Hospice Outing for Francilien, Michael, Chamalia Conradie

On Saturday 10 September 2016 Hearts for Hospice made an outing possible for a patient’s mother and her two eldest children (Michael and Chamalia).


Francilien cares for her 7 year old son who has Cerebral Palsy and finds it difficult to find some time for herself, let alone make time to bond with her two eldest children as she’d like to while caring for dependent child. Although she has full Hospice support, the patient’s care is very demanding and is required 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Francilien is a loving and dedicated mother to her 4 children aged 13, 11, 7 and 2. However, she finds the continuous care very demanding on her time and gratefully welcomed the opportunity to enjoy a day out with her eldest children. On realising the needs of this patient’s family, we made it our goal to treat them to a boat trip to and from the Featherbed Nature Reserve, a tractor trip right up to the top of the reserve, a guided walk around the reserve and a delicious buffet lunch. All thanks to generous local members of our Knysna community who wish to remain anonymous.

I interviewed the trio in their Nekkies home. Their home, although made of timber and plastic sheeting, was neat and well cared for. Francilien was elbow deep in a huge tub of washing when I arrived, a daily occurrence for those of us who know how much laundry 4 children can produce! She greeted me with a beautiful big, welcoming smile and was extremely accommodating. Her 2 eldest children were shy to speak to me at first, but as I asked them about their outing and what they saw and experienced they opened up and laughed and joked with each other and their mother about the memories they made on the trip.

Initially they were nervous of the rocking motion of the boat as a group of friendly overseas tourists boarded. However they soon found their ‘sea legs’ and were awestruck by the beauty of being so close to the notorious Knysna Heads. They enjoyed the smell of the thick salty, fresh air while learning of the history of the ships that had sunk upon trying to enter the harbour years ago. Feeling safe upon their own boat, they enjoyed the trip to the Feather Bed Nature Reserve where they disembarked and climbed aboard the tractor to take them up to the top of the reserve. Francilien was very nervous of the children climbing on the rocks to look over the edge and the children of course found this extremely amusing!

They learnt of the beautiful fauna and flora which are indigenous to the area and even encountered a brightly coloured snake! They took pictures on Francilien’s phone of themselves and their surroundings, memories that they will have forever!

Then came the buffet lunch! The family were overwhelmed by the feast laid out and were at first hesitant to try foods that they didn’t know. Francilien also kept a careful eye on the children in case they took so much that there wouldn’t be enough food left for the rest of the group!  But once they saw that they were allowed to return for more and after tasting how delicious the food was, they became a bit more adventurous in their selection of second helpings. The children tasted crayfish for the first time and struggled to describe how delicious it was!  Chamalia took great delight in telling me how she had 2 helpings of ice cream and homemade chocolate sauce and how she felt so full that she couldn’t fit another morsel into her stomach even if she wanted to!

When I asked Francilien about how she felt about the outing and what the best part of the outing was, she answered immediately that it was wonderful to spend time alone with her eldest children. She also described how wonderful it was to be out in the open to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. She was overwhelmed by the natural beauty of their surroundings in the reserve. On asking the children the same question, their simultaneous answer was being alone with their mom! The food was the cherry on top for their day out.

Francilien, Michael and Chamalia would like to express their gratitude for this special opportunity to spend time together and create a lasting memory to hold on to when times are tough.Hospice’s newly launched project ‘Hearts for Hospice’, aims to uplift the emotional, social and spiritual needs of our patients and their family members. This is in keeping with Hospice’s holistic approach to care. We recently made a house bound patient’s wish to meet The Parlotone’s front man, Kahn Morbee come true by taking him to her house to meet her at her bed side. Next we took 33 of our Orphaned and Vulnerable Children for a lunch at Falcon Creek Spur, sponsored fully by Falcon Creek Spur. They enjoyed a burger, chips, cold drink, ice cream and a play on the inside play equipment. Most of them had never eaten at a restaurant and some of them had never even been to the Knysna Waterfront!  We aim to do one project a month.


If you, or anyone you know would like to become involved in this project in any way, please contact me on info@hospiceknysna.co.za or phone me, Ashleigh Smith at the office on 044 384 0593.