Mail to the Fans of African Angling Safaris
By Craig Thomassen
Tommo here. It falls on me to pass some very sad news on to all of our viewers and supporters. Early on Sunday morning the crew was involved in a tragic car accident on their way to a shoot. John Reid and Neil (Poprivet) Moore were both killed in the crash. Ari survived the accident and is unconscious in intensive care. Ari’s condition is serious, but he is stable.
John and Neil were both good friends and my world has certainly lost some of its shine with their passing.
Neil celebrated his twenty-first birthday just a couple of months ago. He was one of those rare people who collected no enemies and was liked by everyone he came into contact with. He was a keen and very accomplished fisherman, who never passed up an opportunity to get a line into the water, often showing the rest of us up with his success. Neil had amazing loyalty and a set of personal values that would have taken him a long way if life had allowed it. I have shared tents and hotel rooms all over Africa with Neil in the course of our filming and came to know him well. I shall miss him more than I can express.
John was an enthusiastic guy, who loved fishing and being on the water with a passion. John had a kind heart and was a special person who could keep his cool and think clearly in almost any situation. The type of guy you would want by your side in a crisis. John must get most of the credit for turning African Angling Safaris into a success from a business point of view. John leaves his wife Sonia and her daughter Bianca.
I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the families of both John and Neil, they will be sorely missed by many of us, but never forgotten.
Hamba kahle boys!
I would like to ask you all to send positive vibes to Ari in his time of need through thinking positive thoughts. We will keep you informed of his progress through the newsletter.
This whole first week has been a muddle of visits, work, kids, phone calls and the funerals. I was driven by Mario on Monday morning early to see Ari. You can’t go anytime really, because they want him to rest, and they need to look after him, and the doctors are busy with him and others. But I told them that Spencer and Mario had come from the coast specially, so they let us in a while. Always only two at a time, five minutes, I seemed to be spending more time ushering in friends and family to see him than actually spending time with him myself. Mario and Spencer took me to have breakfast at Village Walk afterwards. My phone’s always ringing. There’s so much work to do as always. Craig T and Gerhard had a meeting with me at 13h00 about the show and the rest of the business, what are we going to do ? Ari and Neil had two episodes ready for broadcast. It took a while for SuperSport to confirm they had received the tapes. Then we have a few reruns on the line to satisfy paid sponsors. By then, maybe Ari will be able to tell us what he wants us to do. We can’t let it die. He’s spent too much of his time, his life into creating this. The show must go on !! John’ parents and Sonia agree, in his honour, we can’t let it disappear. So SuperSport agreed when I asked them to dedicate Wednesday’s show to John & Neil. They had a girl explain what happened briefly. Craig T is doing a condolence letter for the Fan Family, and Gerhard is making a newsletter to send out later, and a letter to the Sponsors. Thank you for their help ! I have so much else to do too. Sheryl convinced me to give up the house that Ari and I had signed an offer to purchase on a week before the accident: we won’t be able to afford it just yet. Sad but that’s how it is. There’ll always be other houses ! I have to return tenant rental deposits this week and go to Crafters Market to deliver my stock of sweets, I’m already late…
!!!!!! “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop” Confucius (551-479 BCEs) !!!!!!
I won’t do my boxing this week, or take the kids to swimming lessons. Must spend spare time with Ari. Tuesday, I wanted to be with Ari early again. But they were busy, so I went to the bathroom and had a breakdown for an hour, very quietly ! I send an sms to Ari and to Neil, made me feel better. I’ve been weepy all morning. Leonard and Sheryl were there when I came out, I’d stopped crying when I realized they might not let me drive home in Ari’s car if they saw how devastated I looked. That could not happen ! Finally we were allowed to see him – 11h30. He had an Inter-cranial Pressure Monitor stuck to his brain since yesterday, with bandages all over his head, a big pipe in his mouth to breathe. His heartbeat was high, +/_ 110 bpm, pressure going down from 100mm hg on Sunday to 64 to 36 to 26, goal of 14. Up and down. I felt like it went down when I was there. Imagination ? I don’t know, but it made me feel better …
His eyes are still ½ open, they have gel in them now, so they don’t dry. The smell of ether is not so bad but I smell it in my nose at night. He looked worried and afraid on Sunday, maybe the adrenaline he’s on, but everyday he looks more relaxed. Before I go in, my heart is pumping, I feel faint, but when I come out I feel calm and happy to have seen him look better. I didn’t want to go home to work so I went past Nicole, hadn’t spoken to her since last year, but she was very comforting. I’m glad I went, she told me of a friend whose hubby was in a coma for two weeks and came out fine, albeit a different man … I went back again at 14h00, but they were busy, so I left, I couldn’t face the wait again. Home, I fetched the kids from school, but Luca was upset. He’s only two years old, I think all this affects him even if he doesn’t know the details. He didn’t want to go home with me, only with Grampa. So Leonard came and instead I went back to Ari, visiting hours. I stayed with him a whole hour, at last I can be with him properly.
They’ve taken the monitor, no more bandages. He looks good, almost sleeping. You can’t imagine all the calls we’ve had from friends, family, acquaintances, sponsors. Everyone who knew Ari is worried about him and sends their thoughts and prayers to the Reids and Moores. I say we need all their prayers, I don’t care who they come from, they are all needed. Prayers, thoughts, energies … from the whole world. They are coming – he has much power to help him heal. It must help ! Granny Annette told me her guide David came through Grampa Jack and told her to lay her hands on him. She did. I want to, as well, but I don’t know how. I’m going back to my spiritual beliefs, just because I want help to explain, to help Ari, to feel better. We can’t tell him about Neil and John. We can’t talk about it near him, in case he can hear and gets depressed. Then he’d never get out. Is that selfish ? we’ll have to lie to him for his own good. That seems so hard to do … Does he know already ? Could someone have told him ? But that would not be of any help to him, would it ?
Every day, they say they will be able to reduce his drugs soon, so he can start to wake up. But it seems like it takes years for that day to come. On Friday, they said, we could but we’ll do it on Monday. They’d already let him off everything, except Morphine and Dormicum. No adrenaline, so he looked so relaxed. His heartbeat was so low, from 110 to 45. And then, on Saturday at 7h00, they took him off everything. I was so happy, we all were, we could see his eyelids moving, he jumped once even. He still had drugs in his system, so he wasn’t there yet. But I left him with a smile.
Everything was going to be fine, he would be back for Luca’s Birthday next Saturday, right ? Sunday came and Doctor Maharaj (the Neurosurgeon) said the way he moves is indicative of a long coma to come ! And I read the longer the coma, the less good the recovery. No ways, no ways, I want to be sick right now. I miss you, now I’m lonely. I can handle one week, but now I want to cry. I’m lonely without you !!!! You’re supposed to be coming home from Zim tonight, you were going to…….
Sometimes, I do think maybe Neil is here, I don’t know why he would be, but maybe. So I stop biting my nails…. I should go to sleep now. I should ! I must wake up in the morning, remember ? I have to get the kids ready for school and I have to do some work, remember ? So, go to sleep then !!!! OK, I will. I will. I will !
“The greatest weakness of most humans is their hesitancy to tell others how much they love them, while they are still alive”. Orlando A. Battista
I am so lucky to have my parents so close. I can leave the kids with them when I need to go to the hospital to visit Ari, but mostly, they are there to listen to me, when I need to pour out all that sadness and anxiety. My friend Emilie is there for me too, but it is always so good to come back home to that warm comforting kitchen where I grew up, to share everything together…