Sunday, February 5, 2012

“Goodbye South Africa, Hello Namibia”

By: Sarah Caska, Emily Newton & Amanda Audet-Griffin

What a whirlwind of adventure it has been so far. We started out the week returning from our home stays in Soweto, excited to tell each other about the families we lived with over the weekend. We all agree that everything from attending church, going to an amusement park, eating traditional South African foods, were all once in a lifetime experiences. With high spirits, our first stop following our home-stays Monday morning was meeting and talking with the students at one of the local semi-private schools in Soweto. It was a learning experience for both the students and us, as we exchanged knowledge regarding educational systems in the U.S. and South Africa.
Tuesday was our last day in South Africa and we spent the day visiting the country’s capital, Pretoria. While in Pretoria we got to learn about the history of the Afrikaner people, speak with a professor regarding the Great Trek, and most of us got our first glimpse of wild Zebras. Later we enjoyed a group dinner at Mimmos, reveling in our memories created so far in Africa. We talked with excitement about the upcoming journey in Windhoek, where we would be spending the next three months.
We left early Wednesday morning for Windhoek. From the second we arrived on Namibian soil, its beautiful landscape and friendly people amazed us. We arrived at our house, met the CGE staff and began exploring the surrounding neighborhood. After a night of group bonding, we spent Thursday exploring the city and learning about its history. We were given instructions to begin finding our way around the downtown area, becoming acquainted with our home for the next three months. We are excited to take advantage of everything Windhoek has to offer, from its museums, its cultural centers, to its shopping plazas. In particular we hope to take advantage of the craft center and the beautiful parks. After a trip to the US Embassy, we all feel more at ease with our surroundings and intend to utilize what the city has to offer.
The week ended with a guided walking tour through Katutura, a historically black township in Windhoek. Guided by the Young Achievers, we had the opportunity to meet with various local organizations, such as an art center, a local radio station and NAMCOL the Namibian College of Open Learning, we all learned how the local people are involved in the community. By talking in small groups with these different organizations’ members, we were reminded of the powerful sense of community present in Windhoek.
We are looking forward to branching out and making a positive impact in Namibia. We’re excited about beginning classes and our internships next week, bringing the knowledge gained over the past two weeks into a more analytical setting.

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