Posted by Sally Holden on May 10, 2024
Today, we were excited to hear from member Alex Handyside about his Rotary Friendship Exchange to South Africa. You won't want to miss this here:

The Rotary Friendship Exchange (RFE) is an international exchange program for Rotary members and friends. It offers a unique opportunity for participants to host each other in their homes and clubs. Participants, who may be individuals, couples, families, or groups, do not necessarily need to be Rotary members. Typically, four clubs will participate, each offering up to six beds for three to four nights. As a result, a typical exchange lasts between 13 and 17 days and accommodates up to 12 people.

During their stay, visitors are introduced to local Rotary projects and other significant local attractions. While accommodation costs are usually covered, visitors are expected to cover their own dining expenses when eating out.

Recently, Halifax Harbour Rotary member Alex Handyside and his wife, Janet, participated in a four-center Rotary Friendship Exchange along South Africa's Sunshine Coast, joined by seven other Nova Scotian Rotarians. The group visited various local establishments, including daycares, schools, community, and employment centers, and were greatly impressed by the diverse Rotary programs they encountered. Notable highlights from their trip included a monthly eye-care clinic and a packet soup preparation center, both initiatives of the Rotary Club of Kenton on Sea.

The hospitality provided by all hosts was exceptional. Alex remarked, "The RFE is a fantastic way to explore parts of a country that are typically beyond the tourist trail while also meeting inspiring, dynamic individuals who are making significant contributions to their communities."

In addition to their Rotary exchange, Alex and Janet extended their journey to include personal vacations in Johannesburg, Cape Town, a game reserve, and Amsterdam, adding further depth to their international experience.