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Dear Alan, I can't quite believe how quickly these past four weeks have flown by, and I can safely say I have absolutely loved every single second of time here at Swanage. I arrived full of apprehension, but from the moment I stepped inside your wonderful house I knew I was going to have an amazing time here. It is truly extraordinary that you welcome us into your home and crate such a special atmosphere. Swanage is a family, and it is your huge heart and welcoming arms that make this house such a fantastic place to stay. the trip the the Pilansberg was utterly magical. The food, the company, that lion sighting-I can see why you cannot wait to get back to the bush! I will always remember Swanage as a place of fantastic company, fabulous food and friends for life. Thank you so much for everything I can't wait to be back. Love Anna Bickerdike Liverpool, UK
Sawubona Vusi. Home is where the heart is, and I appear to have left mine in Africa.I all seriousness, opening your house as you do to strangers from the far corners of the world is something special. I hope we enrich your life a little as you have certainly changed ours.Baragwanath is a little crucible of humanity and I have seen the worst things and those who graft relentlessly to pick up the pieces. After that I feel ready to be a doctor, what a gift. However, coming back to Swanage, a home, makes those things possible. Then is much to be said for good food, good wine and good friends. Especially when there are 50 millions stars for a bit of atmosphere or some lion, or both. I really hope it isn't long before I can return to this beautiful country, thank you.
Dear Alan I don't think I've ever been good with words but I'll give it a go. The past 6 weeks seem to have flown by but thinking back, paradoxically its difficult to think of how life was before Swanage. From the lovely dinners we've had together to the 'glamping" at pilanesberg to the life lessons we've learnt, Swanage, has become a home to me. And despite now getting the opportunity to see the rest of this amazing country, I still leave Swanage with great sadness. While we've been lucky to get some fantastic life advice from you while we've been here, the lesson I'll most take away is the one that you teach through your actions. By opening your house up to people from across the world, you show3 us how accommodating people can be and just how much we can all gain from doing the same. So in addition to the amazing scenery, wonderful animals, lovely but cheap wine, great food and great company, you'll see me back here in the not too distant future to have another go at being part of this community at Swanage. Hari Jeyabelen, Cambridge.
Dear Alan some emotions and experiences are difficult to express in words. My time at Swanage has been blissful. I would like to express a huge appreciation to you for creating an environment in which people from all over can come together and share new experiences. I've loved getting to know you better over this past month and coming to understand more about the things that you are passionate about; our safari was a special experience and I enjoyed the wisdom that you affectionately dispatched on a regular basis.When I think back on my time in Swanage I will remember good food, good company and good discussions. I will be glad to be remembered as the first (and quite possibly the last) person to jump in you pool at 5am on a winter morning. the friends I've made at Swanage will be friends for life and I thank you for this gift. I look forward to when our path's cross again in the future, and I have no doubt that they will. Chris Lovejoy Cambridge, UK
Dearest Alan. How do I begin? I arrived in South Africa on my own but now I feel that the people I have met over here are friends for life. that journey would not have been possible without my first South African friend, your good self. I have so many fantastic memories from my short 8 weeks, here, our Safaris in Rustenburg and Pilanesberg, house dinners and your frequent excellent life advice. I'm glad that I could bring a few firsts to Swanage, my passion for diving and whiskey, as well as my unfortunate patient experience with a bout of appendicitis! I couldn't have wished for a more supportive and fun host for my time here, so much so that you became much more than just a host. I will definitely be back in the rainbow nation, although perhaps more the Cape Town side! I have had an incredible and enriching experience here and I know it will remain with me long after I have left. My warmest wishes to you. I'll be back! Graeme Downes, RAMC "aka Captain.
“Amazing experience!” Stayed with alan while doing a trauma elective at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital.. He works as an intensivist at Chris Hani. It Felt more like I was staying with family.. Had lots of memorable family dinners.. Great stories over a delicious meal.. Alan is a fantastic host and a great role model! Made close friends with the other student there at the time and we're still in touch.. 🙂
“Home away from home :)” Our stay with Alan was excellent! He was a perfect host/dad to all us medical students who were visiting at the Bara and Charlotte Maxeke hospitals. We stayed for 4 weeks and had no trouble at all becoming native south africans - renting a car as parking was easy in Alan's drive and the area the house is in is very safe. Lots of shops nearby and lovely kitchen to cook in. The house has a very open vibe with everyone mingling and often having barbeque dinners together. Alan also has an excellent entertainment system with several DVDs on hand for nights in. If you end up at Swanage, do give Alan a big hug from us!
“Best decision of my elective” I undertook a 6-week trauma elective at Chris Hani Baragwanath in Summer 2014. My first visit to Johannesburg, I was understandably anxious about where I was going to live, how I'd commute to the hospital, how safe I'd be getting around the city etc. I found this accommodation through the recommendation of a friend who'd stayed the previous year. What a brilliant tip it turned out to be. Beautiful home, a friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable host, and a great mix of other visiting elective students. I felt I got a real insight into the local area, and a huge amount of advice on how best to spend my free time. (Local restaurants, bungy jumps, safari... to name a few). The house is brilliant: spacious rooms, huge social space, well-stocked kitchen and an industrial BBQ all for the use of guests. The area seemed very safe, and I didn't have any problems during my stay. Large supermarket a few minutes walk away, with a big shopping mall, butcher and off-licence a few minutes drive away. It's an easy commute on good quality roads to the hospital, and our host helped us to organise a hire-car for our stay. The price was very competitive, and I think extremely good value for what was included. If you're looking for a proper 'home' for your stay, with a friendly sociable atmosphere and somewhere to relax after a long trauma on-call shift, this is definitely the place.
“Homesick after leaving Swanage - still!” The most fortuitous part of my trauma elective at Baragwanath was staying at Swanage. Alan is amazing - felt at home from the start.....the house is in beautiful surrounds, the suburb safe for Johannesburg (I did a 8km run most days without issues). A community feel with other doctors and medical students. Beautifully stocked kitchen, shops nearby. Local ear and advice....plus safe/ supportive as all in house medical in background. Alan gave awesome advice for travel following my elective, stayed in touch since. I plan to visit soon - plus if specialty training allows, head back to work. Would I recommend? Absolutely! (as long as youre not taking the last bed when I want to go back!!)
“Medical elective - April-May 2015” Stayed in Swanage with friends on my medical elective for 8 weeks from April to May 2015. Alan has a large property with spacious rooms and 2 bathrooms. Alan is an extremely accommodating host and really goes the extra mile to make you feel completely at home. If you get a chance I would recommend going on safari with Alan to Pilanesburg! I will definitely be returning in the future!