Chair Man of the ride

The word ‘Chairman’ in many minds may conjour up pictures of well-dressed and groomed individuals leading an organisation, company, Trust, NGO etc.

However as I shared in a blog a couple of weeks back, I recently worked as a driver for guests on a horse-riding safari in Namibia. Other than trying to be a diligent driver, it was obviously very apparent to the staff of Namibia Horse Safari Company, (NHSC) that I had ALL the attributes of a successful Chairman…or should that read “Chair Man” 🙂

You see, within a day of coming alongside the amazing support crew of NHSC, they identified these inherent skills and attributes and gave me the job (which they assured me was vital) of unpacking, opening and placing the camp chairs necessary at each lunch stop and end of day camp site as well as packing them away again once they had served their purpose! Admittedly the packing back into the trailer was a job best left to Rain or Phoebe as there was a definite knack to it, learnt only after months of practice! I’ve read to be an expert at anything you need to have done it 10,000 times…and these ladies were experts!

Fruit of a Chair Man’s job

Ready and waiting







Now, before you laugh…yes I can see those cheeky grins starting…….I was told by at least 1 guest…ok to be precise…it was literally 1 guest, that the sight of the chairs after a hard morning, or afternoon’s ride was a welcome respite from the bum on the saddle (or words to that effect) 🙂

The truth is I took the job seriously (as I do with most things I’m responsible for), and enthusiastically placed the chairs in the semi-circle, normally facing a great vista or around the camp fire in the evening. I would check for the look of delight in the face of the riders and staff as they saw what I felt were impeccably placed chairs.

But that look of delight wasn’t there, and one by one they sat or slept in them :-). As they sat, I enthusiastically helped the leader of the ride, Andrew and his right hand man Gerard with orders for drinks to quench the guests’ thirsts. Each one expressed their thanks for the respite from dry throats and dehydrated bodies. Only afterwards as I reflected on the trip, it struck me the appreciation was always there for the drinks, but not so for the chairs.

Chairs doing their job

2 chairs make a bed







I want to be clear, I don’t share this to feel sorry for myself, but as a reflection on how we can overlook the efforts of so many around us who daily carry out acts of serving others, without any gratitude or words of encouragement from those served. It challenged me with how I’ve been in the past, when holding positions of leadership ‘over others’, or in my every day life as I am served by petrol attendants, waiters, toll gate tellers….and even closer to home, my wife who cooks great meals for our family and serves us and others as a natural course of her day!

Chair as solar power holder

My challenge is to daily recognise the ‘Chair Men’ and ‘Chair ladies’ of this world and take time to acknowledge their role and give thanks and respect for their efforts….so to those reading this who fit the role, I salute you all!


Ray at Fish River Canyon

I was recently privileged to transport 8 guests from Cape Town for them to participate in a 10 day Horse-riding experience in Namibia! As I’ve had little contact with horses or riding and only once been by air to Namibia, the relative unknown added to my normal excitement at meeting and engaging with new people, buoyed me 🙂

This blog is the first of a few I will be writing as a result of this adventure as I ‘Took time to Wonder! As my official job was driving and not guiding this time, it gave me opportunity to take much more notice of the ‘journey’.


And Oh how this beautiful country opened herself for me to truly experience ‘Wonder’ in a very real way! This southern part of our neighbouring country literally doesn’t dress up! She just completely reveals herself, raw, naked, splendid, totally exposing her exquisite natural beauty. Her breath-taking allure was a far cry from the green, dense, fynbos and floral richness back in my home of Cape Town. The suddenness of change in scenery from what we left behind stunned me!

Dinner with guests at Olive Tree

Our jump from comfortable, decorative, warm Olive Tree B&B accommodation in Springbok, across the border into stark desert  surroundings was drastic! From warm air-conditioned, hot water bottle bliss one night, to a bedroll and stretcher under the stars simplicity, the impact on my senses was immediate!

As I gazed up to the Heavens, the milky way splashing across the black background, the billions of stars, constellations, planets and the odd shooting star and satellite stealing from the darkness, I felt my breath catch in my chest…….My heart pounded and I tried to absorb it all. The talk of scorpions and potential encounters with animals like hyenas or jackals from earlier campfire chats faded as I realised how extraordinary this display was. My own belief in a Creator soared as I surveyed this extraordinary beauty above me!

Warming around the fire

Quiver tree beauty

The next night was bitterly cold and I was glad our hosts had supplied us with such warm bedrolls…mine named Rhino 🙂 Ice had glazed over the vehicles, our bedrolls and anything left in the open. Climbing out of bed, with a small mat below keeping away creepy-crawlies was a struggle!

The following days I was transported to a place where my  sense of ‘Wonder’ was awakened, the Fish River Canyon, hot mineral pools, distinct Quiver trees, miles of sand and rock, cliff faces, cool, clear nights and majestic sunrises and sunsets bringing a stillness that was tangible! As the camp fires, potjiekos meals and presence of horses and riders added to this unique ‘other world’ experience, I found myself so thankful for the opportunity to leave cares and technology behind and grab this amazing period to soak in the simplicity, yet expansiveness of it all!

Majestic Canyon

Desolute beauty







To experience this all in the company of folks who had started out as passengers, as well as the crew of Namibian Horse safaris, all of whom had become closer to each other and to me, was a blessing indeed.

Mini tree in the rocks

Sunset in the desert

Writer’s office for the morning

Its good for us all to ‘Take Time to Wonder’!