Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Week Fifteen: Integrative Projects and Wrap-Up in Namibia

Lulu Moyo & Abbie Lawrence

This week was our last week in Windhoek. We spent our time finishing up final projects and exploring the parts of the city we love most, from restaurants to craft shops to informal markets. We also made it our goal to visit places in Windhoek that we have wanted to see, but had not found the time to this semester. It was a week full of wrapping up, saying goodbye to people and places we have built strong relationships with, and preparing to leave the city that has been our home for the past few months. It was an emotional week, but everyone is looking forward to spending some time Cape Town, where we will spend our final days before we head back to the United States.

We spent Tuesday and Wednesday presenting the integrative projects that all of the students at CGE have spent much time and effort on. The purpose of the project is to creatively represent and discuss themes that we have learned about in all of our classes in a twenty-minute presentation. Integrating all of our courses into one final project was a good way to reflect on important themes that emerged this semester. It was a good way to wrap-up all that we have done these past few months, and a fun way for the students to listen to one another’s concluding thoughts.
"Team Tuesday" (All the students that presented their projects on Tuesday, 21 April)
Haley and Abbie presented a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story that they wrote about a German boy’s short-lived relationship with a South African boy during the Liberation Struggle, and the difficulties that the two faced at the hands of apartheid, oppression, and police violence.
Haley and Abbie presenting their project.
Some other themes spoken about by other groups included the complex identities of Namibians, racial tensions both in the United States and Southern Africa, and women’s issues especially pertaining to subjugation and gender based violence. Students presented stories, letters, blog posts, poetry, and a myriad of other creative projects.
Students watching Jordan present his website!
We spent the rest of the week wrapping everything up and saying goodbye to the city we have made so many memories in. On Wednesday there was a staff appreciation party, and on Thursday the students had a “Going Away Braai” where we invited all of the people who have made an important impact on our experience this semester. It was very sad to say goodbye to everyone we have made connections with, and to reflect on all the amazing experiences we have had this semester. We have visited some incredibly places, met such wonderful people, and been pushed out of our comfort zones, all of which have made our entire time in Namibia one that will surely never be forgotten. Although some people are excited to see their loved ones back in the States, many of us are not ready to leave.

Lulu's Reflection:
It is the week of our Integrated Projects. This also mean it’s our last week in Namibia. This final project has been my distraction from really acknowledging that I’ll be leaving this place. It’s interesting to look back and see how Molly and I have transformed our ideas for our project. We initially wanted to organize this grand event at the Habitat Research and Development Center. This is a place we visited during one of our environment classes. We learned about many sustainable initiatives that the center is trying to implement such as developing affordable and functional housing, using recycled materials for construction, and making a library available to local people in the informal settlements. Our initial visit to the center really made us realized that we had been meeting a lot of people who are trying to implement change in marginalized communities but these resources are not being utilized. There is also a lack of communication amongst all of these organizations. We wanted to develop and event that would bring together the organizations that we were interacting with so that they could hopefully start to unify and work together. We also wanted to bring in local people from Katutura who we met and invite them to perform or present information of what change they wanted to see. Molly and I were so excited about this event what our ideas were all over the place and we were having difficulty connecting our ideas to all of our course subjects. Also, planning an event of this magnitude just wasn’t possible with the time that we had left in the program. So that plan was botched.

Next we considered making a physical pathway in the garden of the CGE house. We were thinking that we would have 6 large stones that would represent out journey through globalization in Southern Africa. Each stone would have pictures and/or phrases that would signify an aspect of globalization that we interacted with. But our ideas started to get complex once again. Craft paint was also really difficult to find. At this point we were really getting frustrated and we were struggling to find a medium to convey what we were thinking. After many breaks, pacing around the living room, and many crumpled up note pages we decided to go back to our roots.

                Molly and I are both International Development and Social Change majors at Clark University and have taken many education courses. We decided to focus on what we know which is develop and education. Using what we knew from our education at Clark in combination with the new information we learned while in Namibia we developed a project. This project is a play. We wrote play following the life of a boy named Pandu would grew up in the informal settlements in Katutura. Using the information we learned from our internships at schools in the informal settlement, conversations with local people, as well as articles and text we wove together a 20 minute play which details the challenges that life in the informal settlements presents. We used themes such as food insecurity, the rural to urban migration push, landlessness, and gender role issues. I am a huge fan of creative writing so this idea has been the best. Molly and I cast our classmates as our actors and performed the play on Wednesday. It ended up being an amazing experience and actually opened my eyes to the prospects of writing plays thought tackle social issues as a form of activism.
The script from Lulu & Molly's presentation. 

                Now that the projects are done we are back to counting down the days until we leave. My distraction is gone. My suitcases have yet to be packed. It’s time to face the next element of this journey which is returning back to the US. 

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