Saturday, November 24, 2012

Week 14: Wrapping Up

Post by Veronica Herren

In History class, we have spent a lot of time discussing issues of race and racism, both here and in the United States. Studying the history of race relations in Namibia and observing the racial issues that are still evident has enlightened me to the existing racial segregation and injustices present in my own country. Our Politics class has taught me a lot about not only Namibian politics, but also about African politics in general. Such a long history of colonialism creates challenges for the beginning of democracy in Namibia and other countries. It’s hard to believe, but the last week of classes is already upon us. I can’t believe it has already been thirteen weeks; it feels like we just got here. It seems like yesterday we had just arrived at the house and were so excited about everything the semester would bring. As we spend our last classes reviewing these last few months, I realize how much I have learned since I arrived here in Namibia.

Religion and Social Change has opened my eyes to the powerful role that the church has played in Namibia’s history, and the influence it sill has today. As a whole, the Christian church was very outspoken about apartheid and had a significant role in overturning the system. Today, Namibia is about 90% Christian, and there has been some criticism that the church is not speaking out for oppressed people like it used to.

I have never taken a class like Development before, and I am so glad I had to opportunity to this semester. I have learned so many things just through the discussions we have, but also from the field trips we take as well. We took a trip to the south to learn about community-based natural resource management, and realized that although it seems like a good model on paper, and works very well in some regions, it can actually be largely unsuccessful in a lot of areas in southern Namibia. We also drove to an organic farm, where we learned that genetically modified crops may not be such a good thing, and that they can contaminate the fields of farmers who are trying to grow crops organically. As we wrapped up Development class on Friday, we talked about what we have learned, and what we will take out of the class. This class in particular has helped me to see that no one can know everything about an issue. There is always room to gain more information and knowledge about any subject. It has also taught me to consider a subject from all sides; there are usually a lot more people being affected by an issue than it may seem at first, and it is critical to identify all of the stakeholders involved. There is more than one solution to a problem, and it is always helpful to consider different viewpoints.

The end of the semester has been a sensitive subject in the house, and there are many of us who don’t feel ready to leave just yet. I haven’t been looking forward to leaving Namibia, but this past week has made me realize how much I have learned and experienced, and how much more I have left to do. While it is sad to leave after what doesn’t seem like enough time here, it helps to appreciate all that I have learned and how much I have grown on this trip.

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