Vredefort_DomeIn the usual Africa style, the challenges are erupting as we are close to departure date.  Planning has been going relativley smooth (for Africa).  Urgently at hand is the plans for ground transportation to take us through 3 S. African Provinces.  Our original “quote”/guesstimate was R1000 (i.e. US$136.96) per day has now escalated to R1500 – R2000 (i.e. US$203.94 – 271.93) per day.  When considering we have 10 days of ground transportation to split amongst 9 people (most of whom are students) the very beginning of the problem surfaces.  To add insult to injury the rental place wants 50% of the cost deposited (via wire) at time of agreement. My bank is so backward that it requires my presence to wire the funds – rather difficult to do when one is in Johannesburg and bank is in Dallas, Texas.  The Saga will go on and a plan will be created, I’m sure.  So, the continuation of our mantra: TIA (THIS is Africa!).

Our first stop on 31-July will be Vredeforte Dome area (as seen in the photo). We’ll be staying at a friends family farm in Parys and transporting to the various clinics in the Free State Province for 5 days before going on to Mpumalanga Province and Xanthia Project.  Again, TIA – we have STILL NOT secured approval from the Health Department for our entry into clinics to conduct our “hearing clinic” AND since we have not secured approval from the Health Department, the Education Department cannot approve our entrance into schools to conduct hearing screenings.  Of course our work is standard practice as we will be accompanied by a S. African Audiologist and Physician.  IF APPROVAL comes at the 11th hour, there MAY be a strike at the schools (which will shut them down) on the days we are there!   One trait I deeply admire in Africans is continuing on with multiple plans. So, we have multiple contingency plans in the works.  One of which is to go to the “Old Folks Homes” and work from Triage through Hearing Aid dispensing with the elderly.

Just a few mentions about Vredeforte Dome area in the Free State Province of South Africa.  The Dome (Crater), is approximately 120 km south-west of Johannesburg and represents part of a larger meteorite impact structure, or astrobleme. Dating back 2,023 million years, it is the oldest astrobleme yet found on Earth. With a radius of 190 km, it is also the largest and the most deeply eroded. Vredefort Dome bears witness to the world’s greatest known single energy release event, which had devastating global effects including, according to some scientists, major evolutionary changes. Vredefort is the only example to provide a full geological profile of an astrobleme below the crater floor.ه While there are a schools and clinics in this particular region, it suffers in the same way asهthe rest ofهrural S. Africa — there is a PAINFUL shortage of health and ancillary health professionals to serve the MILLIONS of S. Africans.

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