying so that they know they are not alone. We get to make a difference. And that’s all that really matters.”

Ajay found it hard to explain the worst part of his job, because he tries not to think about it: “Knowing that there are certain things you have no control over, that is the part that eats me alive. Hearing screams of pain, watching people hold their loved one that passed away. It can challenge one’s faith and belief, without a doubt. There is nothing worse than having questions without answers.”

Ajay, with his heart of gold and determination to help others, clearly has a passion for what he does. He is described by his friends as a man with integrity. Besides being on the road, saving lives, he enjoys being with his loved ones.

“I spend some time with my family or play a bit of computer games before I go to sleep. On my off days, I like to go hiking or move into nature. Nothing beats those long drives and road trips with friends.”

Ajay then gives a warning to those wanting to pursue the field he is in: “If you have any second thoughts, then don’t do it. You need to have an incredible passion for it and be happy with it, make sure it really is what your heart wants.”

He then gives advice to those who are seriously considering becoming a medic: “Get out there. Apply for an observation seat in ambulance, gain experience and see what it’s like behind scenes. Ask the medic questions. Make sure you’re clued up, and if after that you’re still 100% determined, don’t let anything stand in your way.”