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Dear Alan. Thank you so much for everything! It has been a wonderful 2 months and you've made Swanage a warm and welcoming place. We weren't sure we were going to make it at one point, but I'm glad we did. This is by far the best attachment to date. I will always fondly remember your expertise, wise wisdom and humour. The Pilanesberg Safari will remain a treasured memory and I'm certain I will be back to explore the rest of this beautiful country. As request highlights of Garden route 1. Sights/People 2. Surfing at Jeffrey's bay 3. Shark diving at Mossel baai (Cheaper and more close-knit team/less commercialised) 4. Wine tasting at Franschoek. If you are ever in New Zealand - do not hesitate to drop by. Much Love Arkar Thein
Dear Alan. What a wonderful two months it has been. Thank you for all the hospitality you have provided and especially taking Arkar and I at such a short notice. It has been great living with you and everyone else. Opening Swanage to us elective students has made the stay feel more like home, especially in those moments when you are feeling a bit home sick. You have been an inspirational figure with both the medical career and the involvement you have outside of it. This has been truly an unforgettable experience I sincerely hope that I will return in the near future. Kind regards Cheng Kai Jin (CK)
Dear Alan. You Sir, are one of a kind. Thank you for sharing me your home as well as some of your wisdom and look on life. "Father Alan" seems to hold two meanings. We have you in your priestly role and you as lord of our household ( I wish I could think of another role to make the Trinity) I knew from the moment you saved me from the dark scary Bara that you would be an excellent father for the next few weeks. I wish I could have stayed longer to get to know your better. The Safari has been a fitting farewell for now! Many thanks and all the best! Josh Marston
Dearest Alan. I've been trying my best to avoid having to write in this beloved Swan book, knowing that I have to inevitably say goodbye to this amazing place that I've called home for the last 3 months! I think most Swans soon realise post warm-embracing bear hug of yours that they haven't just signed up for your run-of-the-mill shared accommodation equipped with Koi pond. It was and still is a home-away-from-home that I've grown so attached to. Alan, you truly are such an amazing human being, which makes Swanage what it is, Your humility, warmth, friendliness and wisdom isn't just evident from the praise that undoubtedly comes from all the Swans, but through the interactions with your colleagues, registrars, interns and students. It's certainly inspired me to strive to become a more compassionate and understanding physician and person. Thank you so much for adopting me into this family of yours, and showing me the wonders of the bush. You most definitely have a home in New Zealand or Singapore if you make it to that side of the world. Much Love Shen Oh
Dear Alan. Our 8 weeks in South Africa have been amazing, and we are so sad to be leaving both the wonderful country we have come to love and the second home that is Swanage! It has been more than just a place to sleep, the diverse range of "Swans" and your constant pearls of wisdom have enriched our elective more than we ever imagined possible when we booked in to stay well over a year ago! We were thrilled to find a restaurant you hadn't yet visited in Johannesburg. The advice you gave us that night about or Trip to the Kruger Park and the hours you spent telling us about where to camp and what to do when confronted by an angry elephant were invaluable, especially when it happened during one of the game drives. Thank you for introducing Nick to the wonders of the Toyota Fortuner, he is now enquiring about importing one in the UK, and it made our Kruger experience even better! If you are ever heading to the UK please do get in touch, you are always welcome! If not see you in a few years when we return! Much love Jenny Hunt (SWAMBO) and Nick Scallan
Dear Alan I came to Swanage expecting nothing more than a bed, but I've left have met your wonderful self and new friends for life. I was born in South Africa, speak Afrikaans like a boer and English like a Pom. I thought I had a good understanding of this country. I was wrong. I'd like to thank you for educating me about my country of birth .I have learned so much. This is wholly due to the amazing atmosphere you have created here at Swanage. This place is truly a refuge and a home. I take home with me many cherished memories, new knowledge and friends for life. Thank you. If you are ever in the UK look me up. With love, NIck Prinsloo Brentwood UK
Dear Alan. You are most definitely one of a kind. Not only for being a Man of God, a Doctor, as well as a keen park ranger but for the person you are and the way you make people feel, warm comfortable and accepted for the person that they are. As well as the effect you have on people both in your personal and professional life as a doctor. You are most definitely following your calling which is to be a healer in more than one sense of the word, spiritual physical, mental and many more. In Islam we believe that everyone is judged based on their intentions and may God reward you for all your efforts in helping others. Many narrations from the time of the prophet describe his teaching Once the prophet (peace be upon him) was asked who is most beloved to God. The prophet replied in some narrations that he who is most beloved to God is the one who benefits (or helps the most people), other narrations he mentions "he who is beloved by the people".. I feel this narration fits well and make me think of you. You have helped so many people through your work. both spiritually and in the hospital. You readily offer a few words and a smile to strangers. One thing I am to take away from my time in Swanage is to try and make a difference in people live how I have seen you have, is an amazing example that you are. God bless you Alan and may we be reunited in the afterlife and cherish the found memories we spent together. I leave you in the protection of God. Best wishes Mustafa Franka 9 April 2017
Dearest Alan I'd like to start by thanking you for continually surprising me. I really didn't know what to expect when I landed in Johannesburg. I certainly did not expect my priest-pulmonologist park ranger host to greet me with a warm hug and in Arabic. You have truly given me a crash course in hospitality from going out of your way to procure halal meat for us, to finding out where the hospital prayer room was and to sharing so many life lessons. I can't wait to inculcate moving forward. To any new Swans reading this - Congratulations. You are in for an experience you won't soon forget. Expect lessons about love, grass and ten ways to make coffee! I leave with a full heart and optimism about the future. You have a home to stay in for as long as you like in London. I hope our paths cross again.
Dear Alan. The time and effort you invest in other people is astonishing and truly inspiring. This little swan you are sending back in to the rest of the world will certainly convey the spirit of Swanage into the society in which we live. Starting from facts on elephants to the defense mechanisms of plants I have learned so much that will change my view on the wildife I see in future, for both animals and humans. Please keep the Swanage open as long as possible so many generations of young doctors and students can benefit from this experience. With my best wishes (Midas -the kurdish Jesus) --Midas is slim tall with dark long hair and a beard and often nicknamed Jesus.
Where do I start? Lets start with your garden and castle, since that's where my experience began. Rarely has another's home put me so much at ease. My ability to find refuge and quietude listening to the babble of the koi pond fountain was a treat, to hear the birds chirping and to share meals and conversation was divine and harkens back to memories of my childhood. Suffice it to say that your home felt like my own and in a new country (new continent and new hemisphere!) that kind of reassuring and comforting feeling is absolutely priceless. Then of course there was our safari in Pilanesberg seeing four of the big six (hippo's are dangerous too) and countless wilflife besides was the fulfillment of years of anticipation - layer in the camping and the never -ending menu and it's a trip I'll cherish. But what I am most appreciative of, in awe of and inspired by is the man you are Alan. This amazement and respect does not end with the end of my time at Swanage. You've left a mark on me that will not soon fade. From a generosity that offers lessons on goodwill toward mankind, to a wit and sharp humour that disarms in English, Zulu or otherwise, and a philosophical spirit that allowed for some of the best conversations I've had. In a country as complex and in-transition as much as South Africa, the visitors to Swanage are so fortunate to have a man as perspicacious as you to help navigate. But more so, a country as wounded a South Africa is beyond blessed to have a devoted healer but it's side. The lessons I have learned from you have made me a better physician and a man and I look forward to our paths crossing again. With Love and Respect Reid Haflich (Boston, USA)