Two Hospices on Different Continents Joined by a Common Goal
GAINESVILLE - Gainesville's Haven Hospice has partnered with the Grahamstown Hospice in South Africa 11 years ago.
But they've never actually met their members overseas until now.
"I think its been incredible. We came as strangers and we are leaving as friends," said David Barker, director of Grahamstown Hospice.
Haven Hospice President, Tim Bowen said, "the essence of who they are and what their staff do, is the essence of our staff and volunteers, that commitment is true, even though we are on two different continents."
Have Hospice here in Gainesville primarily provides for cancer patients and end-of-life care.
In South Africa, it's a very different story, according to Trish Gillies with the Grahamstown Hospice.
She said, "we have a lot of poverty and lack of resources, whereas in America, everything seems to be easily available."
So Grahamstown must provide the very basics, like beds, food, and shelter before dealing with patients' medical needs.
The majority of their patients are also living with AIDS.
There is also the differences in society, according to Sibongile Matambo, who told us, "in African culture it is hard to speak about death, it is a very patriarchal society, men have the say even though the homes are run by women."
Representatives from both hospices were thrilled to finally meet after so many years of working together, apart.
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