Tshemba Foundation’s #LEAVEOFPURPOSE

In mid-December 2020 my volunteering journey led me to the wild and wonderful Hoedspruit, where the Tshemba Foundation’s volunteer programme places medical professionals (from SA and abroad) at Tintswalo Hospital, the Tintswalo Eye Clinic and/or the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic. I came to know about Tshemba via a physiotherapist volunteer from…

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Sometimes timing is everything

If I hadn’t had to come back from Senegal last March, I wouldn’t have been able to work for general construction company PAMCO on a ‘make it inspiring, tell a story’ brief at Maserunyane High School in Limpopo. In fact, I quoted the project manager for my small contribution (to what…

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Free Spirit

Music often streams in the background as I work, or read, or write, clean the house or do the dishes (yip, a bit of signature un-glamour right there for you). Sometimes, a song begins to play, grabs my attention and moves me to drop everything I’m doing. One moment, I…

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Another 18 holes

Over these last few months some days have felt like I’m an extra in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day (anyone under thirty google it). Wake up, do the day, sleep, repeat… And it’s not because the content of my days is the same, it’s more that the narrative of the…

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Off to the bins

Last week a few folk asked me why I hadn’t included a photograph in my “dating profile”, so I thought I’d start off with that, just to set the scene… You’re welcome! You know who you are 🙂 Twenty-twenty sure has dished out some hidings, hey? And many folks…

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Predictable. Or not.

The bank that I’ve banked with all of my life decided that as a self-employed individual, I was too risky to bet on with a small bond. And, after banking with them since I was barely out of nappies, as well as journeying my entire adult life with them (house,…

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My online dating profile

To my dear friends, who encourage me to try and meet a good man and settle down, I’m so sorry to have gotten your attention under false pretences… Man, how I hate it when advertisers bait you with their fake news headings… Anyway, I’m glad you’re here now, I hope…

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Another 18 rolls…

When I moved into my little garden flat (aka Bruno’s Bungalow) six months ago, I arrived with a bag of eighteen toilet rolls, and jokingly told my landlord, that this was how long I’d be here: who knew when my ship would sail again. Well, it’s been more…

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To complain, or not to complain? That is the question.

  It rained through the night last night, and oh, what a blissful night. Just rain on the roof. No midnight, post-curfew peacock squawks. No piercing four am peacock screams. No honking from the droves of peacocks that have taken siege of the banks along the extremely polluted Hennopsriver. Have…

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The long drive home

Ever been on holiday at the other end of the country, and then driven home to Gauteng, all in one go? It’s like the trip just never ends, and as you drive through the different landscapes, the mood and alertness levels vary. When you’re driving up or down a mountain…

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Week 36 random recap: rabbit feet and a cat burglar

There’s a lot of animal action around the neighbourhood at the moment. In particular in the wee hours of the night. It seems that the creatures have also emerged from lockdown and are using the property’s borders as a highway to move between appointments. Or perhaps it’s just that time…

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A random recap of week 35

It was Vera’s birthday on Friday, and it was such a treat to have a family get together and to physically be in the same eating venue (@Mami&Papi) as multiple other heartbeats. When I got home, I felt like a child coming down from a sugar high… that slightly directionless,…

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New normal in Bruno’s Bungalow

I had the strangest dream… I was arrested. It was a false ID, but the arresting officer made a point of telling me that I looked dodgy… or more specifically that my mole made me look dodgy. After being made to feel terribly guilty for Mother Nature’s role in my…

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Smelling the roses

These last few months I have become very conscious of passing time. Not just the lockdown. But the time that has passed, since I first began making memories. I live not far away from my childhood home and my morning walks and cycles take me down roads that I haven’t…

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Be that ship

When I first arrived on the Africa Mercy in January, the ship was already over halfway through its field service in Senegal. I’d joined the crew at the end of the orthopaedic surgeries, so all the little patients that had their bowlegs or windswept legs straightened, had already had their…

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I wonder

I wonder why it takes so long to develop a vaccine. I feel very misled by all those blockbusters where the heroes draw blood, rush to the lab in a race against time, find the antibodies and VOILA! a potion is conjured up and used to save lives. And all…

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Yesterdays

Today I’m officially out of that fourteen day self-quarantine I put myself into after arriving back from Senegal. Now I’m looking forward to at least another two weeks of house arrest…possibly more. Boy, is it going to feel strange when today becomes yesterday, and we’re all allowed to move around freely…

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Not all Kumbaya or plain sailing, but definitely worth it

One week ago, today, I landed back in Johannesburg, after two short months onboard the Africa Mercy. I don’t want to romanticise my experience, as of course it wasn’t all “Kumbaya” or plain sailing – living in close confines with many others comes with its own set of challenges. Still, I…

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I’m here

After three flights (Dakar to Bamako, Bamako to Nairobi, Nairobi to Johannesburg) and half an hour from OR Tambo to the house I sold in December, I arrived, safe and sound, on Thursday afternoon. It felt strange walking back into my old home – especially as I had not expected…

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Broadening my horizons

Last weekend I had a fabulously restful two nights and two days off ship. I spent it at the home of a lovely couple, Petra and Fred, from the Dakar German Embassy. They have been in the city for a year-and-a-half of their intended four and it’s been really interesting…

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A lecture and a home visit

Today is a ship holiday. We have a long weekend every six weeks, and this is my first, so I’m excited to have a little extra downtime. I decided to blog today, so that I can spend the weekend really relaxing, maybe visit some patients on deck 3, maybe go…

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Dusty Dakar during Harmattan

Dusty. This is a good way to describe Dakar. And dry. It’s Harmattan season here in West Africa, which is characterised by dry and dusty winds coming from the Sahara. The city has been wearing a cloak of dust, even before I arrived in mid-January. The visibility has also been…

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Settle in, this is a long one…

I’d planned to write something deep about the various ‘bubbles’ of reality that are currently part of my new life, but I want to back my bubbles up with some photographs, that I don’t have yet… Hopefully I’ll have what I want by next week, or the week after. Before…

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Where does the time go?

It feels as though this week went by in a flash, and so much has happened – more new people, new places, and a visit to the beach yesterday with a lovely Dutch family also volunteering on board. I also got bitten (by a mosquito?) in the crease of my…

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A week of firsts

People have been asking what motivated my decision to come here, and I’m not sure there is a simple answer to this. My getting here feels part of a natural progression and after a week in the Port of Dakar*, I’m already feeling strangely settled. If pushed I would probably…

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I’m here

After three flights (Joburg to Dubai, Dubai to Conakry, Conakry to Dakar) and three hours in traffic from airport to ship, I arrived on Friday night, safe and sound. It felt strange walking up Africa Mercy’s gangway – especially as I have seen it featured in many of the videos…

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Change

I began writing this short piece at a coffee shop on Friday January 3rd with the intention of producing something light-hearted about the cats. Or about the fact that, for the foreseeable future, I will not be experiencing life in quite the same way and that I will need to…

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Poppy’s Palace

My soon-not-to-be home is also known as Poppy’s Palace. She adopted me as a kitten and has, for the last ten odd years, peacefully and unchallenged been the Queen here. Apart from ten days, a few years back, during which I kitten-sat little Maya for a friend. To be honest,…

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Africa Mercy: My next chapter

Tomorrow in a month, I will be hopping on an aeroplane to Dakar, Senegal where I will begin serving as a writer on board the Africa Mercy, the world’s largest civilian hospital ship that is part of an incredible humanitarian initiative operating in West Africa.   “Mercy Ships…

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I used to be…

There are in fact many things that I used to be … probably as many things as I still am and as I will be. The fact that I no longer fly, doesn’t make my life any less rich. The real friendships I’ve made through flying have survived my divorce…

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+27 82 371 1005
gerberabm

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