Having recently joined the volunteer staff of the weekly Stellenbosch Hospice daycare group about 6 months ago, I’m a new addition to a seemingly long term and well established set up. Headed up by Khuselwa Qokola, Coordinator of the Daycare Group; drivers, social workers, caterers and volunteers all club together to transport, refresh and entertain patient members.

The regular group of daycare members eagerly arrive each Tuesday morning for their 2 hour session, always early and never ready to leave once the allotted time is up. Members greet one and all with a warm embrace; old and new, strangers and old acquaintances, ready or not!!

The sessions themselves vary in theme; some weeks the group chat over tea and eats and then involve themselves enthusiastically in simple activities, occasionally a speaker entertains the members or on the odd occasion an outing is arranged. What is unmistakable is the supportive and caring spirit and sharing amongst the group that is so meaningful to them. It is this camaraderie and understanding of each other’s experiences that is most humbling. The realization that only the members that have undergone similar treatments, who constantly live with the pain and loss, truly understand one another and therefore provide each other with such a valuable support team. Simple pleasures in life are so appreciated by the members and it seems that they all derive strength and some joy from this weekly meeting and sharing.

I thought that in my role as a volunteer, I would be giving some of my time and transporting people in need. I have however, been reminded that I, have been gifted with appreciation, welcomed into the group, and been allowed to share in confidences, and it is I who has gained so much from this jolly group of people.