Cruise Alaska – 16-23 May (Dawie J)

Finely: school vacation and off on the boat!

We came on the boat and immediately went to eat. And repeated that lots of times thereafter.

There were so much to do: there were games, restaurants, lounges, card rooms, a cinema, it was just great.

We played Table Tennis. You think I would win my mom, well I did not, but it was still fun. We also played shuffleboard on the deck – there I was the champion!

We cruised along the Inside Passage of Alaska. The scenery was wonderful! We went right up to a glacier and saw icebergs around the boat. When we went ashore, we hiked for miles and miles.

That was the only thing that was free, but it was very nice. We walked over mountains and saw waterfalls, snow, pine trees and rivers.

Unfortunately I got sick the last 2 days on the boat. I think the lots of sugary food was a shock on my stomach, but my mom said it was a bug (and the fact that I don't like fruit). I am 100% healthy now.

The boat trip was very nice, I enjoyed it a lot! But I am also glad to have my 2 feet back on solid ground. I am ready for the next adventure and for school that will start after this 1 glorious week of holiday.

Flashback: two months in my Mother land- 25 May 2009 (Charlie)

First of all ,it's great being back on tour! I realised that I was a bit behind on blog writing so here goes. Although I miss my beautiful Namibia and its people already, being with my family again is amazing. The moment I landed at LAX and saw their faces, I truly realised what they mean to me. I truly thank God for all my wonderful privileges, but I thank Him the most for the wonderful foundation of love, peace, trust, forgiveness and grace He has given me through my family!

Coming back to my time in Namibia, I want to tell you about the most significant events, but also give it an evaluation based upon expectancy and responsibility. Our lives hang on a thread. Only God knows when and where we will die! Because we can't plan the date of our death or choose at what age we want to stop living on earth, it is essential to give it your all, live your purpose and prioritise the things that are dear to you. One thing we can also control is where we will go when we die because of the gift God gave us in sacrificing His Son on the cross, the question still remains:" How many people will we take with us?"

This was my fuel for going back in these two months, I wanted to serve others to the best of my ability, encourage and enlighten. Yes, in earthly terms I went back to play rugby, but God saw an opportunity for so much more! Thus these two months in Namibia were not going to be a piece of cake or like my dad likes to say, "It won't be Mickey Mouse, son."

I came in Namibia with the expectation and warmth of seeing my friends and eating red meat! Luckily the first few days I stayed with the Du Plooys, so both of my instinctive expectations got realised in the first two days! I had a Steak dinner and got to see my friends at a surprise party the next day! This was a wonderful beginning to my time at home. To add to that beginning, we had rugby practises on the Friday and Saturday just after my arrival. It was great to see my team mates again, but unfortunately the bad jet lag I got made it tough on the body, little did I know that this was the start of a tough physical battle. After a lovely weekend with A.J. and family I headed to my grandma's and started an amazing and blessed time with her!

The next Monday morning it was time for school! Yes, I loved being back in the whole school environment, but from the word go I had to adapt to the new conditions. I did work hard on my own overseas but the teachings were in many cases based on notes and although I had the basic knowledge of the syllabi, I did not know all the new kinks and format, thus I had to do everything from the beginning with only a month to the exams! This put me through a little bit of stress but I soon developed an action plan to approach this hurdle: Hard work. I put in a lot of extra hours and although this was tough I knew it was a preparation for things to come in my life.

Moving past the school, we practised rugby a lot and I enjoyed it with all my heart and battered body. Our first games as an u/15 side came the next weekend at the H.T.S. tournament. We were suffering from a few injured players, but we still managed to bring home the trophy. Although we won, we didn't play good rugby thus we had a lot to work on before the AFFIES tour.

In between the rugby and School I enjoyed a lovely time with my grandmother. I ate a lot of red meat and Namibian "braaivleis" and listened to a lot of very interesting old folk stories that I never heard before. We also went to restaurants, a luxury I didn't have overseas.

The training for the Affies tour went well and before I could take hold of the time we were on the bus. Now the interesting thing about this tour was not only the high quality of rugby we were up against but also the fact that we had to write exams on the tour! I pre prepared pretty well but we all know that the studying done on tour was not going to be much and when studying it is not going to be effective. Besides the Rugby and the exams an even greater challenge laid before. I had to pick up the spirits of the team and deal with tension. Yes, in our closely knit set up there was a brewing of tension between certain parties like in any relationship around the globe. We had unhappiness and conflict and unfortunately this cost us dearly. The first game we played was against Pretoria Boys High. This was a gruelling encounter like we expected it to be. Many points were walking around like they say but neither of the teams could capitalise on them. Before we knew it, we were 10 points down at half time. The second half needed a change of mind and of heart. It happened but we were still three points behind when the siren sounded- the last play of the match was in our hands... We went left and right on the field just retaining the ball on numerous occasions and then after two minutes of play after time was up we dived over for the try! It was a memorable and blessed win. Unfortunately it was the last highlight of that tour. We lost the next game badly which was our first loss as a team. The next game we should have won but lost it at the end creating a losing streak of two.

It was tough on the team but strangely that was just what the doctor ordered! Everyone was humbled and forced to put their differences aside so that we could come back stronger. That for me outlined the fact that God makes everything work out for the good for those whom he loves!

On this tour I also had the opportunity to enjoy a day with my Family that lives in Rustenburg, the Potgieters. This was excellent and very, very special.

Before I knew it we were back in Windhoek and finishing with our exams. My last two weeks there flew by and I utilised it to the full. The last few days with my grandmother was great and very enjoyable. Our relationship got even better like most of my relationships. I focused on building and not breaking anything down

Time flies and I said goodbye to Namibia again and went on the Jnr. Sport tour. Like all tours with WHS this was amazing. Here I picked up on my social life and got to spend not only fun time with the people around me but also very serious talks that the Lord used to change my life and theirs.

The spirit in the camp was also a lot better. We were eager to come back from the losses and were eager to do the Lord's will and play for him! Naturally with that mission we did well and had great wins in our first two games but lost a tight one in our third game. All in all I had a great tour and I know now that the team is ready for a great season.

I want to end off with a special thank you to everyone who made my time in Namibia special and who really showed me love to make it very enjoyable!

As for now, we are in Whitefish, Montana, U.S.A. We just came from an amazing Alaskan Cruise and one of my other family members will write more about that.

God Bless