Travelogue: Day 2
By Arthur Clark
Today started out as an early day. At 6 a.m., we started preparing for our departure from the Southern Sun Hotel, leaving for Port Elizabeth on South African Airways. Our flight wasn't until 10:20 a.m., but we planned to leave the hotel for the OR Tombo Airport around 8 a.m. I'd say we arrived at the entrance to the airport departure area around 8:30. This is where the story gets interesting. First, none of us in the delegation can catch all of the words spoken when we are seeking help from the local people. We seem more like struggling tourists. After I spoke with a few South African Airways staff members, I realized that we were only allotted five checked bags, but we needed to check seven. It took about 45 minutes to figure that part out. Way to go, Arthur. LOL
Once we got our boarding passes and got our bags checked, getting through security went more smoothly than we would have expected. After walking about the length of two football fields, we boarded our two-hour flight from Johburg, that's what they call it here, to Port Elizabeth. A cool hour and a half later, we landed and were greeted by Grahamstown Hospice Executive Director David Barker. Together we started out on the two-hour drive to Grahamstown. About an hour outside of the Grahamstown area, David pulled over and we had lunch at Nanaga Farm Stall. Yes, you read that correctly. We didn't ride horses. We had what they call "pies" as we sat outside and it was rather nice. Wouldn't you know it, Vonceil had to feed the birds. While she was having a grand ole time doing that, Pam decided to explore the Nanaga Farm Stall property area and take some pictures. Katie, Tangela and I browsed the store for items that Courtney Quirie had requested. Sorry Courtney, we didn't find anything yet.
After leaving Nanaga, we drove another hour and along the way we saw giraffes, zebra and other wildlife. It was a beautiful drive and the countryside was extremely breath taking. We arrived at one of the Grahamstown Hospice facilities where they were having a group session for about 13 HIV/Aids children, under the age of 12. It was a touching experience to say the least. The children in the group session introduced themselves to us, and we introduced ourselves to them. They sang and danced for about three songs. It was really something that I don't think any of us will ever forget. Vonceil was so happy that she joined in and danced. But when she tried to sing, she was only able to mouth some words which I'm sure had nothing to do with the words the kids were singing. Well, we still give her an A for effort. We passed out some of the gifts to the children that so many of our Haven Hospice team members had donated. These children were so appreciative. THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR GIVING!
We have checked into our rooms at Highstreet Guest House, and we are leaving for supper soon. That's it for now.
Haven Hospice Chief Information Officer Arthur Clark is one of five Haven Ambassadors chosen to travel to Grahamstown Hospice – our sister hospice organization in South Africa. The experience will provide an opportunity for the Haven Hospice Ambassadors to learn about end-of-life care in South Africa and to bring insights back to Haven Hospice to share with their colleagues. The selected Haven Ambassadors come from a variety of career paths and will bring a wide-range of experiences to the exchange experience: Pam Giebeig, hospice nurse; Tangela Wilson, respiratory therapist; and Vonceil Levine and Katie Alphahando, clinical social workers.