Thursday, 29 April 2010

Friends of Thad and The Joy Centre

Its hard to believe its been a year since we lost Thad Owens, one of the nicest people and biggest characters I think I will ever meet. I have often thought about him over the last year and just as I said in my tribute to Thad last year a smile or a laugh often followed.

This week myself and Kate had the pleasure of meeting Thad's sister Jessica and her husband Garrett. They have traveled to Namibia to visit the places Thad stayed during the last months of his life and oversee the construction of a new building at the Joy Centre in Otjiwarongo.

The Joy Centre is a home for vulnerable children and orphans and during Thad's stay with us in 2009 he and the other Florida students visited the Centre every weekend to spend time with the kids and help out. In Thad's memory a charitable organization was formed to help raise funds for the Centre. Please check out their website at: and give them your support if you can :)

It was really great meeting Jessica and Garret who were a pleasure to be with and it was really nice to show them around CCF and pass on some of the stories we had about our time with Thad. It was also Thad's birthday last week and his family and friends had a birthday bash in his honor. Happy birthday buddy, you are gone but definitely not forgotten :)

Monday, 26 April 2010

Goodbyes, Cricket and Dinosaurs

We have recently had to say goodbye to not one but three of our staff. Leigh has been our director’s PA for just over a year and has just been accepted into Grad school at Yale University. We have known Leigh’s time was up for a while and were very pleased with the news of her success and see her moving on.

However, the departure of our Operation’s Manager Glen and his wife Natalie was sudden and is a real blow. Glen arrived in November 09 and is hugely experienced and has worked in South Africa and New Zealand. Having Glen and Natalie here over the last four months has been amazing, we have all learned a lot from Glen and have really appreciated the effort he put in trying to make CCF a better place. Whereas Natalie wasn’t strictly staff she felt like it as she was always mucking in and helping out when it was needed and always seemed to have a smile on her face and do her best to cheer you up when you were feeling down. But alas, it was not to be and Glen and Nat decided to move on.

Glen really appreciated the hard work we all put in and one of the things Glen initiated here at CCF was a regular staff outing, allowing us to get away and unwind. He regularly took staff up to the Waterburg Plateau – one of Namibia’s famous geological features and only an hour and half’s drive away, but believe or not most of us here had never been up it. So in their last week here Glen and Nat organized a trip to see the world’s best-preserved dinosaur footprints. As many CCF staff as possible signed up and we had a fantastic night camping under the stars and enjoyed a braii. The highlight of the campfire talk was a discussion about Rob ‘Warlock’ Thomson – is he a machine, a supernatural being or a 2000 year old Egyptian mummy? At the time of this discussion the Warlock was passed out on the floor in a coma-esque state and posing like Tutankhamen. When he did arise he retreated to his one-man tent, which looked like some kind of alien re-charge pod from a sci-fi movie.

In the morning we had a great breakfast around the fire and then played a bit of Cricket! Myself, James and Gail are very familiar with the great game and had a bit of difficulty explaining the rules to the Americans and French. But the game got going and it was a huge hit, especially with Leigh who actually had some natural talent. Stay tuned to the African Adventure, as there will be more about the introduction of Cricket to CCF!

After Cricket we then went to the footprints and for me it was really interesting to imagine a dinosaur walking exactly where I was standing, especially when I put my hand in one of the footprints. For those who lacked imagination (the French) they were a bit of an anti-climax and yes, I entertained everyone by humming the Jurassic Park theme which no one found annoying at all.

Back at CCF we threw a farewell party for all three and if you ever wondered what it would look like to see Rob Thomson dancing with the Morkel to the Y.M.C.A then wonder no more…….

I was DJ so I of course had to introduce the uninitiated to Infected Mushroom and believe it or not Glen and Nat were fans and mashed it up on the dance floor to ‘I’m the Supervisor’……

Sadly the day came to say goodbye. We all wish Leigh good luck with her new adventure and whichever organization receives Glen and Nat will be very lucky indeed.