Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Trip of a Lifetime


I'm incredibly proud of my best friend. She is, as we speak, on her way to South Africa. The trip is in connection with her former employer, Alive Hospice, Nashville, TN. Diana worked at Alive for 7 years until she moved to Georgia just over a year ago.

She became aware of the wonderful work that Hospice does when her dad became ill and needed assistance. Diana, her sister, and Hospice and Palliative Care of Southern Indiana helped make a difficult situation, bearable. She vowed to "give back" and she did; first by volunteering at Alive and then by becoming a full-time, valued employee.

But, back to the trip. Alive has a Sister Hospice in Krugersdorp. They have, through the years, raised money to send much-needed supplies to South Africa. Diana was supposed to go last year but it conflicted with her move to Georgia. This trip, as last year's, organized by Naomi Tutu, daughter of Desmond Tutu, will help foster even more good will between the two non-profit care facilities.

Diana should be arriving in Capetown in about three hours, after a 22-hour flight! She'll then travel to Johannasburg and then on to Hospice in the West, located in Krugersdorp, to visit with the staff.

Some side-trips include visiting the Krugersdorp Game Preserve, and touring Robben Island Prison, "home" to Nelson Mandella for much of his life sentence. He was finally released in 1990. I'm sure that trip will be a very emotional experience.

Anyway, I'm just so proud of her! At a time when many people our age are choosing to slow down a bit (I'm not judging. You're earned it!), Diana is exploring the world. And, not the world of fine Paris café's, or Greek ruins, or Bahamian white-sand beaches. She's exploring a part of the world that most of us know nothing about. She is reaching far beyond her "element." I applaud her for taking this trip of a lifetime.

So, tell me. How far would you venture from your "element?"

Cynthia's Attic


Janet Grace Riehl said...

I'm glad she's going to South Africa and I hope she brings back a more balanced view of Africa...beyond the nightly news. My friend Damaria Senne and I often speak of the need to more accurately represent Africa to the West.

I look forward to future, more indepth news of your friend's journey.

Janet Riehl

Mary Cunningham said...

I plan to have her as a guest blogger when she gets back, Janet. She's keeping a journal and the daughter of an author-friend of ours is going to be shooting a photo journal. Should be fascinating!!

Thanks for your comments.

WriterKat said...

What a great experience! I also hope to hear more about the adventure.

As for venturing outward, ask me in 15 years when my kids are out of school & I hopefully have some money to travel to the next town, let alone out of the state/country. :-)

Mary Cunningham said...

Let's see...15 years, huh? I SHOULD still be able to type, WriterKat.

Okay, so you can still dream. Where do you dream of going?

D.S. Dollman said...

How wonderful for your friend, Mary! I'd love to hear more about her trip on your blogs, too. As for your question, now that our youngest has moved out, I find myself pushing my boundaries further and further, starting with a move to the stunning hill country of Texas. This was a huge step for me, especially since most of our family is in Colorado! I have also volunteered for many great organizations in the past, but after spending the weekend with my daughter-in-law visiting her grandfather in a cold and impersonal nursing home, I have a better understanding of how important it can be to volunteer with seniors, even if all you do is read a book out loud. Sometimes you can stay close to home and still venture outwards.

Janet Muirhead Hill said...

How exciting. I'd love to go to Africa—and many other places around the world. Maybe when and if I ever retire—I'm 65 and no sign of retirement on the horizon. The best I can do now is to read about these places, and my favorite way is through novels that take you to other countries and make you feel at home.

Bravo to your friend for the work she does for hospice. What an important mission. My next important mission—and venture out of my element—is to do whatever I can through writing "True Fiction" to campaign for more civil liberty for everyone.

Word said...

Wow! Kudos to her! What an amazing thing to do. Brave too!

Some day I'd love to travel the world. But I'd probably choose to go in a "group tour" situation if I was going outside of the country. Bit of a chicken in that respect.

As far as stepping outside of my element....I decided to get Tahitian Citron Tea at my coffee shop today. Does that count?

Anonymous said...

Loved what you wrote, Mary! I'm proud of her too. All I did was move from Weston to Weston, and I could barely handle that change! Can't wait to hear how it all goes.



Mary Cunningham said...

A move is classified as stepping out of your element, Darla. It's a life-changing step. So glad you're enjoying the hills of Texas.

Good for you and your blog, Janet. I know you have many important issues to cover, and I look forward to reading your future posts.

Oooh, Tahitian Citron tea sounds amazing, Word. I may have to hunt it up. I'm kinda stuck with green and non-green.

Hey, Wendel. Good to hear from you. I think we're both proud of our friend! About every half hour I wonder where she is and what she's doing. Since it's about 4 AM there, I hope she's sleeping!

Can't wait until she gets back and can post a blog. I'll let everyone know when it's up.

Church Lady said...

What a great post. I admire people like her.
I hope her trip went well, and she's doing what she needs to do. And I can't wait til she's a guest blogger here!!!!

Mary Cunningham said...

Thanks for stopping by, CL! Especially since you're taking your act "on the road."

Check back on Monday (heh-heh)

WriterKat said...

dream, huh? Okay, I want to go to the Isle of Skye. I hear it's one of the most peaceful places on earth.

Mary Cunningham said...

Isle of Skye looks breathtaking, WriterKat. I just may have to join you! Or, maybe I'll just do a blog about it. :D