Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 3: Getting Oriented to Life in Windhoek

Post by Samantha Frisk

We arrived back in Windhoek, refreshed from our time at Etosha, and were ready to settle in and become a little more familiar with our temporary home.  It was a packed week with tours of Windhoek and the start of classes and internships.

After Linda gave us an overall view of Windhoek, its different subdivisions and beautiful landscape, we hit up the local market for some Kapana (meat sliced and barbecued as you order it) and fat cakes!  We admired the hand-made Oshiwambo skirts and took note of some other vendors we might want to visit later. 

The next day, accompanied by a member of Kasie Adventures, we checked out some of what Katatura has to offer.  In this formerly black township, we visited the local radio station, Lutheran church, and an art studio.  We also shopped around for lunch and later in the day calculated how prices compared to those in the U.S., finding that the cost of living is much more than an average salary here and while some things may look inexpensive to us, a person has to work many hours to obtain some very basic items. Our guides offered us an honest perspective of some of the challenges this township still faces and the ways they hope to combat those, specifically by inspiring young students. 

Kasie Adventures was founded by Young Achievers, a youth empowerment group that is run almost entirely by students.  They organize and implement projects and seminars that aim to empower younger students through passing along their leadership skills and encouraging educational goals.  As an initiative to try to become self-sustainable they created Kasie Adventures and now give tours of Katutura on a more intimate level than just driving through or seeing the township from a distance. 

For me, this was a chance to interact a little with the people that live there and I was shocked to find that many of them do not come in contact with white people often.  Though this seemed outrageous to many of us, the reality was that though apartheid laws were not still in place, they still have an effect on the people living here.

Finally, we started some classes and our internships; our language class was particularly interesting.  Damara is the language that our rural home stay families will primarily speak, so we have begun learning greetings and introductions.  This “click” language is particularly difficult for a lot of us because of the new sounds it incorporates, but Sarah (a permanent CGE staff member) taught our first class and was really enthusiastic and encouraging, so we had fun.

The busy, but exciting week, was brought to a fantastic close with our first Yoga class.  The group left feeling rejuvenated and ready for the weekend!

No comments: