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Oranges for sale

Avatar of inke inke - 30. September 2016 - Discover Namibia

Gondwana started construction on Canyon Lodge, their first, after buying the farm Karios, east of the Fish River Canyon. Bank funding had been secured in principle, with personal homes put up as collateral. The founders were on site day and night as they had only three and a half months to build the twenty-room lodge, leaving no time to travel to Windhoek to see their families, or the bank manager.

When the anticipated phone call came from the bank, requesting a meeting with the new MD Manni Goldbeck to confirm funding, pressure instantly mounted. With little time to spare and the critical need to be at this meeting, Manni was in a serious pickle. Having already paid his labourers for the week’s work, Manni found himself alone on site with his Kombi and not a penny in his pocket and only a few drops in the petrol tank. Knowing that fumes would not get him the 700 kilometres to Windhoek, he wracked his brain to think of a way to make the trip possible. And that’s when it came to him! 

Dashing to the cement mixers with a plastic container, he carefully drained the remaining petrol. He looked at the Kombi’s fuel gauge again. Fortunately the extra fuel had made a difference, but it still wasn’t going to get him all the way. He looked around again considering his options. That was when he noticed that Karios’ orchards were ablaze with oranges, with fruit hanging heavily on the trees. In a moment inspired by desperation, Manni picked as many oranges as he could carry, piling the back seat of his Kombi with fruit.

Manni left Karios that Friday evening, driving through the night to meet with the bank manager on Saturday morning. But by the time he reached Rehoboth, just 80 kilometres from Windhoek, his fuel gauge was in the red. He wasn’t going to make it. It was time for plan B, and so Manni stopped and waited for the shops to open. At the first open door he went in and offered his oranges. The owner admired the juicy fruit but apologised, saying he had already ordered his oranges from a Mr van der Wath in Stampriet. At the second shop he heard the same story. A deal had already been struck with Mr van der Wath. There was now only one shop left to try, and the stakes were now incredibly high. He had to think quickly. So this time, when the doors opened, with as much confidence as he could muster, Manni Goldbeck walked in, introduced himself as Mr van der Wath, and asked how many oranges they wanted to buy.

The rest of the story is history. With the proceeds of the sale of his oranges at this last shop, Manni made it to Windhoek in time to placate the bank manager, giving Gondwana the much-needed financial investment. 

In a twist of fate many years later, Gondwana went on to buy the farm Stampriet from none other than Mr van der Wath! This presented the perfect opportunity for Manni to clear the slate and his conscience. As he recounted the story of the oranges, he anxiously wondered what Mr van der Wath’s reaction would be, half expecting to be scolded. Mr van der Wath looked hard at Manni as he told the story. Then his eyes softened and the corners of his mouth started to twitch and his subsequent laughter filled the room, instantly dissolving Manni’s long-held guilt.

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