A Travellerspoint blog

Monday, August 8th

Windhoek, Namibia

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Good Morning Family and Friends!

A chance to sleep in for us-it felt great! A few of us headed down the road to a school supply store to help support Hashiyana School in the north. We bought many of the basic supplies such as pens, pencils, papers, rubbers, pencil sharpeners, chalk, etc. The women who ran the store were very helpful and even gave us a nice discount to bring their support.

Not knowing what our week would look like yet, most of us sat down to organize our activities for the week. We decided to go horseback riding today. We found a wonderful place at the base of the mountains called Equatrails. Sam was kind enough to provide transportation for us to and from her place. The horses had great names but the best, by far, was Sally’s horse which was named The Devil’s Donkey. Sally was a little hesitant to ride him but she survived! We rode through the trails along the bottom of the mountains for about an hour. The intermediate riders tried to trot but Sam immediately stopped us; apparently we did not pass! We had a blast and the scenery was an added plus!

Once back at the house and finished dinner, we walked to a restaurant called Garlic and Flowers for drinks. Jessie and Kyle introduced us to their friends, Nelayo and Penny. Nelayo’s mother owns the restaurant. They gave us a very warm welcome and a fun filled night with lots of singing and interesting conversations.

Another fantastic find and a great way to end the night!

Ana Albrecht
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Posted by AugsNamibia2011 04:50 Archived in Namibia Comments (0)

Sunday, August 7th

Farewell, Free Time, Fun

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We started our day saying goodbye to Kristy, who departed today for the US. It was difficult to say goodbye, but we know we will see her back in Minnesota.

Today was the first day of our third week in Namibia, and we have a lot of ideas about how to spend our upcoming week. For starters, today several of us headed over to Chinatown, located in Windhoek's northern industrial area. If you have ever been to a Chinatown in the US, you have a pretty good idea of the type of goods there. We wandered up and down a couple of the alleyways in this industrial / warehouse area. The shop doors doubled as shipping doors, opening up on warehouse after warehouse of imported goods from China. The items ranged from clothes to toys to furniture to electronics. We bought a few things, and some of us were even successful at bargaining. We decided to return later in the week to buy some goods for the orphanage we visited last week. We reconvened with our purchases and piled into taxis back to the city center.

Because we were beginning our free week, we needed to buy groceries. Some of us ventured over to Mugg & Bean for lunch before grocery shopping while a couple of us headed directly to Pick-N-Pay for our groceries.

Back at CGE House, we relaxed and had dinner and made plans for the week ahead. Later in the evening, several of us headed down the street to our favorite watering hole, The Cardboard Box. "The Box" is a hostel, travel office, and restaurant/bar. We had fun socializing with each other and a few of our new Namibian friends before calling it a night. It was another fun night in Windhoek!

Elizabeth Reed

Posted by AugsNamibia2011 22:28 Archived in Namibia Comments (0)

Saturday, August 6

Free Time, CGE Reflection, Sky Bar and Fusion

Early in the morning, a few members of our group traveled to downtown Windhoek to visit the Craft Market. The Craft Market had a variety of materials, which included maps, paintings, photo books of Animals in Etosha, earrings, bracelets and necklaces made of materials by Namibians. Some in our group purchased wooden utensils such as spoons and forks and some purchase craftwork of animals such as the elephant and the giraffe. The only item that I purchased at the place was a walking stick. Some people in our group drank and eat at the coffee shop there. I left earlier while others continued shopping some more.
In the afternoon Romanus moderated a session on our reflection of our entire experience in Namibia. Each of us wrote on the bulletin board describing one word about the country, the education system, the teachers and the students. Some wrote disciplined, patriotic, multilingual, commitment to community and generous. Then we all took turns explaining why we wrote some of the words on the bulletin board. Afterwards we each talked about what we took out of our experience in Namibia.
Since the Young Achievers was canceled we had free time to do whatever we wanted. At some point in the late afternoon, the entire group went to the Skybar to watch the sunset. We only spent almost a couple of hours at the skybar before we realized that it was too cold and then we went back to the CGE house to go to the Fusion.
The Fusion is one of a few successful restaurants that is own by a Namibian woman. It is located several blocks away from the CGE House. They served a variety of meals such as the kingclip, chicken, steak and others. After eating there we all went back to the CGE house and some called it a day.

Ade Alabi

Posted by AugsNamibia2011 04:47 Archived in Namibia Comments (0)

Friday, August 5

UNAM visit, Katutura Expo, Physically Active Youth, and a home cooked dinner

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Well, last night was Brenna’s birthday so I think we were all a little slow to get up this morning, however, today marks the last day of scheduled events by CGE for this trip. On our busy list of things to do today we have a trip to the University of Namibia (UNAM), a visit to Physically Active Youth, and a dinner for the CGE staff, cooked by the 9 of us.

Like most things on this trip, the day did not go exactly as planed.

We had a wonderful visit to UNAM where we met with professors and students. When we first arrived the campus had just lost power, so students were milling around and waiting for the power to come back on or classes to be cancelled, whatever came first. We were able to spend time in a lecture and participate in the class discussion, which was about why they teach environmental studies in Namibian schools. The environmental studies classes that are taught in Namibia cover more than just taking care of the flora and fauna in the country, they also encompass personal health issues such as maintaining good personal hygiene and sexual health. After class we got a tour of the school, at which point the power came back on, and saw that like at most big schools in the U.S. there were lost of people, construction projects and buildings to navigate. Kristi and I somehow got separated from the group in the art building for about 20 min. This was only a bit worrisome because we were getting very hungry and had to choose between waiting for the group to find us or finding food... The group found us and we were off to lunch.

Lunch was at the Texas Stake and Tea house. An interesting fusion of items, but they had milkshakes (Sara) and Greek salads so everyone in the group was happy.

After lunch we went to Katutura to visit with a group of people who work for a program called Physically Active Youth. It is an after school program designed to help students stay busy, eat good meals, and help out in their communities. One of the new projects they were implementing is their own garden where they will grow fresh veggies and fruit for the children to eat. The garden will be planted and tended by the children of Physically Active Youth. There were not very many students there that day however, because most of them were helping out at the first ever Katutura Expo.

Our group was excited to go and check out the goings on so Romanus took us down to the expo grounds and we got a quick tour. I would describe the expo as a county fair. There are animals, like cattle, horses, goats, and sheep, which are judged. There are tents with crafts and other goods to buy. And there are events, like a boxing match and musical entertainment for people to watch. It would have been nice to stay longer but we had dinner to make.

The plan had been to make a taco bar for the CGE staff as a thank you for taking such good care of us all week. When we got back to the house we found that the ingredients were better suited for chilli instead of tacos, so that is what we made. Hat’s off to Ana and Kristi for making some of the best chilli I have ever had. I noticed that some people went back for seconds and thirds because they just couldn’t get enough. We also made garlic bread, salsa, guacamole, and blueberry muffins for desert. The meal was a great way to end our busy and full week.

Posted by AugsNamibia2011 04:01 Archived in Namibia Comments (0)

Thursday, August 4

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Happy birthday to me! I, Brenna, had the wonderful privilege of spending my 25th birthday in beautiful Namibia. I couldn’t have asked to a better way to celebrate.

We got up bright and early to spend the day at school – the second of two days. We were all placed with one teacher at either at St. George’s Primary College (a private school for pre K through grade 7) or A. I. Steenkamp (public school for kindergarten through grade 6). We were each placed in our areas of interest which included pre primary, elementary, social studies, and special education.
I was placed at St. George’s with two different grade 2 teachers and spent some time with the special education teacher. At the very beginning of the day the staff members get together and share announcements and devotionals led by the Head of Prep (principal in the US). The teachers presented me with a carnation and sang happy birthday to me. After the staff meeting, all of the students gather for assembly. Assembly takes place outside and each class lines up by their teachers for announcements. They also recognize birthdays during this time, and so I was called up to the front for the whole school to sing happy birthday!

St. George’s is a Christian school and so after assembly some grades went to chapel for prayer, sermon, and worship. The children were very well behaved and seemed to truly enjoy singing and praying together.
Spending time in the grade 2 classrooms was a delight. Both of the teachers that I got to observe were excellent examples of what educators should be. The children had the time and resources to work at their individual levels of ability while maintaining a sense of community learning.

Having spent yesterday with the students in my classrooms, they were well aware that it was my birthday. I was completely showered with birthday cards and hugs. The children were all so sweet and joyful that it was hard to leave them at the end of the day.

School ended at 1:00pm and we headed over to visit an organization called Family of Hope around 2:00pm. Family of Hope provides tutoring, games, and meals for children who live in the poorer areas of Katatura. When we arrived there were about 15 tables full of children of all ages playing games and talking together. We met with the director and one of the teachers who volunteers and discussed their struggles and achievements. The organization is a great representation of the bond within these communities and the responsibility they take on for caring for one another.

Selma Shejavali, a woman who has been working on a project to document the oral story telling of communities in Namibia. She shared with
us the importance of storytelling within families and communities and how much of their history is passed on through these stories.
We invited the teachers that we worked with over for dinner and had a delicious meal and great conversation with two teachers from St. George’s and one teacher from A. I. Steenkamp. And there was a surprise birthday cake at the end of dinner! The wonderful CGE staff had baked me a cake for my birthday and my friends carried it into the room singing.

This day was wonderful for everyone and it was easily the best birthday I’ve ever had.

Brenna Slabaugh

Posted by AugsNamibia2011 03:53 Archived in Namibia Comments (0)

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