This is the last blog of our trip…
An overwhelming amount of thanks should be given to all of the people who made this journey and learning experience as remarkable as it was. The first and foremost person is Lisa McBeth-Snyder, without whom this entire trip would not have been possible nor as incredible! She has been a great teacher, mentor, resource and even “mom” to all of us girls over the last four weeks. I speak for everyone on this trip when I say she is an amazing person and we are more than lucky to have been able to share this entire experience with her!
HUGE thanks as well to both the Cape Town Hollow Hotel and The Courtyard for their wonderful accommodations, friendly and attentive staff (housing 23 girls is no small feat)! Also, big thanks to Patrick and Toni! And of course to our safari rangers and staff at Mashatu, they exceeded our expectations for the safari adventure!
And finally, to all of the moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends at home who made this trip possible for each of us! I can say first hand, as a TA and senior, the girls on this trip made all of you at home proud with their outstanding willingness to always go the extra mile, whether for a single patient or for the entire clinic.
The authors of Half The Sky (a book we read for class on the trip) state “to tackle an issue effectively, you need to understand it—and it’s impossible to understand an issue simply by reading about it. You need to see it firsthand, even live in its midst.” They are very right in their statement and we are fortunate enough to have been able to study abroad, in a country where there are serious issues facing maternal and child health. We have now witnessed firsthand the pressing issues occurring in South Africa as well as in many other parts of the world. In just a few short weeks, we have developed global perspectives on healthcare and reflected on issues in the US as well. Our new perspectives will certainly prove beneficial as we begin our careers in the health system (sadly very soon for those of us who are seniors!) and work with patients of all backgrounds.
The people we met on our travels to the clinics, hospitals, schools and orphanages were by far some of the most talented, beautiful and warm-hearted people we’ve ever met, but the girls who came on this trip were equally as amazing as them. We have learned so much from the people we encountered and through each other. We are leaving here with new friends in South Africa and Botswana as well as new friendships amongst ourselves. A person we met or experience we had during this trip has touched every single one of us and we will never forget the memories we have made with our friends, new and old.
As we crammed one last tanning and journaling session by the pool, it is safe to say we already miss South Africa and all of its beauty, from Table Mountain to Mashatu (even though that’s Botswana!) and every wonderful, kind and spirited person we have met along the way!
We will see you soon (after our 16 hour plane ride) and we probably will complain about the cold, but we will definitely talk your ear off about our adventures here in the wonderful Republic of South Africa!