A Travellerspoint blog

Thursday, July 28

Ongwediva & Oshakati

On the second day of our trip up north we visited two schools in Ongwediva.  The first school, Charles Anderson School, served kids from kindergarten to grade 7.  The principal took us on a tour around the school and allowed us to step into some classrooms and meet the teachers.  The school had blue and white buildings, which usually coordinate with the colors of the school uniforms.  Unlike schools in Minnesota, the school did not have one building with a bunch of classrooms.  The classrooms were held in many different buildings with sidewalks connecting them through the sandy campus.  It was well shaded with trees and had plenty of students running around and playing during passing time.  I think I can speak for the group when I say that we may have felt like celebrities walking around the school.  All of the children were so excited to talk with us and learn about the US.  Many of them had not seen white people in person before (most of our group is caucasion).  We met with the teachers during their break time at 10:30am.  During this time, the students are allowed to be unsupervised while they play outside. We had great discussion with the teachers about what their challenges and achievements are.  They also had questions for us about how school run in the US.  I am becoming a special education teacher and so I noticed that the teachers had a strong desire to reach every student in their classrooms - especially their slow learners or learners with disabilities.  

The second school we visited was called Hashiyana School. The school's layout was similar to Charles Anderson and we met with the teachers for a brief period of time.  All of us got to visit different classrooms in the school again.  I visited the special education room that consisted of 3 learners - 2 of which had trouble speaking and the other had a vision impairment.  The special education teacher had just started the Monday before we got there but she had such a warm personality and I could tell that the students were already learning so much from her.

We ate at a local restaurant for lunch - beef, chicken, rice, veggies served family style.  Delicious!  We have not had a bad meal here yet, the food is wonderful.

In the afternoon we had a conference with other teachers and University students at the University of Namibia, Hifikepunye Pohamba Campus.  The conference was titles "Meeting the Learning Needs of All Learners."  We were able to collaborate with the students and teachers and learned a lot about how they are professing in their educational values.  I found that there was a strong desire in each teacher to learn how to reach every single in their classrooms.  They were very eager to share with us and learn from what we had to offer, as we did of them.  Each of the graduate students presented a mini lesson to a small group of teachers and students to give them an idea of how we teach in the US.  We had dinner with everyone at the conference and got to sincerely enjoy each others' company.

Posted by AugsNamibia2011 12:58 Archived in Namibia Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 27

Windhoek -> Okahandja -> Otjiwarongo -> Ondangwa

Hello everyone!

We are delighted to share that after nearly 5 days of travel to Namibia, we were blessed with 5 days of unforgettable events in this beautiful country. After a night of sleep at the CGE Guesthouse in Windhoek, we departed the next morning for northern Namibia, along with two students from the University of Namibia. Our first stop was at the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED). We learned of the country’s plan to implement a national curriculum, the role of languages in education, the subjects that are taught in school, and the struggles and successes they have found in their pursuit to provide inclusive, quality education.

Before leaving, we stopped at the local woodcarvers market, where many people were selling carved wooden animals, bowls, and instruments. As we continued the drive, Pasat pointed out springbok, warthogs, and giraffe along our route. We stopped for a picnic lunch along the way and arrived at the Etuna Guesthouse in Ongwediva that evening. We ate a delicious meal and prepared for the mini conference before saying good night.

Thank you for following our adventures, we are happy to share them with you!

Posted by AugsNamibia2011 12:22 Archived in Namibia Comments (0)

Our travel to Namibia and Tuesday July 26th


Hello family and friends!
We apologize for our delay with getting the blog started. As some of you know we had a rocky start to our trip. We had many travel delays. I know that Gretchen wrote when we were in Washington DC. We ended up staying in DC two nights because of travel delays. While in DC we got to do some sight seeing. We went to the White House, Smithsonian, Washington Monument, etc. It was very hot while we were there! So then finally Saturday night we got to get on a plane to Accra Ghana. The flight over seas was about 10 hours. However I think most of were thankful to actually be in the air.
While in Ghana we had a 14 hour layover. Since this was not a planned stop we had no visas so we had to sit in the airport. Many people got in naps  Then we flew to South Africa on Tuesday morning. Had a short 2 hour layover, before boarding our plane to Namibia. We actually got bumped up to business class, which we were very thankful for after our long days of travel!
TUESDAY JULY 26th we finally arrived in Windhoek Namibia  We were all so relieved to be here. Most of exchanged currency at the airport. We then met Passat (our driver and employee of CGE) and Jesse(CGE Intern). On our way to the CGE house we saw baboons on the side of the road, which we all were quite excited about.
When we finally arrived at the house we were all very tired! We got to see our rooms and meet all of the wonderful CGE employees. We went on a tour around Katatura, which was the previous black township before Namibia’s independence in 1990. We were all interested to see the different houses and markets there. We had a tour guide that was very helpful in answering all of our questions.
We had dinner at the Guest House and Professor Kerina came to talk to us about Namibia’s history. Since we were all so tired we went to bed early.
Thanks for Reading! Love from Africa!!
Sara Kafka

Posted by AugsNamibia2011 11:08 Archived in Namibia Comments (0)

July 23, Sheraton Hotel lobby, Alexandria, VA

Our trip to Namibia so far

102 °F

Namibians "take it as it comes"
That is a tremendously huge step for many of us...we plan, we hope, we try to control what will happen...
Well, we have had a really big test during this first part of our trip. We all arrived at the airport as scheduled and learned that due to weather in Chicago, United flights were backed up, so....We had learned the day before that we had been added to a non-stop flight to Dulles, and that was great news..however both flights were late. What we then realized quickly is that we would not be at Dulles in time to get on our South African Air flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. We worked with a United counter person, and she tried for hours to get another workable flight, and finally she booked the best she could get:
Overnight in Washinton, D.C. (United voucher) Sheraton Hotel, Alexandria, VA..a really nice place
Saturday: Students took the subway to the Mall and are visiting the Smithsonians
6:00p SuperShuttle to Dulles airport (one hour drive)
10:45 United flight to Lagos, Nigeria (time change..5 hours later than D.C.) arrive at 5:25p on Sunday
7:20p South African Air Lagos to Johannesburg, arrive on Monday morning.
It is a 2 hour flight to Windhoek, Namibia, our final destination and we will try to get an earler flight than our scheduled one that evening.

It is now 2:45p and I am in the hotel lobby, and the group is taking fully advantage of being in D.C.

At 6p we will take the SuperShuttle back to Dulles Airport for our flight this evening.

CGE Minneapolis has been helping constantly, so thanks to David and Emerald.

It's not what we planned, but we are safe and moving east...

Posted by AugsNamibia2011 11:28 Comments (0)

July21..the night before

Here we are in the place and time we've been looking forward to for so long...

Thursday, July 21..the eve before we travel
Our group of ten has already been on a journey regarding this experience: Hearing about the trip on campus over a year ago, coming to info sessions, proceeding through the application process, meeting 3 times together to begin to get to know each other, and study some pre-trip information and now here we are at that day we have been waiting for..finally. Our flight changed at the last minute and we now have a non-stop to Dulles..always better than stopping in Chicago. Boarding South African Air is our very substantial link to our first destination, Johannesburg. Our group members have a variety of previous experiences traveling in our country and beyond. For everyone, arriving in Johannesburg will be unforgettable.

I want to recognize the amazing work of the Center for Global Education at Augsburg main campus, and at our location in Windhoek, Namibia. We have had amazing service already, and such care has been taken to listen to our hopes and to respond to them through the planning process. Rick Steves himself has been a participant in several CGE trips, and that speaks volumes about their work.

So, family, friends, colleagues and interested others, welcome to our blog. Thanks to Elizabeth for setting it up...now journey along with us...Gretchen

Posted by AugsNamibia2011 19:02 Comments (0)

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