Sunday, 14 July 2013

Justin's Visit



As mentioned in our previous blog post, my cousin, Justin, became our third visitor to South Africa and to Hands at Work (behind my mom and dad). The Chans are on fire! Though his time was short (he was only here for 5 days), it was time well spent.

It was great to have Justin with us. He was always someone I looked up to when I was younger and, although we haven’t been able to spend much time together over the last several years (he lives in Seattle where he works as an occupational therapist), I still consider us close. As was the case with my parents, I was really looking forward to connecting with him and showing him a glimpse of our lives here in Africa.

With only 5 days to work with, the itinerary was jam-packed. He spent the first two days of his visit out in the community – the first with Share Community Based Organization (CBO) and the second in Siyathuthuka CBO. During both visits, he had the opportunity to visit the Care Points, play with the children and do some home visits. Being an occupational therapist, Justin was initially hoping to apply his skills during home visits to children or patients in need. Unfortunately, providing medical therapy is not within Hands’ realm so we weren’t able to work that into the program. Nonetheless, it was good for Justin to just focus on being present at the child’s home and understand what happens during our regular home visits. The rest of his time with Hands was spent meeting our Village crew – the other volunteers that cohabitate the Hands Village with us – and teaching us the invaluable pastime of Monopoly Deal!

Speaking of Monopoly Deal, Justin left us with two different versions of the game, as well as a giant box of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, magazines (he knows Diane all too well), some new music (he knows me all too well) and some electric tennis racket bug zappers! What a beauty.

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Siyathuthuka
Best friends! 
Justin vs. the kids at Siyathuthuka

The thrill of driving on the right-hand side of the car!

The other days were spent sightseeing – two days and an overnight in Kruger National Park for a safari and a day in Graskop to eat at Harrie’s Pancakes and check out the Blyde River Canyon. These settings provided the perfect opportunity for Justin to do his thang (he is quite the avid photographer) … and do his thang he did! Equipped with his telescopic-like lens, Justin showed us what having a good camera and some extraordinary talent and vision can create.

Below is a link to the photos he posted on his page from our trips through Kruger National Park. They may look like they’re straight out of a National Geographic magazine but I swear we were there! Nicely done, cuz!


Close encounter with a pack of hyenas!

All in all, it was a great 5 days of exploring more of what South Africa has to offer and spending some quality time with my cousin. We’ve loved that we’ve been able to introduce Hands at Work and expose a very important part of our life to my family recently. Our hope is to have the opportunity to share this part of our lives with many more of you in the future. 

At the Blyde River Canyon


- Byron