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Dear Alan Listening to the sound of the miniature waterfalls - for me that pump could be running all night - sitting with the sun on my feet in the garden or in one of the big windows, Swanage is a hide away from the "wild" city of Johannesburg and Swanage is like home. I wasn't expecting such a place when looking into the student housing of Bara. Alan you accomplish with every one of us, to make a stay here turn into a South African Experience. You teach us how to be good doctors, how to define a good relationship and how to become a family with constantly changing members under the roof of Swanage. Thank you for opening your house and hour heart to me and to all Swans before my stay and those to come. As you know I'm a couch surfer and that taught me that, we will not change this world in a day, but we can teach change by changing one by one and one couch at a time, and for you that will be changing the world or making it a better place - one Swan at a time! Thanks for that patience and for the immense effort, I admire you for that0 and I will take some of this spirit home with me. Alan - I will be back 0 that's 100% for sure and I'll let you know when I come and I will want to have dinner with you and Brenda and listen to your life and safari stories! All the best wishes to you and you Swanage journey. Lots of love, yours Eva.
Dear Alan. Thank you so much for opening your doors for us. The way that you let people in and use your home as their own is incredible and generous beyond what I've seen before. Like you send yourself; "Swanage is a home to a big family, it's not a hostel. We've learned a lot during our stay, and to get back from work and just chill out in your garden was a carrot on a stick after every call. What better way to experience Pilanesburg than in a convoy with yourself and Brenda. Norway acknowledges your absolute competent leadership and if the safari is as good for the next group, they are lucky. Hope to see you sooner that later!
Dear Al/Big-Al/Swan Commander Thank you for welcoming me into your home and making me feel like it's my own. You embraced me with open arms and from the start, and gave me such a great place to come back to Post call from Bara or travels. I leave Swanage with a book full of Al's life quotes, and some incredible photos from an amazing Pilanesberg Safari. My time living working and travelling in South Africa is not one that I will forget quickly. thanks always and best wishes. Soctt (from Australia).
Dear Alan. I'm having my last coffee at Swanage this very moment, trying to think of what I should write....You've probably noticed that I've been rather cautious or even scared of the "big and violent Joburg" in the beginning. I'm so glad you could take away my fears of where to go and what to do with all your local knowledge. Unfortunately Johannesburg or even South Africa has a rather bad reputation back home, which I will try to fix as much as I can. I probably haven't met as many welcoming and friendly people as here in all the traveling I've done. When I was looking for accommodation here one of my most important things were, that i wanted to find a place to feel at hoem and meet friends after the awful long trauma-calls at Bara. You and Swanage have made this happen. Besides learning a ton of useful medical skills I also got a different view on how lucky we actually are to live and work in places like that. I'm honestly impressed how things are being done here with a lot of improvising, effort and often times difficult circumstances. After all I am very glad to still be able to travel this beautiful country and thanks your advice find the best spots. thanks for all the great memories Alan. Plans for 2017 are being made. Keep in touch , ma bru. Aug wiedershen, Basti
Dear Alan. Where to start? I've had one of the best months of my life, living out here with you in Swanage (and th others). From the moment, we arrived, I've felt at home (which is a hard feat to accomplish) greeted with a big bear-hug. It's surreal that the days flew by, but you managed to squeeze in a ton of braai's ...and the large number of medical students featuring at the parties, mostly discussing how amazing this town is, made it easy to make friends. The large amounts of love and affection floating around this house just gives it such a great vibe! If I could rewind to entering Swanage for the first time again (just to experience the happy delight again) I would! Thank you so much Alan - God bless you. Lots and lots and lots of love Vidhya (UEA + Singapore)
Dear Alan. It's so hard to write this because I can't believe my time at Swanage is coming to it's end. It's been an incredible journey and you have made every step of the way special. Greeting us with open arms into your home, and all the previous memories thereafter. How can I sum up my time in a single letter, there are no words to express how grateful I am to you,. I was so nervous about coming away to a strange country, for a long time I could never have imagined that I could feel at home out here. Swanage has been my home away from home for the last 6 weeks and somewhere I will always look forward to coming back to. I know we will stay in touch, first and foremost as friends and secondly as the Swan website manager. It was great to get the Swan's together to create something that will add to the lasting memories we have of here.. Thank you too for taking Vidhya and I on your ward round in Bara. We gained a huge amount from both what we saw with you and from your teaching. I wish we had had more time to have done more. I hope I will take away your ethos for life, to work hard but always make time to enjoy everyday of it, and most importantly to enjoy the company of those around me. Best wishes Kate.
Dear Alan. Firstly I'd like to thank you for all the fantastic days, nights and early mornings that you've let me stay at Swanage. Officially I wasn't a Swan, however your offer to make me an honorary Swan meant Swanage became my home. There's no doubt that I'll be back in Joburg and Swanage, in the future, so won't say goodbye. Instead "I'll see you just now". Thanks again for making me feel so welcome. I'll never forget this trip (one of my best yet) Best James Duffell.
I can't believe this is coming to an end. Four weeks isn't a long time, so it was all bound to end sooner than later. With everything I've experienced it feels as if I've been here so much longer. On one of our first nights we talked about that the experience/teaching in the hospitals would only be 50% medical. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to come out here and improve my skills in trauma, but I am even more grateful for all the talks, we've had and all the life lessons you've taught me. You are an amazing person with an open heart, warm personality and you're hospitality goes beyond words...I am happy to have met you and am sure we'll spend more evenings together drinking tea and playing "relationship chess" on the squares of the kitchen floor. Now big sister swan is leaving, but it is not without sadness in my heart for I will miss you and all of my newly found brother/sister swans. Lindaborg82@gmail.com
To my South African dad Our Swan Commander, Father Alan, Vusi, thank you so much for hosting us these 8 weeks. You've been a father, a teacher, a mentor and an amazing host! Swanage will always be my home away from home and definitely my port of call when I return to South Africa. I know this is definitely just the beginning of my adventures here in Africa and there will be many more experiences to be shared. in addition, this book isn't big enough to contain all the memories. To all future medics....1) Congrats on choosing Swanage: You've chosen well 2) Do consult Alan when planning your trips around Africa 3) Drive safely and wear your seat belts 4) Finally, just make Swanage your home and enjoy. I will see you again Alan, hopefully in the near future. Hope to see you in Singapore. Much love Don
Father Alan, it's been exactly 2 months since you accepted us into your home and on behalf of all three imperial puppies, I can safely conclude that we have enjoyed every single moment of it. Living in Swanage has been great! I would like to thank you for all the memories, the big manly hug at Oliver Tambo Airport, the braais, the stories, the Big 5, the people are only but some of the things that I will carry with me and for that I am thankful. Most of all thank you for your prayers, they came in very handy in Nambia. Swan Commander, Trip Advisor, Dr P, Vusi, The Doctor-Priest Guy, whatever people call you, the one common denominator is that everyone I met knows you as a beautiful soul. Keep shining and spreading the unbounded love you have to all that have the pleasure of being in your presence. Swanage is unlike other places because it is not "accommodation" but a home. I am a better person as a result of Swanage and the people I have met here. See you soon (Rasheed double puppy Rabiu)