Just as the first light greeted us through our bedroom’s window, our children rushed into our room, filled with excitement.
We’re nearing the end of our ten-day explore of the Blue Crane Route.
It’s the perfect ending.
We’re at ‘Die Lapa‘, an adventure farm hidden in the mountains, just south of Somerset East.
It is beautiful.
A little village coming to life, far from the rush & noise of city life.
Wilna has hot coffee & warm breakfast ready.
Jannie, her husband was born on this land.
His grandfather walked in the river bed.
His father played amongst the trees & succulents.
What they do is share the amazing joy of farm life with anyone wiling to make the journey.
Since its inception schools & companies have come here to explore themselves as they explore nature.
I see a twinkle in Jannie’s eyes.
The games he played as a child & the ones he dreamt of, all of them are here to share & taste & experience.
His manner with our children speak of a gentle soul.
A soul hungry to heal & make whole.
The city-slickers from Gauteng are off to neighboring land where they’re developing a lodge.
What Jannie has created is not just another lodge.
It is a little bit of life in the heart of the Karoo.
Friends from Somerset East arrive.
Our number bolster.
We have teams to play paintball.
Jannie joins in.
Pippin & Theunsie fight like hardened soldiers.
We take the hits.
We give our share of hits.
We laugh exuberantly.
It fills the morning.
Over lunch we talk of the people who make their way to ‘Die Lapa’.
Beautiful people received by beautiful people.
All of us discovering more as we push ourselves beyond our own limits – or what we thought was limits.
Pippin & Soffie & Theunsie, even Zuko, brave the high swing.
Touching the blue Karoo heavens before swinging wildly through the sky.
Soffie overcomes a fear.
Theunsie & Pippin too, although they show a braver front.
As we do when we grow up.
Hiding our fear.
Keeping quiet about it, instead of being honest & facing it.
Talking about it without worrying what others would say.
If only we could do that.
In our relationships.
About who we are.
About what we fear.
About what we hope & dream & reach for.
I dream of a life filled with my Zuko & children.
Filled with wonderful people who make me & us more, as we make them more.
Encouraging each other.
Filling cracks & crevices.
Healing even, as we see each other’s beauty.
And reflect it.
Jannie & Wilma’s children join us.
They’re little Wilmarie take Theunsie & Sophia & Wilhelmina horse-riding.
Later we do the obstacle course.
The weather changes.
Large cold drops splatter in the soft Karoo soil.
Jannie helps each child along.
Explaining the value of choosing adventure.
Of moving outside of your comfortable space.
‘It is good to ask for help’, he says.
‘Nothing wrong with that, but ask exactly what you need, so others may know exactly how to come alongside you.’
‘There is no shame in asking.’
‘No one makes it without the help of others.’
How did we become so independent?
How did we come to believe that if I did not make it on my own I did not make it with dignity?
What is ‘making it’, after all?
Is it obscene wealth?
So that you can splash & splurge & spend as if there is no end.
Or is it deep relationship?
Who you were created to be?
Is it really connecting?
That is something else which have been brewing below the surface the past few days.
So many men’s inability to be authentic & honest.
Always hiding behind a bravado.
Robbing their wives & children of a life in intimacy.
I’m glad to see Jannie embrace his Wilna.
It is real.
How do we get there?
To that place?
Perhaps a place like ‘Die Lapa‘ will help us along?
Perhaps stepping outside the comfort of city life & doing together, something which we’d never consider doing – perhaps that takes us to this new place.
And along with that a new new-found bravery.
I think that is the gift of Jannie & Wilna with ‘Die Lapa’.
An opportunity to school boys & girls, to prefects & teachers, to families & friends & businesses, to get to that place.
It is a good place.
As we come into the village-hall at the centre of this little village, the warm fire is cooking supper.
The children head for the pool table.
The visitors from Gauteng are here as well.
Laughter is easy.
Zuko boldly explains our eccentric life.
Homeschooling at the little wooden house on the not so little hill.
Traveling the Eastern Cape.
It doesn’t sound like much in comparison to the lives of the rich & famous.
To us it is everything.
We connect for a moment, through the people.
For it is good.
And we hope, as Jannie & Wilna share Jannie’s boy-hood experiences, we may also share the joy of family life.
Of raising children, not to ‘leave’ for distant worlds, but to keep on sharing.
Alongside each other.