The Best Thing About Madwaleni?

We decided it might be fun to go around and ask the crew of 2016 two questions before peeps moved on;

  1. What’s their best thing about Madwaleni?
  2. What advice would they give to someone joining us here?

I added some music for a ‘vibe’, and hey presto – a little video! 🙂 (Click the link!)

It was awesome to hear how everyone shared the same love about life here, and in particular about being part of such an awesome family. It’s humbling to get to share our time here with such special people!

The disclaimer for any of you who might watch this and think about joining us (besides excusing all the ‘in-house’ jokes in the video!), is that we make no qualms about living real life with each other. And as a family, that often includes getting grumpy with each other, and of course going through lots of tough times together (and those times are quite frequent when we face the challenges that we do at a hospital like this!) But the really amazing thing about this family is that you’re surrounded by the most amazing support, no matter what you’re going through.

We also live far too closely to be able to hide our flaws (which is quite humbling!), but that’s fine because we also get to know each other’s strengths, and the hardships each might be going through – and that allows us to really be there for one another.

Living like this definitely teaches you to have lots of grace for each other! And every day, the challenge us is also about learning to honour each other more and more as we live and grow together (Stu also had an awesomely encouraging message about this that he shared just this past Thursday evening at our little (growing!) church!).

So with all that in mind, enjoy the video – hope it gives you a little more of a taste of what’s happening here and some of what went down in 2016!




A Good View

There’s something special about being on the edge of a precipice.

I find it a little terrifying the way a big drop seems to suck you in, but the exhilaration of standing on the edge is always worth it (although some may disagree, or some like Tiaan may agree a little too eagerly before he jumps off with his parachute!). But no one can deny the views – if you’re standing on top of something worthy of bearing the name of a precipice, then the views are inevitably amazing.

Being in a high place seems to bring perspective, I think. You get to see the world below you in a way you’re not used to, and it helps you understand a lot of the bits and pieces, even ones that you know may know quite well, in a slightly different way, and so they end up better understood for it. And I think that perspective sometimes transcends the views you may be looking at, because so often I think we all find ourselves taking a moment to consider things, and indeed our lives, from a slightly different perspective from a precipice, if given the chance to do so.

And so we find ourselves on the edge of a precipice for the year as well. I’ve realised that thinking of Decembers as a bit of a mountain works quite well at Madwaleni. Sure it’s a rough season for us at work; flocks of folks migrate back from working places in cities and mines and our drainage area swells substantially, public holidays and a rather enthusiastic zeal for festivities seem to frequently backfire into stabbings and blunt trauma which come rolling through our merry doors quite predictably on long weekends, and add to all of this the biannual circumcision season reaching its conclusion in late December – unfortunately a conclusion most often marked by violence as alcohol, testosterone and blood flow a little too freely at many of the circumcision celebrations following the successful return of these young men from the ‘mountain’ or the bush –  and we have our work cut out for us in Decembers! But that’s not quite what I’d like to say about Decembers and mountains.

I quite like the way that Decembers offer a rare opportunity for a view. It’s like the year builds up more and more until we reach a pinnacle in December, where we get to stand up on the precipice of a new year and enjoy the view for a moment before we go diving into the depths of potential that the coming year holds for us. For me it’s as much a time to look ahead – a chance to sit for a moment and refocus, to shake off the mud of a busy year, and to put ourselves back on the road towards our goals and hopes and dreams about the plans God may have for our lives – as it is a time to look back on the year past, and a chance to be thankful for everything that we’ve come through. And inevitably, it’s been a lot!

I don’t think I can speak for the entirety of the hospital, for it is a place of many people and their lives and so to undertake such a summary I think is beyond just me. But amongst our little community of doctors and ‘allieds’ and all those loved ones who go with them, I think it’s fair to say that it’s been a rich year of new friends and family and experiences: of good times and some harder times; of minor setbacks and seemingly more devastating blows (that were somewhat cushioned by fresh outlooks and the support of a loving community); and of small wins and great victories. Of so much, so many stories to tell, that I cannot tell all of them. So I won’t try.

But I will say that more than anything else at Madwaleni, I’m most thankful to God for the loving and flourishing community that we get to share here. And as we say goodbye (for now) to the guys leaving us, I, and all of us, are grateful and richer for all the times we’ve had sharing life together, and I pray that all of you leaving will find yourselves in the midst of much love and great adventure and deep contentment, wherever you may go.

So to Francey, Janet and Shane, Louis, Mike, Monique and Rachel – we love you guys!

And to the new guys getting ready to join us at Mads – here’s to an exciting (and probably a little crazy) year ahead!



P.S. I’ve just spotted Dyl’s post!… goes to show how we’re all feeling just as nostalgic after such an amazing year together. So let this then just serve to add to the love 🙂

What a year

Today is a sad day.  It is a day of too many goodbyes to too many amazing people that have come to the end of their Madwaleni adventure.  What strong bonds we form here in such a short time!  I am continually amazed at the incredible people that keep arriving at this place year after year, who creep ever so quickly into our hearts, families and lives.  While the time I have spent with you feels way too short and your departure premature, I am so grateful for the time we have spent and the memories we have made together.

What a fitting end to an incredible year it was to dine, laugh and reminisce on Nkanya beach and swim late into the night in bright green, phosphorescent waters.

It feels surreal that the homes we have come to see as your own, are now being swept and cleaned for a group of new faces.

I haven’t felt this way before in four years, which should tell you something of the year we have had together and the kind of people you all are.

Thank-you for what you have brought to this place – it is so much better off for it.

I feel incredibly jealous of the people who get to spend 2017 with you… I am sure you have incredible times ahead sailing after schools of Yellow-fin, travelling in India, doing PhD’s, starting OT practices, saving fynbos and rare toads, buying camera’s, starting up photography, drinking Hobgoblin’s with special friends and carving insane moves on huge icy-cold waves.

We love you guys!

P.S. We’ll be booking our tickets to Cape Town soon

3 years down, more to go

Madwaleni Hospital has been my job and my home for just over three years now.  It has been undoubtedly the most memorable, rewarding and special time of both Jade and my lives.  The richness of friendship shared with the most wonderful people who all share a common calling.  The vibrancy of a community of diverse but dependently connected people that has flourished from a handful of doctors to a myriad of different walks of life.  There is such joy in the hope we all share for the place as we see our dreams unfolding, while enduring perpetual challenges that seek to, but never seem to snuff out the flame.  We get to escape so many of the distractions of city life, living rather the life of full, but quiet rural living.  I have found so much joy in things I hadn’t ever imagined, like planting indigenous plants and trees and watching them grow.

Together with Jade, building a home and a family to fill it with, has been a taproot deep into the ground that sees me through many a difficult day or week.  Our home is a very special place for us, one that we love sharing with as many people as possible – it makes us so happy, and I know I can take a lot less than half the credit for it, thanks to the most incredible person I get to come home to several times a day.  What I can take at least half the credit for, is our two kids, Sam and Rosa, who quite literally fill our lives to overflowing, sometimes quite overwhelmingly so.

Work cannot become everything.  It’s a lesson we’ve all learned, mostly the hard way.  Life outside of work is so easily neglected but is the thing that keeps your heart and soul energised.  Food, music, running alone, running with mates, ultimate frisbee games, braai’s, movie nights, weekends away exploring the beautiful Transkei, date nights, church gatherings, gardening, building decks and pizza ovens, cups of tea, good coffee, cold beers, delicious wine and most of all conversations about things other than work are some of things that keep me in the game.  It’s times when I’ve had to or inadvertently sacrificed these things that life has become the most difficult.

It has been a time of self-discovery.  One cannot fully describe the transition that takes place when one is plucked out of one’s comfort zones, friends, family, routines, comforts, spiritual support systems and mentors and left to figure things out for oneself.  Removed from the business of church life with all its meetings, sermons and high profile, inspiring people, I found my faith wilted and neglected.  How often do we ride the coat tails of other’s beliefs without the time or space to nurture the courage of one’s own true convictions?

However, what initially started as a downward spiral of uncertainty with many questions has progressed into a new, refreshing, Christian faith that is my own, a process that as a couple Jade and I have learned so much through, and I must add, have a long way to go still.

I get to work with incredible people – both colleagues and patients, who live in a world I am just barely starting to understand with all its rich culture and complicated belief systems.  It is a community who are so far behind the front lines of equity, human rights and empowerment it is scary.  While the fruits of post-apartheid democracy are still so far away, the disgruntled voices are becoming more audible with service delivery protests a regular occurrence.

Rural medicine in the Eastern Cape is a stormy sea, a beastly roller coaster ride of epic proportions with unnerving turns and dives that throw your whole world upside down to be turned back around in an instant.  Initially these ups and downs really did throw me into a spin, but with time I have become accustomed to them and somehow one develops this ability to just stick it out, as things will probably work themselves out as they always seem to do. Along with the spins come exhilarating highs with a soul quenching feeling of fixing what’s wrong with the world and making a difference to people who need it so badly.

Not everyone can work in rural.  Some don’t manage to accept the things they can’t change or that don’t work and become overwhelmed with everything that’s wrong, driving them soon towards a less diseased system.  I’m not saying that apathy and acceptance is what’s needed, but it’s about picking one’s battles and keeping a positive outlook. Of course none of us get it right all the time and there is a constant pendulum swing between idealism and pessimism or worse still apathy.

I often get asked questions like, ‘So, what are you going to specialise in?’ or ‘How long are you going to stay at Mads?’ We came to Madwaleni for community service, a twelve month contract after which you are free to choose your own way (the department of health hasn’t quite got this concept yet though).  Some time in our first month, Jade and I realised we had already decided in our hearts one year was never going to be enough.  The Madwaleni bug had bitten, and has continued to grab onto our hearts, such that we now wonder how we will ever tear ourselves from this adventure.  I sometimes get to catch up with friends who studied around the same time as me and find out what’s been going on in their lives.  During these conversations, I used to feel like I’d been left behind, when hearing of the various specialist degrees people were enlisted in, or the city houses people had already bought.  Fortunately I don’t get those feelings anymore, as while slightly alternative, the career path I’ve chosen for now is no short of exactly where I want to be.  The above questions remain unanswered, but that’s okay.  I like living in the now, enjoying what I’m doing without the distraction of what’s next.  In my experience, medicine throws open doors the like and timing of which you probably wouldn’t expect, and I’m sure new and exciting career opportunities will come my way.

I sometimes think about how we’ve managed to do what we’ve done in the last three years.  The coming together of so many variables resulting in something quite remarkable.  No matter how long we’ve stayed, what we’ve built up always feels fragile, like a house of cards that regularly seems ominously poised, but it never falls down.  There is the strong presence of a mastermind at work, leading us in the right direction, adding the right people at the right time.  This leaves me feeling like I can take little credit for what has happened and confers a quiet confidence of the way forward even though it will inevitably continue to be an obstacle course with unforeseeable challenges.

So as I reflect on my Madwaleni journey I get the distinct feeling that for now there is no-where else to go and that our time here is far from over.  I’m excited for what’s to come and most of all the people I get to share this adventure with, because after all life’s about loving people. IMG_3341-3


We’ve been here for 18 months and 12 days now, and in true Lotz style it’s taken us this long to tell some of our story and contribute to the blog. Us Lotzies have earned a rather notorious reputation for being late you see. But as they say, better late than pregnant! As it turns out though, being pregnant apparently isn’t too bad a thing to be – especially not if you ask some of the Madwaleni wives of 2015! (On second thought, if you’re a husband, never risk asking your wife whether it really was that bad being pregnant).


(The wives feeling much better after their pregnancies were over 😉 )


But how wives feel during pregnancy is not a topic to be discussed here if I have any good sense and if I don’t want to send the egret tree of emotions aflight*, and so I’d like to move swiftly on to the glorious little gifts that came after 4 pregnancies in 2015.

So, there are all sorts of things to do at Madwaleni besides work, and if you’ve read the blog posts before this you’ll see a whole bunch of great examples!  Ladies have made delicious jam and preserves, men have made great decks and other manly projects from wood and cement. Then some of the ladies and men (the married ones at least), got together for a very special project – and they made some babies! And so it was that Rosa Jo Gibson, Benjamin Luke Miller, Jordan Anne Poole and Peyton Lily Lotz were all born successively in 2015, well and truly ‘Made At Madwaleni!’ 🙂

(Some may find it no surprise that the Gibson was born very, very early in the year, and that the Lotzie was born very last 😉 )


Babies with names

(And here they are! 🙂  )


These 4 fresh little creatures have very quickly made their marks on our community as their own little individual selves. While Peyton has only recently grown out of the ‘drooling blob’ phase of life, they’re all flourishing in their own way. Rosa has made a name for herself as being something of an early adventurer, always on the move, wild at heart and definitely not afraid of loudly expressing her squeals of delight! Jordan, quite one for the spotlight, has recently taken to showing off her new found crawling skills with much animation – much to the amusement of onlookers and her proud parents! There’s no doubt she’s a Poole, when her father inspires her on with ‘Otees’ laid out on the floor! 🙂 And then there is Ben; aka Ben10, previously known as Ben12, also known as Ben-Dogg. The only lad amongst the 3 ladies born in 2015, this guy is set for an interesting time! He is often to be seen looking down on the crazy ladies around him, thoughtfully considering their motives and (wisely) keeping his distance for the moment. Most likely to avoid being drooled on by the silly creatures. 🙂 He enjoys gangster music and counting to 12.



(It’s amazing to see their little characters developing already! Except for Peyton, she was just working hard at blobbing 🙂  )



You may be interested to hear a little about what it’s like having a baby at Madwaleni, so we’ll share our story.

Living at a hospital definitely has it’s benefits. Unlike living on a deserted tropical island somewhere out in the ocean, at least you’re nice and close to emergency facilities if you run into trouble during childbirth. We kept this fact in mind as we set about working out how best to get Michaela to where we wanted to deliver when ‘it all went down’, so to speak. As much as delivering at Madwaleni could be a viable option if ‘push came to shove’ (sorry, can’t help myself), the setting just felt a little awkward for us. Yes, our team has great experience and our maternity outcomes have really been turned around in the last 2 years with no maternal deaths, I think we both felt like it would be a lot of pressure to put on our close friends and colleagues to ask them to deliver our baby. Especially since at that stage we were such a small team! So, like those that had gone before us, we looked west to the little city of East London, where a particular Gynae practice had become renowned for delivering the Madwaleni babies.

Logistically, our plan then consisted of carrying on as normal here at Mads (Michaela took maternity leave from about 38 weeks), then if Michaela went into labour we’d have our bags packed and everything ready in the car, and we’d jump in and fly through to East London hoping that the 3 hour journey would coincide perfectly with the delivery of our baby as soon as we got Michaela onto a bed and comfy. By some miracle, things had worked out perfectly for the 6 other deliveries of Madwaleni babies that had happened up till this point, and ours was an exercise of faith that God would keep us safe and help us through it in His perfect timing as well. Then the service delivery protests started, and our faith was seriously put to the test!

For the past few months, from about June last year, the surrounding community had rightfully become disgruntled with the injustice of poor service delivery to their homes in the area around our hospital. While some villages enjoyed some semblance of Eskom connection, others were completely overlooked, very few had decent ablution facilities available, and none had running water beyond the odd hut with a rainwater tank installed. Their initial marches on the main road servicing the hospital went completely unnoticed by the powers that be, and so, in order to draw much needed attention to their plight, they decided to involve Madwaleni in their efforts. Unfortunately, this played out as a small disaster when they decided to lay siege to the hospital. They cut off first the road leading to us, then our main gates, preventing not only supplies from reaching us, but also ambulances, staff, and even sick patients from entering the hospital to seek care. In one emotional instance, a young pregnant lady managed to clamber over the barbed wire perimeter fence when no one was looking, just in time to get to our maternity unit where we diagnosed a life threatening condition which we were able to manage just in time. This protest was eventually cleared, but the community’s unhappiness and the resulting effects on access to the hospital then continued to wax and wane over the next few weeks, in the midst of which we found ourselves trying to plan an emergency dash through to East London if the moment arose!

One weekday afternoon in September, with Michaela quite ripe, I had a post-call afternoon off and we decided to drive through to Mthatha for a much needed shopping trip at the brand new ‘BT Ngebs’ shopping centre (complete with a small Woolworths Food, and a Melissa’s Deli!). I was tired and Michaela drove us out of the hospital and down the short stretch of tar. All was well when all of a sudden, in the distance, we saw a dark shadow looming and growing from behind a coming rise in the road. Flailing sticks and flying rocks preceded what we soon realised was an angry mob, blocking the road and approaching us in full song. Our thoughts at negotiating with what is usually a lovely community of people who have otherwise welcomed us into their surroundings, were quickly dispelled by their taunts and chants, and we turned tail. It’s sad and rather terrifying to see a mob mentality get out of hand! For some reason, we then decided that it would be a good idea to take an alternative back road gravel route to Mthatha in order to avoid the mob, and not let them disrupt our shopping needs, and I learnt a few very important lessons from what followed.

  1. Never be too hasty to make an important decision when you are post-call.
  2. Never be too hasty to make an important decision when you’re pregnant. The ‘pregnancy brain’ is a real condition – ask anyone at Madwaleni 🙂
  3. Never trust a GPS’s recommendation for directions on back roads on the Wild Coast.
  4. Never trust a GPS’s estimated time of arrival on back road routes on the Wild Coast.

What was supposed to be a 1hour 15min trip to Mthatha turned into a 3 hour epic on some nice rough Transkei roads, which were really ideal for inducing labour (but at a time we didn’t really want to be induced!). Thankfully, nothing happened out of turn, but some might say that tender pregnancy hormones that up till that point had been quite well suppressed finally came pouring out when a rather infuriated donkey seemed to join ranks with the sentiments of the angry mob we had long since left behind, and came charging down the dirt road straight at our car, with teeth bared and hooves flying. The narrow miss with disaster pretty well illustrated the afternoon’s adventures for us, as we later finally got home well after dark, dodging broken tree stumps, fence posts and scattered stones on the tar road to finally make our way back into the hospital after the protesters had retired for the night. A little shaken but safe, we were very thankful for the prayers and concerns of our Madwaleni family who had been very worried about us and our little escapade!

As it turned out though, we then decided to take some time off and head through to East London to finish our wait there (and not a moment to soon as protests resumed and the hospital was closed off again the day after we left!), where our little baby was then born safely and much to our relief and thanksgiving. And on arriving home we arrived back to a family of community at the hospital who celebrated with us, and cared for us and cooked for us, and all the worrying and misadventures before simply faded away.

And so this is a little part of our story here at Madwaleni, which is of course part of the greater story being woven together by the people and families who call this home. We have since been joined by a whole flock of wonderful people in 2016, and I have no doubt that we as a community may soon be competing with the egrets! But until then, it seems the tapestry of our story here keeps growing more and more vibrant and colourful each day with each new arrival (be it another ‘M.A.M.’ baby or new peeps joining us), and with each new adventure.


(The mums and babes!)


In many ways I guess we’re here following the advice God gave to His people in Jeremiah 29:5-7… We’re settling in our houses, planting gardens, having children and working for the good of the people here. So do think about joining us if these stories strike a cord with you, and come add to what’s happening here! And if you’re feeling broody, it’s a great place to make babies too 🙂



JD (and Michaela, and Peyton, and Mumbo!)



*As you may have read or heard, or even seen or smelt for yourself, Madwaleni is honoured to play host to some mighty flocks of migratory cattle egrets every summer. These white devils roost in a few chosen trees around the hospital every year, where what must surely be hundreds can be found in a single tree. This has some nasty effects on our senses as you might be able to imagine, but scaring them off lends itself to a certain sense of satisfaction, albeit temporary. However, when a hundred birds take flight from a tree, they do so with an impressive show of screeching, flapping of white wings and dropping of unnecessary white cargo. You just don’t ever want to find yourself caught in the white storm of raining guano that results.

Madwaleni parties, people and politics!

We haven’t written a blog post in months, I was going to do one mammoth update, but that would be too long to read, so here is the first of a few posts updating you on our lives at Madwaleni.

2015 has been the year of having babies and parties. The having babies and impressive growth of our community will be in a different post, for now here are some of the fun parties we have had this year.

Duncan’s birthday in March was the first time that we felt like a real (really huge) family; children running around, tennis balls flying and dogs interfering. Here are some photo’s:


A game of cricket on the lawn!


PicMonkey Collage1

PicMonkey Collage

Sam, Dyl, Caleb and Emma (Emma spent the party trying to steal the Banoffee pie and the ball!)


In August, Andrew and Stu both turned 30. They had a combined 60th Party. There were fairy lights, fillet, speeches, and a bunch of dancing granny’s and grampa’s (most people dressed up like they were 90 rather than 60!)


So Bob is already 60, so he dressed as a 120 year old, with pill boxes and comical behavior the entire night!

Bob is already 60, so he dressed as a 120 year old, with pill boxes and comical behavior the entire night! Here he is busy looking for his scarf and walking stick.

Yes, Andrew and Sty shaved the top of their heads off for this party. Serious commitment... shown by their wives.

Andrew and Stu shaved the hair off the top of their heads for the party. Serious commitment… shown by their wives.





Shan came as a Xhosa Makhulu!

Shan came as a Xhosa Makhulu!



Granny and Grampa Lotz!

Granny and Grampa Lotz!

The dance floor!

The dance floor!


Granny and Grampa Gibson!

Granny and Grampa Gibson!

The old men

The old men


Dyl organised a “Madwaleni’s Got Talent” evening for his birthday in September. It was awesome fun and impressive to see all the talent in our little community!


Kayla and teacher Rachel performing a beautiful ballet number!

The Simpsons performed the Simpson Family Rap, it was great!

The Simpson Family Rap, it was great!

Darren and Michelle did a Suzelle DIY on how to make a pavlova and deal with the persisting sewage smell in the air at the same time!

Darren and Michelle doing a Suzelle DIY performance on how to make a pavlova while simultaneously dealing with a persisting sewage smell in the air!

Rach and Kirst perfomed

Rach and Kirst performing “Ice Ice Baby”

John-D led the team in an impressive gumboot dance

John-D leading the team in an impressive gumboot dance

The gumboot dance even incorporated the currently returning Egrets!

The gumboot dance even incorporated the currently returning Egrets!

Dyl, Duncs and Andrew played a Michael Mole song togther

Dyl, Duncs and Andrew playing a Matthew Mole song.

The audience. a good crowd.

A good crowd.

John-D buying some time while some of the acts were waiting for on-call doctors to get back from the hospital!

John-D buying some time while some of the acts were waiting for on-call doctors to get back from the hospital!

Bob explaining the universe!

Bob explaining the universe!


Stu wrote a song and performed it with John D on drums and Andrew playing the harmonica!

Stu performing a song he wrote, John D  is on drums and Andrew is playing the harmonica!

See the words and a little video clip of the song below



The birthday man and his lovely wife!

The birthday man and his lovely wife!

Unfortunately life at Madwaleni is not all fun and parties, and we have also had many significant changes over the year. However, as always, there is no place we would rather be. We have lost some doctors this year bringing our numbers down significantly, with the hospital being busier than ever. At the start of the year we said a sad goodbye to Mark and Jet (and their little Ympie), we miss them dearly. We were thrilled to welcome Michelle Allen, our new clinical manager and her family! What a difference it has made to have a clinical manager and the Allen’s join our Madwaleni family. We also welcomed our comm serv doctor, Lungelo, in March and said goodbye to our 2014 comm serv, Garrick in August. We are currently down to seven full time doctors. We started the year with 9 rehabs. Two comm servs stayed on from 2014 but by March rehab was down to 6 as the 2014 comm servs moved on and I left to have Ben. Fortunately Thandi has had an amazing team of hardworking and dedicated comm serves . In March we also welcomed Kuan, an awesome comm serv pharmacist, he has been a great addition to the clinical team, but pharmacy too is short staffed as all of the pharmacy assistants have resigned, leaving Siyamthanda and Kuan to run pharmacy alone from October.

If the hospital isn’t keeping our clinical team busy enough, there have also been service delivery protests on the road and the nurses have been protesting due to problems with their salaries, accommodation and study leave. On top of that all, the hospital has endured many power failures (the longest lasting 48 hours, although we know this isn’t exclusive to rural living!) The current lack of chemicals required to treat the water we pump up from the river makes bathing feel rather counter productive.

Nevertheless, these are all challenges we knew we would have to face when we first arrived at Madwaleni. We have to remind ourselves that there were many more challenges we were anticipating that we have not had deal with. We now have beautiful accommodation, a great vibrant community and really satisfying work. Plus Andrew gets to come home for lunch! What a place to start our family!

If you are thinking of doing some time in a rural hospital, perhaps this will convince you. We can’t always promise it will be easy, but we can promise a life changing, wonderful experience and a supportive community. 

Ben, our tiny human, agrees that rural simply rocks!

Ben, our tiny human, agrees that rural simply rocks!

The Mad Walk


Joyce and Norrie Gibson, both doctors working in the Eastern Cape for over 20 years, are going to walk from East London to Madwaleni Hospital along the coast, some 200km, in order to raise funds for Layitha Foundation. This is an NGO started by members of the Madwaleni Hospital staff to support the work they do – see their
Madwaleni Hospital is a district hospital situated near Elliotdale in the Eastern Cape.

They do amazing work under difficult conditions and need funds to continue/expand their footprint
We ask you to support the foundation by sponsoring us in this walk.
Depart East London Saturday 23 May and should arrive at Madwaleni Hospital on Friday 29 May
Day 1 East London to Chintsa
Day 2 Chintsa to Morgan Bay
Day 3 Morgan Bay to Wavecrest
Day 4 Wavecrest to Mazeppa Bay
Day 5 Maxeppa Bay to Dwesa Nature Reserve
Day 6 Dwesa Nature Reserve to The Haven
Day 7 The Haven to Madwaleni
If you would like to support us in this attempt to raise money for the foundation, please go to their website where you can read their mission statement and access their bank details.
Please email Joyce Gibson at with your donation/pledge, either Rand per km, per hour or a lump sum

Mad walk 2 Mad walk 3 Mad walk

Two available Grade 1 Medical Officer Posts

Hi everyone, I’m Dylan Gibson and I work at a legendary rural Eastern Cape Hospital called Madwaleni.  This blog post serves to get the word out there that we have two Grade 1 Medical Officer posts opening up from the 1st March 2015.  Along with the posts is a lovely two bedroom, fully renovated house.

If you are amped on a rural hospital experience, come and join this committed team of young doctors!

If you’re interested, please contact:

Dylan     060 5645 415

Andrew 072 6113 354

Or for more information, visit




Com Serve Doctors wanted!

Are you or anyone you know still looking for a com serve spot for 2015? We have the perfect spot for a rural Eastern Cape com serve experience! After the long-awaited release of the com serve placement list for next year, it seems Madwaleni hospital has been somewhat overlooked.  Aside from really needing the extra manpower of a group of legendary com serves, we feel that Madwaleni is an awesome spot for a fun rural com serve experience.

Madwaleni Hospital is an up and coming rural hospital situated in the Eastern Cape, just 16km from one of the most beautiful stretches of coast line in the country.  We have an exciting team of young doctors looking to make a long term impact in this incredibly needy community.  Check out some of the other posts on this blog as well as our website for more info on the hospital itself and life in the Transkei.

Here are a couple of pics of some of the cool things we get up to…

FotorCreated  FotorCreated1


So if you’re intersted, or even if you want some more info, feel free to contact me on 072 978 7122, or drop me an email,

Dyl Gibson

Friday tie day

At Madwaleni, we’re all about bringing class and tradition back to rural health.  A couple of weeks back one of our latest additions, Dr John-D, ‘Danger’, Lotz began arriving at work on Fridays in his bow tie.  At first we thought it strange – maybe we felt we couldn’t pull it off, I don’t know.  But nevertheless, here we are, several weeks later, joined by many enthusiastic Madwalenians to celebrate Friday tie day.  You stay classy Madwaleni.

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