Africa, Aitch, Nostalgia

Phelophepa! – Good Health!

‘phelophepa’

A combination Sesotho / Setswana word, it means ‘good clean health’.

I had volunteered on the train before, in Bergville; Now Trish and I joined it in Underberg. At the time it was a pet project of Jannie Ferreira, optometry professor at RAU (now the University of Johannesburg). So it was full of RAU students. We had a kombi and on the way up from Durban to act as volunteer supervisor, we repaired to the bottle store and bought champagne, thinking we’d load everyone up and drive off to where we could watch the sun set behind the Drakensberg and its foothills and quaff champers.

Well, we did the quaffing, but well after sunset, as we couldn’t stop till we’d seen the last patient. No way we were going to say, ‘Sorry, come back tomorrow’ to poor people who had come from afar.

Phelopepha (1)

Phelophepa Train Eye Clinic coach

Phelopepha (2)

Phelophepa train eye clinic

After that we went to a farmhouse (the local vet, I believe) where we were treated to a lovely braai.

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There are now two Phelophepa trains and the services it provides have increased. Long may it thrive and arrive at remote stations to provide needs and care and happiness – both to the people waiting at the sidings and to the students onboard.

Africa, Nostalgia, Student Life

‘Samiracle

Its amazing that old oke in the middle is still ALIVE!

In that photo you see 150 years of contact lens practice, lecturing, innovation and expertise. It’s clear from the way their specs are carefully centred that these okes KNOW their contact lenses!

Sid Saks on the left started practising as an optometrist around 1958, Brauer in the middle around 1978 and Des Fonn on the right around 1968 (I’m guessing, but it’ll be close).

Des lectured me in contact lenses; Brauer was in my class actually, so maybe he isn’t THAT much older than me – but definitely older; Sid mentored us when we ventured into private practice – me over the phone occasionally, but Brauer needed direct supervision. In fact, in order to get a job Brauer married Sid’s daughter.

A recent booze-fuelled reunion in Pretoria – Des visiting from Canada.