By: R. Gail
It was a full week of getting into the rhythm of things. We finally started classes, had our first day of internships, got to explore Windhoek further than walking distance. We also had our first and only birthday celebration while we are together.
This week we set the tone for the rest of the semester with "community day;" we dove straight in talking about religion, sexual orientation, race, class, etc. What I loved about the community day was that the students didn’t just reflect on all these issues, but also the staff did too, who are mostly Namibian. Personally, I found it very informative to talk to the staff and see their views on these issues and how they compare to the Americans. It was a great platform to reflect and reaffirm my thoughts and beliefs on some of the subjects we touched on during the day. We played games to get to know each other a little better and got to teach the game Ninja to the rest of the staff. I was getting a bit worried when d (the housekeeper) was jumping around and almost falling on her pregnant belly! Thankfully, she did not.
|The whole CGEE gang trying to figure out how the game of Ninja works.|
Tuesday we went on a “Katutura Quest” with some young people that are from Katutura, a township that was created to forcibly moved Black people there during the Apartheid. Katutura has so much to offer from the amazing food of Kapana to the elder community we got to meet with during out “Katutura Quest.” For the quest we were split into two groups; one group went to an art center and my group went to the only old folk's home in the city. We talked to the man that ran the center and he told us that residents must be able to take care of themselves, have a low income, and be overall in a healthy condition; meaning that the residents were able to care for themselves and did not need constant medical attention. Usually, when I visit retirement centers or old folk homes I get quite sad, but at this one everyone, for the most part, was all smiles. We sat in on a bible study in what I assumed was the Afrikaans language. Since I could not understand the language the bible study was in, I observed the room and something dawned upon me: I was sitting in a room with Black and White people who grew up during the apartheid era. To think that they grew up separated by law, and now live together only a few years after the end of apartheid was amazing. We later found ourselves eating the most deliciously prepared meat: kapana, a cow that is very freshly cut and prepared with the richest spices and luscious fat on a grill. We ended the day by preparing for the first day of our internships (unfortunately I was MIA for this)!
Wednesday we all started our internships bright and early! My internship is with the Namibian Women’s Health Network which is a community-based organization that empowers people who are affected by HIV and AIDS in Namibia. This organization also seeks to provide educations, skills, and information to women who are living with HIV and AIDS in Namibia. What is currently happening now is we teach reading and writing in English and food preparation to women outside of the city of Windhoek. Most of what I have been doing is lesson plans to teach basic English literacy. The idea of this current program is to give the women the tools they need to be able to find a job or even create a small business of their own. I hope to teach as much as I can and learn more about and from these women throughout the time that I am with them.
Thursday we finally had our first day of classes! In our politics class and political development class, we had speakers come in and talk to us about what Pan Africanism is and how it was mostly for people who were outside of Africa to reconnect with their roots, but is now a uniting idea among all Africans. We also had someone come in a talk to us about the relationship Namibia has with China and North Korea. The two countries have great political relationships with Namibia because after the liberation struggle Namibia needed some help and reached out to other countries but only really received help from China and North Korea. Especially with the Chinese, the relationship was abused. The Chinese would build factories in Namibia to acquire cheap labor from the Namibian population. The Namibian government allowed the Chinese to overwork their workers, left them sick for the rest of their lives, and let them break the laws of the worker's rights of the Namibians. Namibia’s government overlooked these conditions because they were in great need for jobs at the time. I am already learning so much of Namibia’s history and how that has shaped Namibia today.
|(Jimmy & Alexis) Our first day of our politics class! |
We couldn't be more excited!
To wrap up this busy week we headed to the theaters to watch Black Panther, which lived up to the hype. We went out to dinner and got pizza with a very rude waiter, it was great. It was also Hal’s 21st birthday! We all bought him an inflatable shark for the pool (he has yet to take it into the pool though…). After he showered we pushed him into the pool in all his dry clothes. We went on a hike in search for a lion, thankfully we did not find one considering we were still in a city. Now that we are settling into our new home I am excited to see what these next few months will bring us here in Windhoek, Namibia.
|I was just helping Hal jump into 21! |
(HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAL!)
Till next time!