After a few weeks of strenuous academics, challenging internships/volunteering, and enriching homestays, it was time for a well deserved trip away from the city. We journeyed to Swakopmund, a majestic city 175 miles west of
A moment that will forever be instilled in my (Liz’s) memory was when we drove through the DRC, an informal township in Swakopmund that is comprised of endless dirt roads covered with hundreds of tin shacks. I felt uncomfortable driving through there because I felt like we were staring out at these unfortunate people who were simply staring back at us most likely questioning why two vans of predominately white people would want to drive through this town. Furthermore, I felt uncomfortable knowing that we were warm and cozy in our vans and that they were cold sitting outside their shacks. To top it all off, I knew that within ten minutes we will have driven through the whole town and be back into our beautiful guest house by the shoreline never to see these people again.
I could envision them thinking that we as students have no idea what they have to endure every day to survive. I hated this moment because it still did not stop me from feeling superior to them, which I know is wrong, because I should never feel this way towards anyone. It was a very challenging situation to grapple with and I now continuously ponder what the
For me (Adela), visiting the Rossing uranium mine on Thursday was the most memorable part of the trip. Obviously, the mine is creating a large number of jobs and is the largest industry in the community of Arandis, which lies in the outskirts of Swakopmund, but I felt very nervous when it came to thinking about the inevitable closing of the mine in the future. In about a decade the uranium supply within the mine is going to deplete and the mine itself will eventually have to close down permanently. Being the largest income generating industry in the town, the closing of the mine would create a lot of economic problems for the area. It is scary to think about Arandis not being self-sustainable without the mine. I felt that it was very unfair for the mine to advertise this idea of an economic self-sufficient community when in reality, it is not. While touring the mine, I realized that Rossing mine is a very sophisticated industry, much more so than the other smaller industries in Arandis. I feel as though this sophistication will cause trouble in the long run because the other local industries currently do not have the capability to absorb these newly unemployed workers into their own workforce and offer the same benefits and salaries previously held by the mine workers.
Brainteasing car rides between tours and speakers throughout the week kept us in high spirits and prepared us for the exciting Saturday we had ahead of us. Naturally, we tried just about every tourist related option available. I (Lauren) opted to go quad biking and sand boarding and loved every second the exciting adventure. Taking part in the predicted future main source of income for
Partaking in activities of eco-tourism enabled me to turn a complete 180 and accept this municipal effort of industry as the most feasible response to balancing environmental conservation with sustainable economic growth. What other options does
Leaving the coast, we felt as though our initial expectations for that long weekend had been far exceeded. We did partake in a lot of typical tourist activities, but thanks to our program we were exposed to the oftentimes hidden side of the glamorous costal community. We were able to successfully connect this trip to the ever present themes of nation building, decolonization of mind, and globalization to our individual experiences here in
1. Students face the fierce winds at the Lagoon.
2. Tin shacks in DRC, an informal
3. The Rossing uranium mine.
4. Adela, Lauren, and Liz quad biking around the dunes!