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Correspondence

Greetings from Australia
9 September 2013

Our adventures in Africa commenced with a weeklong stay at the Lord Charles Hotel for the SATS Conference. We ensured that we were not idle before the Conference taking day trips to visit Cape Point, the scenic coastline and mountain ranges, the wineries around Stellenbosch and Franschhook and Capetown taking the impressive cable car to Table Mountain and enjoying a few hours of walking the tracks and enjoying the spectacular scenery.

It was indeed a privilege for us to attend the SATS Congress to meet so many wonderful Perioperative Nurses from varied Cultural backgrounds and to discuss their work practises and current issues. We have never before had a “blessing” before a Conference so this was a special touch and a big thankyou to Reverend Grant Walters. We found the Congress content diverse and with many topical and interesting presentations. We were certainly inspired by Villi’s positivity and will ensure to take her messages back to our colleague’s, in that we need pride in our Perioperative care with commitment, enthusiasm, positive attitudes, integrity and a smile.

Of particular interest, highlighted by Denise Sheard, is the lack of instrumentation, batch washes, and sterilizing services in most hospitals with the use of Aldercyde/Cidex still widely practised. Other issues that were highlighted that are concerns confronting many countries include waste management and training and retention of staff.

The celebrate Africa function was a Congress highlight. The food was very different and varied but seeing so many of our colleagues in their colourful national costumes and dancing was special.

On leaving Capetown and despite a flight delay causing a major disruption to our plans and an unexpected night in Johannsberg we enjoyed our African experience and have so many wonderful memories and of course photographs! Our first stop was the Okavango Delta and the Chobe Game Lodge in Botswansa where we experienced extensive game viewing on guided walks, canoe and motorboat and 4WD vehicles. In these few days our expectations on seeing wildlife was certainly surpassed seeing all but zebras and rhino’s.

The next stop was Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe where we experienced many firsts, elephant safaris, a helicopter flight over the Falls, a Boma meal and a relaxing time at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge where we could watch the many wildlife coming to the nearby waterhole for water.

In Tanzania we spent seven days visiting the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, a Masai Village and the Tarangire National Park. The highlights included witnessing the commencement of the migration with herds of wilderbeast and zebra on their way to Kenya. The birdlife was amazing and we did see rhino’s!

Our last safari was to Rwanda to see the Gorillas. We tracked in the Volcanoes National Park and were fortunate enough to see a family of gorillas. A truly inspiring experience!

Of course since arriving home many have asked what the highlight of the trip was but that is extremely difficult to answer. Apart from the experiences already mentioned, seeing a family of giraffes at sunset on the bush airstrip that we had only arrived on a few hours earlier was special, and a pride of waking lions also on sunset and watching them yawn, stretch etc before stalking a giraffe but not killing will be memories that will be with us forever.

Finally, a special thankyou to all at the Congress for your friendship and hospitality during our visit as we both have enjoyed the most amazing experience. We extend an invitation to any of your members to attend our National Conference in Melbourne on the 21-24 May 2014.

Our best wishes and kind regards
Cheryl and Sue