I was with the younger class today at HISA. It was a pretty routine day from 8am-12:30pm when the kids left. After that I went out into the community with two of the other teachers at HISA. HISA has a Community Outreach Program where all 11 staff members are assigned in pairs to different areas of the informal settlements to go out and tell them about the importance of things like birth certificates and human rights. Well, on today’s community outreach, we went out in search of the poorest of the poor. We were attempting to log who needs the donations that we have so that we can distribute to the people most in need and it was heart breaking. I talked to lots of people and heard their stories, but the worst was the last family. Their 5 kids are not in school. There are four adults in additions to those kids living in a house that is less than a 10 x 10’ with a ceiling that I even had to duck to stand beneath (less than 5’). They all sleep there, have all of their possessions there, and just have nothing. They were boiling grass to eat when we were there. The conditions were so bad that the woman I was with from the center started crying when we walked away- and she lives in the chanti town and knows the lifestyle here. We took my supervisor back for her to see it herself…when we got back from seeing it the second time, I went into the bathroom and cried. It was just one of those days.
When I got home from my internship, I went on a run and was gone for over an hour just being out around Windhoek by myself with just my iPod blaring. I went to yoga tonight too. My professor, Linda Raven, just so happens to also be a yoga instructor- and a very stress relieving instructor! This was an eye opening, bad day.
Class this morning was centered around Food Security. We read some interesting articles about organic vs commercial groceries, how famine in Africa could be prevented, and how food influences development. After our class with Linda, we went and visited an organic farm where the farmer, Albert, showed us how he feeds 100 people a month with his urban gardening methods. He does a lot of organic farming practices, like making his own fertilizer, but also believes in the use of non organic farming practices as well. His garden was quite interesting, but what was more interesting is the fact that he has showed 800 people how to start their own gardens like his! If those 800 people were to start gardens that could feed 100 people, we would have lower population of starving people in this world. One statistic that I learned from class today was that 15,000 people die everyday related to hunger. To me, when we have so much readily available food in the world, why have so many starving people? Or people that are dying or starvation? Another million dollar question that I can take away from this experience to contemplate back in the U.S.
That afternoon we have our internship class with Nespect and had a guest speaker talk to us about Grant Writing! I am currently helping HISA with a grant proposal that is due July 1 for some funding to help with the feeding program, among other operational costs.
I did a lesson with the 6 year old class today about animals. I had them all draw their favorite animals and then make the sounds- clearly very entertaining for us both! Haha. This day was just another day at work, nothing too crazy to report on.
Thursday 6/21- Sunday 6/24—
Swakopmund, here we come! We are going out of town for the next few days to study education on the coast and see what Swakop is like! On our 3.5-4 hour drive, we stopped at the Namibia Institute for Mining and Technology and met with one of the administrators there to learn all about the vocational school they have. We also visited the Mundessa Youth after school program for the smartest children in the depressed area of Mundessa that is in Swakop. Each child there is sponsored by someone who pays N10,000 dollars a year for them. They get day trips, over nights, math, English, music, and computer skills. That night we went to restaurant on the pier where the floor had some Plexiglas for us to look as the Atlantic Ocean while we dinned! It was beautiful.
The next day we visited a Montessori that also has a component to it where they train other Montessori teachers within a 3-5 year time period where they actually receive a college degree. It was a low residency program that was very interesting to learn about. I also want to make mention of the fact that this Montessori had children the same ages as my kids at HISA, however, they had so many more opportunities and resources. They all had ipads….
We also went to another vocational school where a woman with just two staff members, would teach 10 women skills like sewing, catering, and business skills. We also went to the shop where the students (adults) sell their materials. Other graduates from her school sell their own materials there as well. We met one man who is done with his vocational schooling, and now makes a lot of wedding, traditional garments!
We also went to a kindergarten that the vocational school teaching women used to teach her sewing out of- a very efficient space if I do say so myself! That evening, we climbed to the top of Dune 7.
After sweating and working hard to get to the top, we had an amazing chance to take some photos! All of mine just so happen to be on my disposable, as recommended, so I didn’t get sand in my digital. I will have to post those pictures once I am back in the US and get them developed! I do have to say, I was covered in sand head to toe for sure! That night we went to the only Mexican restaurant in Namibia! I had a much-needed chicken quesadilla! I miss our ‘American’ food…as in, our variety of foods from all over the world! The next day we went horse riding and I had a near death experience. I was riding the only all white horse, and of course, while we were trotting, Al Capone (horses’ name) decided he wanted to get a little crazy. So, we took off at a full blown sprint or gallop, through the sandy desert, over the mountains. I can’t remember the last time I was that scared. I held on for dear life, so badly that the saddle actually rubbed the skin off of my right hand :( When the guide finally caught up to me, once I had stopped my horse, he said he couldn’t believe I had survived that, what with being an inexperienced rider. So, needless to say, I will never get on a horse again. Although it was a liberating experience, I will not be getting back up on the horse that almost bucked me off and took me for a ride to Hell and back! Yikes!
I was so shaken up all day. I am just glad I survived and didn’t end up in the hospital. And to think, I almost went skydiving instead….probably would have been safer! hahaha. Sunday was uneventful. We traveled back to Windhoek, I read a lot on the trip, and then worked on some homework when we got home. I am looking forward to starting my last week at my internship! There is still a lot to be done.
Thanks for reading along with my trip!