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Hey Alan, the past three months passed by so fast. From my first day in Swanage I felt like home. Thank you a lot for so many things: All the really advices, which made life in Joburg so much easier, the awesome safari (Unfortunately without leopards), all the restaurants you showed us and the nice evenings we spent there together (I loved the Indian place) and of course all the enlightening and interesting stories about life and South Africa you shared with us. After the exhausting and crazy shifts in Bara I was always happy to know that there is a home with nice people and a lovely garden to relax. You are a great host and I would come back anytime. Hope to see you again! All the best wishes from Felix.
Dear Alan. Thank you so much for everything! We enjoyed every minute in Swanage and are so thankful that you created a home for us so far away from home. We will never forget the friendly loving atmosphere, your understanding and the fun we had with you. You always knew when it was time for a good steak, plus you always knew where to get this steak. You showed us lion in Pilanesberg (alas the leopards were not seen), you cooked the best meals, you gave us precious travel tips so we could and did eventually see leopard. You taught us how to handle the crazy patients, doctors and nurses in Trauma, you inspired us and generously let us into your home life! You always say that everyone brings a first to Swanage. Well here is a list of our firsts: 1. You had to set up camp twice because we did not find the right spot. 2. You had to stay awake until 2am because we had to finish Marcel's famous Gin and Tonic. 3. We were all guys with one princess on Safari. 4 First time to do a safari open vehicle drive with Gin and Tonic on board. Thank you! We truly appreciate it. We hope you will have many more Swans. All the best from Marcel and Max.
Alan. The love you share with people around you is not to be forgotten. You have got a big heart for your brothers and sisters and for the things you do. Passion, kindness and hospitality you embrace. These small things like sharing your food, lighting a candle before a meal, asking how was your day - it's very nice. It has been a pleasure to get to know you. Our trip to Pilanesberg - Private Safari, seeing leopard so many times for so long. Life's amazing isn't it? All the best Alan, hope to see you again. You're welcome to in Norway Marta
Dear Alan many thanks for contributing to such a great time. Your welcoming and open way made me feel almost like at home. I just don't know where you get your energy from, do you have a hidden source??? It's always good to have one or more safe spaces, thank you! I'll be back for sure, maybe sooner than one would think! You have a safe space in Germany. I'm more than grateful for my choice of accommodation here in Josi. Thorbs
Dear Alan You have created something really very special here at Swanage and I have felt kindness and openness that is rare to find, although I need not say anything more about that as I am sure you have heard this all before, I have had an utterly terrific time here! More than anything else I am pleased to have met such friendly and interesting people during my time here., and there is no greater feeling than knowing you have made friends new friends from around the world, whom you can turn to when you visit their country, or they visit your own. I have enjoyed my time in SA so much that I would be keen to return some day! Should you find yourself in London or Macedonia, it would be a pleasure to see you again. Many, many thanks and all the best ! Damjan Veljanoski DAMJANDV@gmail.com
Dear Alan. Merci Beaucoup pour le temps magnifique a la maison Swanage! We enjoyed our time here very much - starting right off to Safari was awesome, your late-night round table discussions were as enlightening as they were interesting, going out for dinner was always a joyful even, your piano concerts amazed us... Thank you for making us feel at home and sharing your vast knowledge of living and travelling in South Africa ! We are sure you will treat the future Swans with as much kindess and hospitality and we'll be happy to return some day. Danilo, Laura (les trois - the three) Swiss.
Dearest Alan and Swan Banter Family. Thank you for letting us be apart of your home. We loved every minute of Swanage, all the banter, the safaris, dinners and laughs. you have touched us all in so many ways. Our Swanage family will forever be in our hearts. This isn't goodbye, but farewell for now. Thank your being our father. Love always The Aussies Matthew Lindfield, Aiasha Saikal, Trish Griffiths and Hardip Chahal. (An extensive list of where to go and what to do was left in the Swan Book.)
Dear Alan: Happy birthday for the 21 August. It is with total joy that I write this excerpt in the Swan book, to be a part of this community - your community - has been an absolute privilege. I came to Joburg for the trauma, without much regard for anything else, however Swanage has offered a wealth of understanding of South Africa, it's way of life and it's people that I was foolish to omit in my decision to come here. In the midst of the turmoil that bestows ward 163, yourself and Swanage are a blissful retreat that fosters time for reflection and kindling of relationship unlike anywhere else. Future Swans should absolutely make the most of their opportunities here and for God's sake LISTEN TO THE SWAN COMMANDER!!! As discussed this will not be my last time in South Africa and I hope to see you sooner rather than later. If you are in the UK Alan, please do contact me and I can show you what Scotland has to offer!. SWANS: work yourself to the bone, but don't forget "there is no systole without diastole" so make the most of your time with this wonderful and man and his beautiful home. With utmost Gratitude (Prof) Michael Helley Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Alan, I genuinely find it hard to believe that my time here at Swanage has come to an end! Like many things in my life, I'll attempt to explain using a recipe Swanage Souffle. 1x Swan Commander, 10x medical students, 1x Swanage, 1x Banter, 1x Love, generosity, kindness, 1x Community, Dash of alcohol or as required 1x Safari, 8x Fahrenheit Steaks. Take all the ingredients and combine in a cool climate of rugged South Africa for a once in a lifetime experience. Food aside, I cannot begin to thank you for the kindness and generosity you have shown me, there are very very few people who even begin to come close. Your jokes, advice and worldly knowledge surpass that of a lifetime, and I only believe you're a priest as well for the bants and robes. Cheers for letting me try them on. Alan and South Africa I will see you again. Whether as a doctor or something else, I/m coming bank whether you like it or not! ::))
Dr Peter, Swan Commander, Pulmnologist, Piano Player, Game Ranger, Elephant Whisperer. After 11 weeks in Swanage I am very sad to be leaving my second home. I hope someday to return for a reunion hopefully with the same swans whom I have shared your home with. I have many highlights of my tine in South Africa. Our Elephant encounter in the Pilanesberg is a memory I shall keep for the rest of my life!!!! Swanage was my home away from home, the family in a foreign land, I have made friends that I hope to keep for the rest of my life. I appreciate all the wisdom and advice you have shared with me over my time in Johannesburg especially in the dark moments, your words of comfort made ALL the difference to me. I wish I had left more time to write something meaningful and compassionate in the Swan Book. But like all good things my time in Swanage must come to an end. So this is no goodbye Father Alan, but farewell for now. I hope you continue to share your love and guidance with future Swans for many years to come. You set a standard as a good human that we all should aspire to. Till we meet again. John Canon June to August 2017. Swanage will be forever in my heart and often on my mind.
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)
I know this is a short one, but time is running and we're under pressure to rush to the airport. Thank you for you hospitality and your warmth and understanding and for just being the best foster-dad one could wish for. I really enjoyed my time here at your house and in Joburg in general. All the best and stay as you are! Sabine from Germany
Thank you for a fantastic time at Swanage Alan! What a great time I've had here. I super appreciate all the "local knowledge" you've shared, and the welcoming environment you have created here. Thanks so much for being my South African dad while I was here ! You have been amazing. What a fabulous community you have fostered-made me feel right at home! Jamie
What a wonderful time I've had in Jo'burg and what a big part of that Swanage has been. Such a welcoming and warm place. Alan you've been a star. Thanks for all your help with everything. I'll never forget my time here. All the best. Jen, Oxford England
What can we say? Swanage was like a second home. Although when we landed, jet lagged beyond belief we went straight into go-mode with dinner. Within an hour Alan you saved us six thousand rand with your local knowledge and instead of Kruger for a day, you set up our own Safari in the Pilanesberg. These memories will stick with me forever. Although we only stayed for 10 days, it already feels like family. Much Love Darragh. and Justin (Emergency Medicine Physicians).
Dear Alan. the time went away too quickly!! Thanks for your generosity and many Swanage firsts. thanks for the wonderful welcome of the new years lunch with friends, taking us shopping and just making us feel at home. Thanks for the trip to Pilanesberg, it was amazing - but you still owe me some wild dogs and a leopard. Thanks for organizing the trip to Tsephong hospital and your ward rounds. I can honestly stay Ive never learnt so much in a short period so thanks. Your generosity, kindness and professionalism are impressive and inspiring. I look forward to catching up in the future. Cheers Jaime
Dearest Father Alan This is a message that should have been planned because our journey, our home together in Swanage has been so special and a memory I will hold close to my heart for ever. Thank you so much for everything, for the life lessons, the Safari to Pilanesberg. For hosting my brother Paras and for the friendly banter sessions. You truly shared your home with us and for that iam truly grateful and hope you will come visit in New Zealand. Best Wishes, Manshu. (Paras: - Alan you made our stay a home away from home and made me feel so safe even though I was only here for a few days. Thank you so much for everything. I had the best steak ever at your favourite restaurant. You must visit New Zealand
Dear Swan Commander. First of all thank you for having me to stay in your beautiful home for the past 6 weeks. It is a truly wonderful retreat, a place to relax and get away from the stresses of hospital life and also a place to make friends and explore South Africa from. I'd like to thank you for providing me with such a warm welcome; it was wonderful surprise to be greeted with a hug rather than the usual awkward handshake. I felt this set a precedent for the rest of our stay and is symbolic of Swanage itself; warm friendly and completely different to any accommodation I've stayed in before. It has been a fantastic place to stay I do hope to return in the future to enjoy it once again. I'd like to also thank you for providing me with some of the most brilliant memories of the natural world I have to date. the trip to the Pilanesberg was my first Safari experience and boy was it one to remember! From the meticulous planning of the meals to Bernie's Pride (4x4 trailer) to the two way radios, I found myself falling in love with the whole experience and am so envious that this forms such a part of your life! The experience we shared with the lions at the fence (at night on foot) was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen or heard not to mention your spine tingling and blood curdling roar when the lion rushed at you! Thank you so much for having the enthusiasm to run to the fence when we heard the lions' roars, then enabling me to witness such beautiful animals up close. I's also like to say thank you for introducing me to your beautiful fried rice recipe which I hope will be a crowd pleaser when I cook it back at home! This will remind me of my brilliant time at Swanage. It is with some sadness that we leave Swanage and this community but we look forward to the next adventure knowing we shall return. I hope nothing changes in that time because it is perfect as it is!! James Noble Johnson (JNJ) UCL - the Actual chess master of Swanage.
Dear Alan. Thank you for a truly unforgettable 6 weeks with you at Swanage. I have come to really love the city of Johannesburg and will certainly be returning as soon as I get the chance. I take away with me some memories that will last a lifetime - in particular our trip to the Pilanesberg together (using the radio to call in Disco 4 from Bateleur; sometimes unfortunately on other channels too). and the time we spent playing the piano together - you play Chopin's fantasia impromptu with such amazing passion and elegance that I can only hope one day to emulate, and our brief session playing Taize together (such a pity we never managed to form a Swanage Choir. I hope you and future Swans make good use of the hammock we gave you - we felt it a perfect addition to both the lovely post night shift memories here and for the Pilanesberg base-camp. Much Love Professor Mackrill (Sam)
Dear Alan Since arriving in South Africa 6 weeks ago and first meeting you with your trademark embrace, I have struggled to convey who Alan Peter is and what makes him such a special person. Sometimes it's the conversations over dinner, most memorable for your story-telling and hilarious and sometimes just weird turn of phrase or other times it has been days out in the bush in Pilanesberg, followed by braai's in the evenings punctuated by the sounds of a lion roaring around the campground. For some reason one snippet of my time here in Swanage seems to me to highlight one of the many things I'll take away from you. The night before heading to Pilanesberg I popped down to the kitchen to grab a glass of water. You were sitting in your office and excitedly invited me in to take a look at the excel spread sheet you'd been busily preparing for our time in the bush. you had noted down 3 courses and 3 meals for each day including every fine detail and your excitement for the trip (despite having done it countless times before) was infectious. This enthusiasm for life, friendships and the natural world is something I have never seen anyone possess in such quantities. I have loved my time here at Swanage and in J'oburg. I'm pleased to be a Swan for life and I look forward to my next visit! Best Wishes James Steckelmacher (London UK) Swanage chess champion 2017
Alan, big man. Wow what an experience. Thank you so much for welcoming me into the Swanage family. The very thought of being a trauma registrar at Bara gave me nightmares, but I made it, 3 months, no doubt in part to your wise words and positive attitude. From our trip to Pilanesberg and your advice about all the spots to stop on my trip of your beautiful country I cannot thank you enough. You're enthusiasm for life is infectious and I admire it greatly. Keep offering this wonderful service of yours to come. I am sure many more students and doctors will love what your home has to offer. Cheers Ryan
Dear Alan. I will never be able to thank you enough for saving me in Johannesburg from Mondeor, your endless hospitality enthusiasm, wisdom, advice, giving us an extraordinarily enjoyable and memorable Christmas of of course who could forget Pilanesburg! What an incredible experience from start to finish! I will deinitely be back for more of bara and when I am this Swan will be returning to it's nest here at Swanage. You've got an extraordinary ability to create a family environment here across cultural barriers and I'll definitely be sending all my friends coming your way for an extra special SA experience. This is a see you soon, not a goodbye my friend. If you're ever in Melbourne you have accommodation as long as you like. Nicholas Goulding
Dear Alan, I cannot express my gratitude for you or the home that you have provided for me. From the very minute of arriving a Swanage I knew that I was in the right place. I started off quite tentative about the Bara experience and the city, but now I can truly call Johannesburg a city that I love and adore. I even grew the balls to go out drinking on my last night. Even though it was in one of the safest areas....I just want to say that you are one extraordinary man and that you have taught ma a whole lot in a short 5 weeks. Thank you so much for setting up Swanage and giving me the chance to make life-long friends from all around the world. For any future Swans reading this, you are in for a real treat and your time will fly by. I will definitely be back my friend, and I will definitely be staying at Swanage with 100 of my family members for their three free nights accommodation::)) Thanks for everything Alan. James (Editor: Once you have stayed at Swanage you get three free nights whenever you return).
Dear Alan, Thanks for providing a home that I felt like part of a family. I have made some great friends and had wonderful experiences. your incredibly knowledgeable guide through the Pilanesberg game reserve is an experience I shall never forget.. Thanks also for the great group of guys that I met while here at Swanage. Most of all, thank you for making me feel welcome. i can only imagine how hard it may be to make people from different nationalities and backgrounds feel at home, yet somehow it seems easy here. My stay at Swanage has made me a better person, which is all I could have hoped for. Cheers Sam.
Dear Alan, when I was planning my trip to Jhb one year a ago and I asked around for good accommodation I got to hear tons of stories about this strange multi-talented doctor-priest and his student home (thanks to Eva Roels who came to Swanage earleir) I was so unsure what to expect. After 3 months I can say that Swanage has been a big and unforgettable part of my South African experience. To start the day with a cup of coffe in your lovely garden listening to your waterfalls into the koi pond watching the koi fish jump made the days at bara much easier and enjoyable. Thanks for showing me around Joburg, the Pilanesberg and providing me with such helpful advice to plan our weekend trip and to survive in general. You have such an amazing ability to welcome people of different nationalities, ages and interests at you house and make them feel comfortable. I'm glad and a bit proud that I have been one of them. Cheers Oliver.
Dear Alan I came to Swanage as a Cygnet in 2007 (before the web site and guestbook). In these nine years I have been to many other lakes since then, but more than that when I came into Swanage, I felt so instantly at home. Best wishes to Swanage and all who continue to sail in her. (Editor: Tim returned for a short visit, now as a consultant in internal medicine on holiday in South Africa).
Dear Abuna Alan, a month ago when I arrived to The Swanage you realized that I am a Palastinian Catholic with Israeli Passport. I got the warmest hug from you and I realized this month will be better than I expected. Thank you for your local knowledge, your help and for being so positive. You made our stay so comfortable. Hopefully I will come back to Swanage in some years and you're welcomed to visit me in Israel or Hungary. Thank you very much my Albi
Dear Alan before we got here we heard all the rumours about the Swanage Experience, and it did fill all expectations. You are probably one of the most welcoming and fascinating person we have ever met. Few people would open their home to seven Norwegian strangers and let them drink liters of Amarula and eat kilo's of pizza without as much as one complaint. Thank you so much for your hospitality and not to mention our amazing safari gastronomic adventure in Pilanesberg. We hope you will continue to open your house to strangers and make them feel like they are at home. Never stop air frying food and good luck with the piano playing on the grand piano. We hope to see you on you tube next year. Love and Kisses
Dear Fr Dr Alan I can't believe that the time is over already, it was seriously a pleasure to stay here and to have interesting conversations with you. You are such a happy, joyful and positive person, what makes it so comfortable to stay here and to spend time with you. I am not a man of big words. looking forward to see you again you are welcome in Germany
Dearest Alan. It has been an absolute pleasure to stay in you home and share your company. For you to have had so many people stay at Swanage and to still make such an effort to make each and every one feel so welcome and so special to you is....well adjectives fail me, but the generosity you show in sharing your house with total strangers and including them in so much of your life is truly amazing. Keep up the piano and making sure people get to hear you play; it's too much of a gift to not share it and the emotion with which you play.In the Pilanesberg, you told the teacher we met who had adopted one of her students that "a special place in heaven was reserved for her, well far be it from me to prescribe to such a place existing, but in your own way you do similar; not with one but with the hundreds of people you have welcomed into your home, making each feel like Swanage is as much their home as it is yours, is truly inspiring. the generosity you show to all you meet is a greater lesson than any that can be found in a hospital, and one that I hope to be able to emulate in part one day. i look forward to returning Home to Swanage some day. With Love Daniel Jackman, King's College London
Al, what an adventure it has been! From the first bear hug we shared I knew I had arrived in a good place. Thank you for being so incredibly welcoming. It is so nice to come back from a call at Bara to a HOME rather than a house. I have to mention the Pilanesburg- MAGICAL. I remember shrieking with excitement when I saw my first warthog so seeing lions, elephants, giraffes was just FANTASTIC. thank you for sharing your passion with us all - eternally grateful. I have had an amazing time in such a short 4 week stay. Thank you for taking us to delicious restaurants and allowing us to share meals with you and your closest. Your enthusiasm for medicine and life itself is infectious. You have shown me where my passion for medicine and patients can take me --a gift. Love, light and lemons. Eleanor Jarvis, UEA,
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!
My brother, thank you for the great time I was allowed to spend at Swanage. I've enjoyed every single day of my stay in Johannesburg because of you. You are a very special perso, Someone who approaches people without any prejudice, You are one of the most hospitable, open minded and generous person I've every met. You always see the good side of a person and Ive never heard you say anything negative about someone. Just by reading your Swanage book I recognised, that with your personality you influenced many people in a positive way and I hope that you will continue this in the future. You can't imagine how happy I am that I have chosen your place to stay while I've been in Jo'burg because you gave me a place to stay which feels like home far away from home. Even the 30 minutes drive to Bara every morning were worth it. I won't take your friendship for granted and I really hope that I'll see you soon. All the best, your middle eastern brother Farjard.
Dear Alan. Words are not enough to describe my time at Johannesburg and Swanage.... So I will try and keep it simple. I wanted to thank you for everything you've done but also continue doing for us and for all the unforgettable memories i will take with me back home. The amazing trip to Pilanesberg with the leopard sighting. Bernie's pride - the best vehicle in the whole world, your overwhelming LK (local knowledge), your wise words and last but not least the home made dinners and the the time we spent together at Swanage. Until we meet again. Natalia (Lady Glibbery).
Alan, thanks so much for a great time at Swanage and for making it a home away from home. I was extremely lucky to find your place and I appreciate the great lengths you went ot make us all feel comfortable. Pilanesburg was also fantastic and I'm so glad I could join! SA was an awesome experience overall and it wouldn't have been the same without Swanage. I may be sending you some Americans next year, we're severely underrepresented in the community.. Please let me know if you're ever in the US and hopefully I'll be back in SA soon! Keep up all the great work. You've made an awesome place at Swanage.
Dear Alan. thank yhou for giving me a new home on the southern hemisphere. Time passed by so quickly, I feel like comaing back soon. So there is no need of saying good bye, rather see you soon. Your open heart inspires me of how to be a better person. I will never forget your delicious cooking and your close connection to nature. Having such a cosy retreat was a great balance for me, coping wit hthe rough reality in hospital. Next time I will hopefully have the chance to experience Pilanesberg together wit hyou. All the Best. Cecilia Veraar Cecilia.email@example.com
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)
I honestly couldn't recommend a better place to stay Dr Alan Peter's generosity, kindness and hospitality brings together medical comrades from the world over, combined with his excursions such as camping trips in Pilanesberg, where he is a part time game ranger, together with trips he often does to the Kalahari etc, experience in rural medicine, will give u a once in a lifetime experience and friendships of a lifetime and a true experience of South African culture and generosity from the inside. His braais (bbq's) and inspired cooking is only second placed by his kind generosity. His extensive list of "swans" (named after the house name of "Swanage", is truly international. Leaving South Africa and its memories will lead to heart wrenching goodbye as u leave after a stay here Dinesh Ratnapala General surgeon Australia
I don't even know how I can thank you. How can I thank you for welcoming me in your wonderful house? How can I thank you for making me fell like home? How can I thank you for getting me in touch with all those lovely people at Swanage who became friends? You, Swanage and its residents made my stay in Johannesburg a wonderful and unique time. You, Swanage and its residents made me learn and taste so many new and exciting things. You, Swanage and its residents simply made me happy. A bientot mes amis.
Sehr nettes Wohnen in Johannesburg speziell für Medizinstudenten. Es ist immer gut gebucht und man kommt schnell in Kontakt mit anderen Studenten und Ärzten aus aller Welt. Dazu hat man mit dem Eigentümer jemanden, der sich sehr gut in JoBurg auskennt und auch in den Nationalparks der Umgebung.
Cher Ala(i)n, Au debut, merci beaucoup, beaucoup pour tout. Pour ta generosite ton soutien, ta gentilesse, ta patience et l'attitude positive. So since I feel now much more comfortable even in writing English, compared to the beginning I will switch to English, It has been a great pleasure to have had the possibility spending two months with you. Even looking forward to Capetown, I feel already sad to leave this place while writing this. I made such incredible experiences in joburg and I feel to have become a doctor more than ever before. It would not have been possible without your place at at Swanage, which could calm you down and make you feel at home even during Christmas. Actually to end my essay I will switch back to french because it reminds me of the year I spent there. C'est bien de voir que tu as cree une nouvelle l'arche pour moi. Dans ce cas moins pour les personnes handicapes mais pour les chirugiens "traumatises" Auf Widersehen Aurevoir et a bientot
Dear Alan and future Swans. Thank you for your hospitality. When you told me that I have to feel like at home I didn't believe you, But it's truth that this house has something special that make you feel at home from the first moment.. Thank you for your delicious cooking and the good conversation during the suppers. The past 3 months have been an incredible experience at Bara and in your house. After a long and hard call at Bara the better thing I could do was coming back home and rest. your house became my home. To all other swans, Anthony, Kumaran, Richard, Kishan, Brita, Ragnild, Ingvild we have spent magic moments together. thanks for being my family too far from home. I will miss you keep in touch!!! To the future Swans. Please try to enjoy your time in South Africa. relax and calm down, if you are in trauma unit at Bara. It will be an amazing experience. Lots of kisses.
Dear Alan, Thank you for opening up your Swanage to us! From day one we have felt like part of a special kind of family. After a long day at Bara, it's been good to get home to this safe and warm environment. Than you for all guidance and advice - both medical,and personal. It's been a unique four weeks. the work you and your colleagues do at Bara is admirable. We've seen great creativity and endurance, you guys stretch the envelope post my amazement.. Alan, doctor, priest, cook, gardener, handy man, father-figure, musician, eternal optimist, story teller, game ranger - we will miss you a lot! Keep in touch hope to see you again someday. Lots of love.
“Best Medical elective & best host ever!!” I have lived in swanage for 6 weeks whilst doing my medical elective at Bara. Swanage is the place to be! if your not shy of a great atmosphere/ location / best host (Alan)ever than this is the place for you. swanage is very spacious and accomodating. Alan will exceed your expectations as a host, his positivity, amazing cooking skills and his passion for safari will leave you homesick by the time you depart. 10/10 and would certainly return !