My Host Family and HISA

Thursday 6/7– After my internship I came back to the Center For Global Education to start my homestay portion of the trip. The purpose of a homestay is just to be totally immersed in the local culture and see what a typical everyday family is like. I won’t say too much about the Host Family I had on Thursday, but needless to say, the second family I got on Friday was great…. that being said…

Friday 6/8– In the morning we had our internship class and continued our discussion on poverty. We had a great 2 hours of morning class with Linda, but the more interesting part to me was the discussion we had with our guest speaker, Gloria. She was from the National Planning Committee, which reports to the President of Namibia. Right now, Namibia is getting ready to make their next 5 year plan (some what like Gannon is making their strategic plan right now! I even brought up a question on stakeholder analysis surveys–Val Bacik would be so proud!). So Gloria explained to us how the NPC goes about surveying the country to figure out what they need to look at for the next 5 years of progressive operation. It is a system that filers all the way down and gets input from tribes in the N, E, S, and W. Something that was interesting that came up though was when outside aid comes in that is unwanted. Apparently, within the last strategic plan of time, there was another country that came in (I want to say Germany), and say that the people living in the North had no bathroom facilities and the sanitation linked with going in the bush, literally, was just not healthy. So then millions of dollars were spent to build this communal facility in the middle of the village, and lone behold- the people did not want it. It is culture to go to the bathroom in the bush, and let me tell you, culture here goes a long way. The bathrooms ended up being just an overhang where goats and other farm animals would seek shelter, clearly, an expensive animal shelter. In the future, trying to take concerns in about improving healthy living conditions, the overall quality of life, and decreasing the unemployment rate, all face challenges. The current unemployment rate in Namibia is 54%….that makes them the 5th most miserable country in the world based on the “Misery Scale” of unemployment and harsh living conditions. On the contrary though, the people of Namibia I can assure you, are all very happy. They are peaceful, do not want to case a lot of trouble, and just want to live a simple life in the realm of their very traditional culture. These types of things, along with the strong political force of SWAPO, make the NPC’s job quite difficult.

Later that day I went to my new host family: Renathe and Gabriel Kukuri/ Naribs. My host family also consisted of Donovan, Lawrence, Anita, and Aaron. I met another older brother and his wife, Nelson and Angelica, and heard of yet another even older brother, but did not have the pleasure of meeting him. My family is from the Damara culture and speak the click language in their home, in addition to Afrikaans (which the father speaks fluently), and English (which the father had a hard time speaking but was such a good sport about trying). This is a picture of my host mom and dad:

taken at a place knowns as “The Dam” where people go to have ‘brais,’ aka BBQ

That night we had a great dinner and I even got to drink some tea. (I was sick Thursday and Friday all day, and the weekend only was worse. I am doing better now! Thank God!) We watched a movie together as a family, and I went to bed early.

Saturday 6/9– I woke up and had breakfast with my host mom and brother Donovan. At breakfast we talked all about the education system here in Namibia (my mom is a teacher that is also the co-head of the Kamastaal Primary school, grades 1-7). We also discussed the liberation times and what it was like to live in Namibia while the South African Army was being pushed out and people where in exile. It was pretty crazy, but so interesting! The passion my host mom had when discussing it just really showed what a monumental time that was for not just her, but for the people of Namibia. I then played some xbox Fifa soccer with Donovan and Lawrence, they even let me win a few games. That night was a true highlight of my homestay- the soccer match! Anita, Donovan, and Lawrence took me to a Namibian National Soccer game against Kenya, a world cup qualifier game! Independence Stadium was packed and charged with energy as Namibia defeated Kenya 1-0 after ninety minutes of play. My soccer heart swelled when number 6 scored their goal and we were jumped up and down hugging everyone around us over such a triumph! When we got home that night, we enjoyed meat and pop (which is a traditional mashed potatoes looking food). I ate with my hands and everything!

Sunday 6/10– I woke up and my mom and Donovan took me to a set of shops known as China Town. They have lots of everything- materials to make clothes, hand bags, jewelry, suitcases, shoes, you name it- its there. My mom bought me a Namibian scarf that says ‘Namibia’ in the countries colors. I love it and I already know that it will be hanging in my room next year at Gannon. The day was pretty chill overall, lots of family visiting, went to the dam for pictures, watched a few movies, and just spent family time together. It was refreshing to be sick and taken care of by a family, along with all of the home cooked food and good conversation!

Anita, Me, and Mom

Monday 6/11– This morning started bright and early and led me to H.I.S.A. for another day with the children. I had an eye opening conversation with my supervisor, Hilia, about the affect of HIV/AIDS in relation to H.I.S.A. I wrote a paper about it later for my social change and development class. Here is a little insight as to what was said: “She told me that because these kids are orphans whose parents died of HIV/AIDS, most of them also have contracted the disease. She told me a story from of a few years ago of one mother she knows who had a child at HISA. Hilia recalled that the mother was selling her body and then contracted the disease and died, therefore, leaving her child an orphan and her sister to take care of the child. Hilia said it wasn’t the first time she had heard of such an act, and that the poverty in the informal settlements is just too much to combat such an aggressive and fatal disease. The influence that HIV/AIDS plays in the area of HISA, as well as on the lives of the children, is devastatingly traumatic. ”

My day with the kids was filled with reading 4 children’s books, punting the ball into the air, and just loving my little friends. In the afternoon with the older mainstream kids from public school I teamed up with Sophie, another intern who is at HISA for a full year from Germany, to do a little bit of an alphabetical order game. I wrote some colors on the board and the kids put them in alphabetical order, and as soon as they were done with that, we played some soccer! I was so impressed with how organized and fair the kids played. They all amaze me.

“Teacher, teacher, up, up!” AKA punt the ball into the air.

This is what lunchtime looks like at HISA. We give them one meal everyday, M-F.

The Mainstream Youth Program

That night I had my last dinner with my host family and I know that I will visit them again before I leave Namibia. All in all, the weekend and the start to my week has been great!

There will be more to come about the rest of my week later!

Thanks for following,

Lexie

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “My Host Family and HISA

  1. karen gianechini

    GOD BLESS YOU LEX!!! I’M SO PROUD OF YOU ! LOVE READING YOUR BLOG. I’M ON THE PHONE WITH YOUR MOM RIGHT NOW!! It reminds me of my trip to Rowanda. The children are so beautiful . bet they love your hair.

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