When on holiday somewhere exotic, or at any kind of special occasion I’m that guy incessantly taking pictures, wanting to freeze-record the moment and somehow preserve it. I have a rule: Don’t tell me how enchanted you are by what you’re seeing, or what a beautiful view we have. Take a photo instead, so that one day when we are 50 years old we can literally look back at this moment and still appreciate it.
The value of eye-catching scenery cannot be overstated. Some of my happiest moments have been when standing on top of some hill after a hike, or on a beach somewhere watching and listening to the ocean, or even at a good viewpoint that catches the skyline of the city somewhere. These instances in time are soul-restoring when you’re there, and inspirational when you look back on them. I have felt like this over the last few days, going through the snapshots that I took 2 weekends ago out at the Wild Coast.
I drove for about 8 hours to meet up and stay with 2 of my favourite people in the world, my friends Gareth and Nadisha. They are both doctors working at Zithulele Mission hospital near Mquanduli not far from Coffee Bay and Mthatha, on the so-called wild coast of the Eastern Cape.
We have been friends for many years. Gareth was the first person I spoke to on my first day at Wits Medical school. He and Nadisha were a tentative couple at the time, they grew ever closer over the next couple of years, as I grew closer to both of them. They got married about 5 years ago. I drove from Johannesburg to the Midlands in Kwazulu-Natal to attend the ceremony. I flew down to Cape Town to visit them in Seapoint when they were down there for medical internship at Somerset hospital. I drove to Kimberly in the Northern Cape when they worked at the provincial hospital over there, and now I found myself doing yet another trip to see them. I have gone far and wide to be able to spend time with them, I chase them because they provide the best conversation I have ever had 🙂 I am godfather to their twin boys who are almost 2 years old.
The other reason I went out there was for the birthday of a mutual friend of ours, Amy. She is an artful soul that I got to know towards the end of my time at medical school. Myself and a few other friends of hers who were able to make the trip, and some of her family all converged on this idealic little spot to celebrate her birthday.
Zithulele hospital, originally a mission hospital and now a government funded district hospital, is a small institution (approximately 150 beds) serving the surrounding community. I have mentioned before that life in the Eastern Cape is lived at a somewhat lesser pace than I was used to up in Johannesburg, but out at the wild coast as my friend Bennie puts it, people literally move in slow-motion 🙂 and stress is a foreign concept. It is an interesting location to choose to live and work. Gareth and Nadisha have worked at a few different places across South Africa, but Gareth has always fancied the idea of practicing general medicine, and the very rural nature of this latest placement just adds to the adventure that has been their lives together up until now. Amy is out there doing her year of community service.
We all had a really good time 🙂 I kept thinking that Meryl would love it out there! The weekend was like one long interesting conversation interrupted by the 2 nights of sleep and the moments looking around in awe at the absolute beauty of the setting! I particularly remember the lot of us hanging out at the beautiful Lubanzi Beach on Saturday morning, then all gathering later that evening in a house Amy had rented for everyone. The house was on top of a hill overlooking a beautiful beach on either side of it.
The weekend 5-7 September was like a special stretched out moment, well worth the trip, and definitely worth capturing! 🙂