By Alicia Van Onselen
Posted: 18 October
Western Cape & Namakwa Events Co-ordinator Alicia Van Onselen shares her experience of SIOP
The computers decided to crash on the first day, at exactly 9am, whilst people were still registering. Despite the long queues everyone was friendly and very understanding that even in Africa computers and networks are not reliable. Despite the first hurdle, the day turned out well. The delegates came out into the Cape sunshine like our local Dassies to enjoy their lunch and network with people from all around the globe.
Then off to the Meet and Greet at the Hotel school in Granger Bay. What beautiful views for our foreign visitors. Despite the wind great fun was had by all and some even went home with swollen fingers from the beating of the African drum.
Gold Restaurant turned out to be more than we expected and everyone had a fab time booging to the African performance. Many delegates bought little gifts to exchange with one another and the networking once again stood out for me. People made new friends and met up with old ones from previous conferences.
Despite it been very overcast the runners turned out in time for the early morning start – 6:30am – of the fun run. Wow what an awesome bunch of people from Kenes, the international conferencing company. This team went over and beyond the call of duty.
At SIOP I met the most humble people with life lessons truly learnt. In particular, the parents and the survivors I encountered from Africa made me realise how privileged we are.
Parents staying at the CHOC Tygerberg Lodge got up early to do their hair and then clean the garden and get things ready for the CHOC tour of the hospital, lodge and CHOC Plumstead House. Although they had no clue as to what the SIOP conference was about they were proud to welcome these visitors and wanted to showcase the space where their kids are housed.
We made it back from the tour in time to see some of the closing ceremony, with a video on the location for SIOP 2016. Dublin, you have big shoes to fill.
Thank you to all our dedicated volunteers, we could not have done this without you.
My view from the hotel for the last delegate pickup set a beautiful backdrop of the SIOP conference. I was sad to see my new found friends leave but will cherish the memories of stories and lessons learnt.
By Alicia Van Onselen