Friday, September 18, 2009

Week 3: Classes

Catherine Mullin, Leigh Isaacson, Lizzie Cohen

This was our first full week in Windhoek so it was action packed to say the least. The main events of the week included starting our internships, a team building retreat, the beginning of classes, along with the start of our urban homestays.

All students doing internships started bright and early Monday, September 1st. The internships range from NGO’s like the Namibia Development Foundation to Women’s Solidarity. Though most students had a slow first day, and felt that often things at the organizations were done on “Africa time”, all emerged feeling hopeful about the situation at their organization.

Tuesday was all about team building activities at a ranch outside the city center. It was a long day, but we all enjoyed ourselves and learned a lot about our fellow students and the staff here at CGE. Activities included creating a yarn web and two egg races. The rest of the day was designated for us to present our “road maps”. The road maps were designed to explain how each of us came to be who we are today and some of the main events in our life. It is clear we have a really diverse group, with people coming from all different backgrounds, but we all are united by our desire to learn and experience new things during our time in southern Africa.

Classes kicked off this week with a look at some Namibian pre-colonial history with Romanus on Thursday. The class, which includes the majority of students on the program, traveled to the National Museum of Namibia. We were able to see traditional clothing, food preparation and geographical areas of the different tribes in Namibia. We also got a sneak preview to what our rural homestay might look like at one of the exhibits on typical housing for the different tribes.
Thursday night marked the beginning of our 10- day urban homestay. Nervous and excited, we were picked up by our host families and we spent the weekend living life like a typical Namibian. With the longer duration of this homestay students were immediately accepted as part of the family and were exposed to opinions on apartheid and the current political situation.

The school week ended on Friday, with Linda’s development class. The first class we discussed the meaning of development and the proper terms associated with describing different states and levels of development. Some students were distraught over the use of terms “developed”/ “developing” because of what each word implies about a country’s status and a long debate pursued. With the different backgrounds on development students brought to the class some were offended by the implications of the terms. It is clear that we are a diverse group and that we’re not afraid to share our opinions.

We also started our Damara language class, taught by Baby Doeseb. For most students this experience was out of their comfort zone and we all need some serious practice to get those “clicks” down before our rural homestays!

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