Blog 63 – Final Blog
So here I sit in the tranquil surrounds of Balitto writing my final blog for this epic and life changing trip. These last six months have been something that I will remember for the rest of my life. It may sound like verbal hyperbolae is upon me saying that the trip has been life changing but it has been nothing short of it. Let me explain why.
So after White River I continued around the beautiful Eastern Transvaal (Mpumulanga) seeing friendly Build It stores without mishap and as usual was greeted with civility and kindness. I really have to say that there are some wonderfully strong core qualities that run through and thread the Build It culture together. These qualities compromise unwavering friendliness which must come from a fantastic service orientated culture, always quick to smile, engaging, focused on what is at hand and always a hospitable and kind reception accompanied by a firm handshake and a look you in the eye personality. I really just could not be more impressed with the quality people that make up the Build It Group. I will forever be indebted to each and every person I met, the absolute majority of which, have been so wonderfully kind to me.
Back to the nuts and bolts of the trip I decided that I needed a small break and so headed back to Durban to spend some time in the office and some time catching up on my sports and also with family and friends. It was during this break that a momentous event occurred in my life. At 8 10 am, on Venice Road whilst putting my Mountain Bike onto its rack on the back of my car I was approached by two armed men who after threatening my life stole my car, my bike, and nearly all my possessions. The most devastating of which was losing all my pictures and life’s work as both my laptop and external hard drive were in my car at the same time.
Being fairly unemotional when it comes to material possessions with the exception of my beautiful fast running Mountain Bike, generously sold to me by a fine friend of mine, I took the loss on the chin. But I was absolutely devastated to lose many pictures and videos of my beautiful daughter which were very dear to me. If I am honest, to this day, months later I am still not completely over the loss of these precious memories.
I have the best Insurance brokers in South Africa – absolutely no doubt about it and to the point that if I was offered free insurance I would decline it and would rather pay because when something goes wrong you are looked after and always paid fairly and promptly – who are Wilkinson Insurance Brokers based out of Westville. I was paid out and left bikeless, carless and as the house I had been renting in Kloof was sold when I had being doing the Build It trip homeless too. A sorry state of affairs indeed but the kind of challenge and set of circumstances that always galvanises me to head upwards as opposed to dispiriting me.
The very best thing that the hijacking did was that the same evening I went out to dinner with people that I only went out with because of the morning’s incident and met the most amazing lady I could ever hope to meet. On top of that the incident provided me with a clarity of mind that has sometimes been missing for the past three years or so. I have subsequently sold a property I didn’t need, bought another that I really needed, am in the process of buying the car of my dreams and all my thinking in daily life and where I am headed and where I want to go is of the clearest vision. So all in all I am grateful to those two guys that threatened me and have realised that God does work in mysterious ways but he always wants to help us and is always on our side even when things appear to not be so.
I had the not so small matter of my daughter’s 21st to organise and stage at a great friends house who generously opened it up to us in early January and after that wonderful evening I was back on my trip. Just to add I continued my trip soon after the hijacking until just before Christmas. My Mum who was convalescing at home after an operation generously lent me her car.
I had just over 80 Build It’s to see and things could not have gone more smoothly. If I can say I completely dedicated myself to the task at hand and was absolutely determined to complete this epic journey by the end of February which is what I did.
So how to conclude. I think I now have the most amazing contact list of great new people I have met from almost every square inch of this magnificent country that we live in. I feel confident that I have someone that I could turn too in nearly every town and city in this country because of this trip. My eyes have also been opened as to why Build It is the enormous success that is. Not only are each and every store a pleasure to walk into with the most quality materials and best pricing on offer but it is the amazing people that work there that I feel sure makes this eminent chain of successful stores the triumph that the Build It Group is.
For me I have learned so much. About this country, about our people, about myself. I have seen the most exquisite scenery, I have had a thousand amazing experiences and have laughed often. There is absolutely no doubt that this six month journey has changed my life for the better and I will always thank Build It for the amazing support that they gave me and our young company and for giving me an experience I will never forget.
Lastly I would like to thank my ever cheerful, supportive and most unbelievably positive and hard working business partner Fiona Swanepoel for all her support through this journey. I am not the easiest of people to have in your space but Fiona always knows how to bring the best out of me and I could not have done this trip without her administrative and at times emotional support. Eternal gratitude Fee.
Thank you To Rob, Chris and Zami for everything too. If I was ever to work in formal employment again I would want to have people of quality and kindness and generosity of spirit like yourselves as colleagues. No doubt about that, I would join the Build It Group in a heartbeat if I did not have my own businesses. Thank you for supporting me and our company. I am indebted to you guys and Build It forever.