Tag Archive: orange river


so ja, last nite we had a theatresports show at kalk bay which was all cool and delightful and a bunch of fun (except maybe the two quite morbid but particularly brilliant dramatic one minute challenge games we played – whole nother level) and then i started driving back home to the beautiful val as i do…

when i came to a roadworks part of the road but with no one manning (or womenning) it – now i had come thru it on the way to the show but not noticed anything particularly different from normal except that now it was a lot closer to the show venue than it had been months ago (good sign) and so i paused for a moment figuring out if i must go or not and then knda started to go but saw bright lights coming around the corner and so i reversed enuff for the car to get past and then i waited a while longer and nothing and then i was thinking of going and two more cars came around so now i was getting a little concerned – was this russian roulette night time roadworks dash? and why wasn’t i given a packaged rule book and matching arm tag to show i was competing..?

as i had built up enuff courage and after considerable gap of no cars i started going forwards again and again lights from around the corner and so i reversed and the guy in front was flashing his lights at me (how rude, and yet no flashbacks – ha! – to the time when i inadvertently turned into the wrong way of a two lane one way road system and thort all the cars flashing me were trying to warn me about the first idiot who i had come across who was on my side of the road) and he stopped next to me and told me that it’s a one way and then pointed to the signs…

the signs which if you can imagine me driving down a street are on my left (with an only left sign and a no right sign) parallel to the road… so for example, if i had been out of my car on the opposite side of the road and looking across the road i would have noticed them quite easily, but driving along the road with them passing me on the left as i faced ahead of me (for some strange reason i like to call not driving into things or people) they were less useful…

now there may have been some other signage somewhere else explaining the whole thing to me but it clearly was not very clear and i could have died and i don’t like the idea of that right now (don’t get me wrong, i’m very ready to die when it happens, but at the moment and especially with a beautiful but sick wife waiting at home for me, i’m quite fine with the living thing) and so i was a bit angry with the road and/or sign people…

the second one occured when i was on the orange river recently and we were nappy running sjambok and i got pulled under for what seemed like eight seconds too many and i wans’t convinced in that moment i was going to make it…

and the third was in Malawi in 2000 on DTS outreach with YWAM when we were woken up early in the am with our night watchmen having seen two crowds of mob with machetes and the like advancing up the hill towards our base right while i was in the middle of a crisis of faith and do i really believe this stuff or not…

turns out i do.

and near death experiences are pretty cool and highly recommendable actually (once they’re done – usually during them there are all sorts of issues like hoping you don’t need a fresh pair of pants anytime soon and so on) because they encourage depth. stock-taking. life evaluation… actually i think that might be why some people offer to drive with me from time to time – that and increased prayer life.. i’m just kidding.

or am i. you had a near death lately? any good consequences thereof?

so i recently was on an orange river trip with a bunch of youth okes linked to a southern suburbs church youth group…

two of the guys on the trip wore t-shirts (which i addressed with them both – one directly and one a little more indirectly cos i couldn’t remember who had been wearing it) which distressed me a lot

[1] cartoon picture made up of two blocks – in the first block a guy and a girl figure [similiar to toilet man and woman stick figures] standing next to each other – in the second block dude has shoved his arm out and girl is falling through the bottom of the block – caption reads “PROBLEM SOLVED”

[2] second was a block with a cartoon groom and a bride, similiar stick figure vibe to first pic – bride is holding bouquet and smiling, groom has big sad face – caption reads “GAME OVER”

both of them saddened me in terms of the message they were delivering and in terms of the fact that young guys would choose to wear them [the ‘problem solved’ guy told me that he had been given the t-shirt by a bunch of his girl friends which made me maybe even a little more horrified]

are they funny? yes, i guess so, clever word play, well done

but they are horrible, horrible, horrible, especially the ‘game over’ one

the statistics for divorce are something like 1 in 3 marriages or maybe even closer to 1 in 2 these days – and they are largely the same in so-called christian and non-christian marriages – how much of this is due to the fact that marriage has largely become a joke, or at the very least a joked about thing

when i marry people [two down, one to go next weekend] i marry them with my shoes off, linking back to the moses story and the fact that he was standng on holy ground, because i truly believe that is how God views marriage – it is a holy and special and spiritual and sacred thing – when we return to that point of view, we will have a starting point towards having healthy marriages which – altho not necessarily easy, because marriage is not always easy, it requires work and effort and sacrifice and humility and service and surrender on a continual daily basis – can and do work and will be an effective role model in a world where relationships have largely become a selfish endeavour, reduced to a me-me-me-me enactment, or a joke on a t-shirt…

one of the ways we amused ourselves on the orange river trip i just came back from was by playing this game that andrew vaughan had made up with i think it was andrew kerr a while ago – it was the game of ‘how’s business?’ and it goes a little something like this:

brett: i’ve recently started a new business
andrew: what business is it?
brett: we make wind-producing machines out of rice
andrew: how’s business
brett: it’s fan-tastic

brett: i have a new business
andrew: what business it is?
brett: we install elevators and lifts in shopping malls
andrew: how’s business?
brett: it has its ups and downs

brett: i have a new business
andrew: what business is it?
brett: we take different varieties of cows and catapult them into space
andrew: how’s business?
brett: our stock is up

and so on – it was fun and cringe-worthy and irritating (depending on who was listening) and confusing all rolled into one… my favourite for the week continues to be:

brett: i recently started a new business
andrew: what business is it?
brett: we distribute make-up to artists who draw designs with it on pieces of poo
andrew: how’s business?
brett: it’s pretty crap

i like it. can you do better? post yours here…

so we made it home from the ambassador’s youth orange trip yesterday… made it home? sounds like survival talk there? oh wait, it is… the trip for me included a near death experience – or one that felt like it anyway – for me and so i am really glad to be back, and with my the beautiful Val again…

all in all it was an incredible trip – a lot of effort needed at different times for different reasons but a great bunch of leaders, a crazy mad rad bunch of youths, and once again a winning combo of tour guides headed up by the irrepressible Ollie (if ‘irrepressible’ means brilliant leader, cool fun funky guy, and all round winner, which it probably doesn’t – who makes up these words anyway?)

it is impossible to suitably (some might say ‘aptly’ but not me, not this time, i’ve gone for ‘suitably’ – darn, wish i’d gone for ‘aptly’ now) give an accurate summing up of the whole trip cos so much happened, so many conversations, so many moments of humour and blondity and action and so much monty python, marco poloing and new business forming… so i’ll just have to mention some highlights, which are going to be more relevant to those who went than those who didn’t – you really did have to be there [where were you anyway?]

so, near death? nappy running [take off your life jacket and step thru the arm holes thus wearing it like a nappy – jump into river and swim swim swim against current – failed that bit a little – and then get into cocktail position which is feet first with arms and feet in air and let river take you] sjambok which is a level grade 2 rapid and the worst one we encounter on this trip – started off badly when i couldn’t swim far enuff across the river cos i suck as a swimmer and the current was really strong so probly cocktailed too early, but fortunately the current carried me towards the right place anyways – or unfortunately it seems – and the bit where you get sucked under into the whirlpool and then spat out quickly i got the first bit right of and then suddenly i am under the water swimming to the surface… and swimming to the surface… and panicky swimming to the surface… it’s like i see the long tunnel with the light at the end, but the whole tunnel is flooded… [got so bad that Laurie, one of the girls standing at the side of the river who weighs about my hand, at first thort it was Ali playing a joke and then when she realised it was me and how long i’d been under was about to jump in and ‘save me’ – fortunately it was at that point that] eventually the river spat me out and i got a breath and started trying to swim and just had water everywhere again and so tried cocktail and that worked and i started floating down the river and fortunately John-o and my boat buddy Chris made a man chain from the side and caught me and pulled me in cos i had no strength by then… may not have been as close as it felt, and i probly wasn’t under the water for the seventeen hours and thirteen minutes it felt like, but really did feel like a bit of a close call…

so probly not my funnest moment, but if i had to pick some highlights of the trip they would probably be:

* times around the fire challenging the youth with God stuff, choosing this day whom they will serve, Beth’s testimony/sharing, the morning devotion times to reflect and a lot of small group and one on one conversations, especially on the bus on the way home…

* finding out that Marco (who every time anyone said his name i would shout “Polo”) actually has “Paulo” as his second name (so we changed the response to “Paulo” and most of the group joined in)

* standing for about half an hour throwing rocks of increasing size at the spot next to Rosslee having her believe it was firstly fish and then James and then anyone else but the person a metre right behind her doing it and watching her jump surprised every time…

* gondola’eering – cos that never gets old…

* after a shaky start with Chris my boat buddy in terms of steering and power, absolutely owning all of the major rapids, including sjambok…

* business creating in the format of:

me: i’ve got a business
andrew: what business is it?
me: we send out people with metal detectors to african countries that used to be at war to remove mines from the fields
andrew: how’s business?
me: it’s picking up

my alltime favourite though is still:

me: i have a new business
andrew: what business is it?
me: we manufacture make-up that people use to beautify pieces of poo
andrew: how’s business?
me: it’s pretty crap

* video interviews with the finger and other forms of microphone

* the food, which was incredible, for food in a gourmet restaurant let alone stuff the guides had prepared on the side of a river over some coals – the gammon especially, wow, must have had seconds of that (fourteen times!) – definitely makes the trip a whole lot more comfortable

* juggling class and psycho golf (spin around ten times facing upwards holding on to a paddle then run and try and hit a bottle of water, or launch yourself over the edge if you are john) and all the water ball games (except maybe day one’s toe-crushing race against harry potter) and jack handeying and green stone popping and sharing my toothpaste with greg and josh on the last nite…

* oh, and winning… cos after a day of pulling peter and gavin for a while, and then lifting melch, and so being in last place straining against the water for most of the day, somehow boat buddy chris and i managed to find the front after lunch and managed to establish a slight lead and despite some gail force winds we managed to win the whole trip. cos we all know, it’s not a race. but it is.

just an incredible time of connecting with God, meeting new people, re-establishing relationship with old friends and braving the elements, oh and tunnels filled with not enough light and too much water – thanks to Andrew and Ambassadors for the opportunity and Ollie, Abel, Max, Matt and Griffin from Felix Unite for looking after us so well.

and it was all yello….orange…

so tomorrow i join with andrew of vaughan once more (as i did two years ago) and a bunch of youngsters from Christchurch, Kenilworth, to head up to and then down the river of orange (yes, it’s my new thing, deal with it!) and i am very much looking forward to it…

originally we were hoping that the beautiful val would be able to be there but sadly thesising and her old housemate’s wedding will be keeping her away and so we will have to make do with singing and talking and poetising about her as we did last time – when she arrived to pick me up after the previous trip the whole bus of youths felt like she was an old friend and a bunch of them even got out and hugged her…

looking forward to a big reunion with Ollie of Ver who was our river guide, my co-writer and singer of ‘give me hope Johanna people-on-river-trip themed songs (along with daniel of corder who sadly won’t be making it this time) who challenged me (well i don’t know if it was an active challenge but he did it so i kinda had to) to ten pushups which he did on his canoe which i then did (or did we do twenty?) with another guy (andrew winter perhaps?) across two canoes and then he did a headstand on his canoe and i think it was getting late by then… amazing guide, amazing trip, can’t wait…

altho there is this little nagging feeling in the back of my mind that i call stayawayfromthearguscycletourophobia which is the internal wailing scream of “never again!” that one sings to oneself (in a grunge metal combination of merit) for about 103 of the 109km of the Argus Cycle tour due to pain and cramp and wind and what-was-i-thinking (maybe last year’s argus cycle tour was not sufficient training for this one and getting on my bike at least once between races might have helped) and so on. but then a day later someone asks, “so are you going to do the argus cycle tour next year?” and you hear the words, “oh of course yes, wouldn’t miss it” come out of your mouth like some bad twilight zone episode curse…

so there is that nagging feeling… i’m not sure if it was the cold or the wet or the killing my arms by playing gondolier boy to lucy (my most excellent boat buddyess except in the bringing-suitable-snacks-for-brett department) slash showing off or the missing of my future wife or the bugs or the hard floor or the…

oh boy.

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