Traveler Profile - Rita Quigley

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Rita Quigley worked as a hospice social worker for 30 years before her retirement. She has a passion for service which includes traveling to Kenya and Chile, and in 2016 with ACC to South Africa and Malawi.

I traveled to Africa in September 2016. It was a perfect combination of all my travel goals. We were tourists in lovely lodges marveling at the beauty of the land and people. We were wedding guests enveloped by the hospitality of our adopted family. We were students on the ground with teachers and learners in real classrooms. I knew nothing of Malawi and very little about South Africa. But now I have hiked and boated in Malawi and been tutored in the amazing creation stories of indigenous tribes. In Cape Town, SA, I reveled in a garden of Eden known as Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and from there rode the funicular to a spectacular view from Table Mountain. 

More sobering was my experience at the Hector Pieterson Museum in Johannesburg where TV newsreels brought tragedy alive and sparked painful memories of what I had seen in the 70’s from my safe living room in Minnesota. But as a former teacher myself, I was completely enchanted by the schools in Eshowe, SA. The enthusiasm and determination of the teachers and parents made the gift of well-built classrooms, light and dry, seem like a real investment in those beautiful children. And could they sing, 4-part harmony with just a nod from the teacher! We were not seen as observers or worse yet as gawkers, but as persons who had a vested interest in these young people. We heard the teachers refer to them as learners and we witnessed the great joy and pride the title gave them.