Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Week 14: Classes

David Beck
Ethel Ndombi

This past week marked the beginning of the closing of our time in Windhoek. During our classes, we reflected on our semester experiences using different activities. While this was going on, we also began to work seriously on our integrative projects, which are individual or group assignments in which we present findings on a particular subject we studied to our peers, instructors, and friends.

During our wrap-up class this week in Development, we visited Penduka in Katutura. Penduka is an organization which hires and trains local individuals to make crafts. The organization also holds training sessions for local tuberculosis patients. While there, we met students from a design school in Holland who help to design projects. These students are there to use their experience in a hands-on way to help the local economy. This was an example of the role globalization has in the development process. While, throughout the semester, we have seen negative sides of globalization (such as profits leaving the country from local factories to foreign owners or unsafe environmental practices of large multi-national companies) many of us believe this interaction is helpful to the local community.

For our wrap-up in Politics, our instructor provided us with a sheet on which was written many subjects and issues we have discussed throughout the semester, for us to discuss further in class as a summary. While talking about—as well as summarizing—these concepts, it became apparent to me (David) that we have learned a lot of about Namibia, as well as the region, and are able to have well-informed discussions about such topics which may not have been the case before this program. While we have addressed past and present politics in class, I (David) am eager to see how what we have studied applies to the upcoming elections.

On Tuesday, we had an internship celebration. This was an opportunity to present our internship supervisors with our completed projects and to thank them publicly. It was also a great chance for the supervisors to network and gain perspective into the tasks other interns were given during their time with various other organisations. I (Ethel) was thankful for the opportunity to work at Ombetja Yehinga Organization, and was glad my supervisor could attend.
In our religion class, we recapped all the topics that had been addressed throughout the semester, and shared personal views towards what they had meant for us. I, (Ethel) spoke about African religions and the irony of the justification of “Western-like” religion existing in Africa before the colonists. In my opinion, African religion should be allowed to stand on its own, and shouldn’t need to be legitimised by Western standards. This was particularly relevant as we discussed the extinction of traditional religion within Namibia.

The History class wrap-up consisted of us continuing with dialogue, which had begun the week earlier. We broke off into groups to discuss the various areas covered in the semester, and presented our findings to the rest of the class. I (Ethel) really appreciated the openness of the History class when discussing controversial topics like racism and colonialism. As a class we have become more mature about discussing these issues and increasingly open with our thoughts.
We have appreciated our classes this past week. While reflecting on the many subjects we have addressed, it has become apparent that many of these topics are interlinked and we have been able to gain a larger perspective into life in Namibia.

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