Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Cape of Good Hope

Yesterday, we journeyed to the Cape of Good Hope....that place where many believed that the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet; the turning point for sailors searching for a shorter route to India; a place of turbulent waters and jutting rocks that foiled so many journeys. As our stay here in South Africa is drawing quickly to a close, I found myself reflecting on this journey.

I recall the day that I was invited to join the great adventure of traveling to South Africa for this visit to Hospice Wits. Since It's been less than a year since I joined the ranks of Suncoast Hospice, I wondered what I could possibly bring to our sister hospice. I certainly am not an expert on hospice care. In the end, I hoped that with my HR and Organization Development experiences, I could bring something of value to the people who make up Hospice Wits.

As I look at my pictures ad read my daily journal entries, I realize that quality end of life care is the common "ocean" on which we meet. Whether in Pinellas County, Florida or Joburg/Soweto, we do the same work. We have the potential to bring "good hope to our patients and families. Whether I was in Soweto with Sr. Freeda visiting a young woman who needed encouragement to take her HIV medication, or in Joburg with Sr. Ivy visiting a man with COPD, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what "ocean" we swim in or what continent we call home, we all the same desire to love and be loved in return.

Just like those explorers who hoped to find that shorter route to the riches of India, we often lo0k for the easier route or the faster fix. As we sat together and discussed the "how" of hospice care, we found ourselves seeing the "greener grass" in each others proverbial back yard. Our African partners talking about the desire for more technology (they still are filling out multiple paper forms), while we were amazed hat how quickly they can get a patient into their IPU (in -patient unit) - even personally driving that patient there in their own car.

One of the biggest challenges for Hospice Wits from a leadership perspective is Change Management and Succession Planning. much in much to learn from each other.

In the end, it's not so much of what I was able to bring to South Africa, it's what I'm able to take home with me......Good Hope with newly made friends....Good Hope in the encouragement we give to each other for this important work......Good Hope for the future of this partnership.

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