There are many ways to describe this trip, but one word that has stood out is kindness.
It is quite a challenge to take 22 students through the southern backroads of Namibia and then still add the enormous cold front that caused some places to see snow which hasn’t happened in years, and the worse east wind for many years on the coast. This is where I saw kindness come to the forefront in so many ways.
It started the first night in Weissenfels, where our hosts opened up a room for the students who wanted a warmer night and allowed us to use the outside cooking facilities right next to their home, where we also went through bags and bags of wood as we sat around the warm fire.
The next night we were at Namibgrens, where our hosts made sure we had everything we could ask for and brought us extra loaves of freshly baked bread the following day because they knew how much the students loved the warm bread. What made this even more memorable is that this was the day that the owner of Namibgrens, John Rabie, passed away, and yet our hosts served and loved us so sweetly through their personal grief.
This kindness kept happening wherever we went.
After our visit to Deadvlei in Sossusvlei, the wet and the cold truly set in, and we were desperately looking for a place of shelter for all our students. After visiting all the lodges in the Sesriem area, we ended up at the NWR Sossus Dune Lodge, where we met Loide, the lodge manager. Without hesitation, she said that we could all pile in and that she would figure it out for us. By the time we returned with all our students and luggage, she had spoken to her management, who then said that we could spend the night for free because they have a responsibility to look after our nation's children.
Kindness upon kindness.
At Aubures, our hosts came to see if they could help us with our fridge battery and, upon realising they didn’t have the tools needed, made phone calls around the area to see who could help us.
At Betta, we were allowed to again pile into the rooms at a reduced rate.
At Aus, we had a massive pot of soup waiting for us because our hosts thought the children would appreciate and enjoy the warm soup on a cold night. We were then given the guest house that had five rooms for us at no extra cost because, again, we must look after the children.
At Tiras, we had the most delicious jam tartlets waiting for us as a welcome gift; our host had said that there was just a tiny sliver for everyone, but that wasn’t accurate at all. We had students who had fourth and fifth helpings, and it was such a special way to end the day.
At Duwiseb, our guide came after hours to open up and give us a guided tour so the students could learn more about the area's history.
It is Pete and Wanda van der Merwe, friends of ours, who came from Windhoek to meet us in Sossusvlei to bring us resupplies and fix two of the broken bikes during our journey there. They then kept all our bikes in their Unimog while we slept at Sossus Dune Lodge without storage space.
It is Rene van Niekerk and Alda Laubscher, teachers at the school, who made sure to get all the things we had forgotten and buy all the things we still needed (which included another 7 kilograms of hot chocolate as we were going through a kilogram a night!) and then get it to the van der Merwe’s.
It is one of our parents arranging for us to get a guided tour to the new Luderitz Power Plant on a Sunday afternoon.
This list can go on and on. I hope you can join me in seeing and appreciating the kindness we have seen every day. This trip would not have been possible or have gone the way it has without so many people choosing to show kindness over and over again.
It has been an incredible and glorious adventure for us all, and I can say without a doubt that no one has been left unchanged after this Cycle Challenge. Thank you for joining us on our journey and sharing our experiences. Till our next adventure…