August 2, 2011
02.08.2011 - 02.08.2011
On Tuesday, August 2nd our group went and met with Ministry of Education HIV/AIDS Management Unit. We had a discussion about the different types of programs that they are implementing in the schools around the country. One of the tools that they use are a series of books called "Window of Hope" that have activities, such as songs, stories, drawings and discussion groups, that attempt to give children an honest and realistic understanding of their changing bodies. It also helps students to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The books are divided by age groups starting in 4th grade with the Junior Windows and ending in 7th grade with Senior Windows. The Junior and Senior Windows are divided into smaller sections by color type: green, yellow, blue, red, purple, turquoise, lime green and orange. Interestingly, there is one book, the red book, that contains material that some parents feel is too informative when it comes to their children's sexually education.
Our next trip of the day was an introduction to the two schools our group would be spending some one-on-one time at later in the week. The first was St. Georges, a private Anglican school in the down-town area of Windhoek. The school is about 92 years old, but only recently opened a college (what we in the States refer to as High School). The school is very nice and many of the students who attend are children of politicians, ministry workers, and wealthily business owners. The second school was a 180 from the first; the A.I. Steenkamp School in the Katutura area of Windhoek. To compare, St. George's has a total of 469 students to A.I.'s 1,380. There are teacher assistances at St. George; something that is unheard of at A.I. The ratio of student to teacher in St. George's is around 21:1, but at A.I. it's more like 40:1. It will be interesting to hear about the different experiences the group will have with some of us going to St. George and others going to A.I.
In the afternoon we had lunch at a place called Penduka. Penduka was founded by Martha Muulyau and Christien Roos in 1992 as an organization to help disadvantaged women improve the standards of living for themselves, but also for their (extended) family and their immediate environment. This is achieved by staying close to the women and by allowing these women to earn a living by doing what they do best: making beautiful products. Penduka encourages these women to use their skills to provide for themselves. The area is located on the Goreangab Dam, about ten kilometers outside Windhoek. They offer tours, lunches, and many beautiful products. They even have a mushroom garden, that doesn't smell all that great, but is totally worth looking at.
Finally, we went to an orphanage located in Katutura. The place in run by a woman named Mama Marie who takes care of 21 children between the ages of 1 and 17. The orphanage had close ties to people who work with CGE here in Namibia. After getting a short tour and meeting some of the people who volunteer their time there we got to play games with the children. At first they sang an introduction song to us were we each had to get into the middle of a circle and say our names and dance. Next we were taught a number of different games, some of which I was struggling to figure out the rules to but happily played. It was sad to have to leave them after only having spent about 30 min. getting to know them. The group is planing on making more trips there in the future.