The places people live here (and plenty of other countries) continue to amaze me. After class on Thursday, we headed south to go camping for the weekend and we stayed in a few towns that really are just plopped in what feels like the middle of nowhere. The landscape of the south is much drier than the north and it is a pretty good display of Namibia’s low population density. If you’ve ever wondered what the Earth looked like before humans took over, the South of this country is the place to look. You can stand on top of a mountain and see nothing for miles in all directions. (I know, I did it!)
All of our trips are not only chances to see more of the country, but also to learn more about the people, culture, history, and development of Southern Africa. During this travel seminar, we stayed at two community run campsites and a private game lodge that practices social and environmental responsibility. The layout of Namibia, both with land and people, lends itself to practicing natural resource management combined with tourism activities like campsites
and craft markets. It was particularly interesting for me as the first two campsites are actually run by the organization I intern for, Namibia Development Trust. It is still up in the air if this is an effective development strategy, especially in a place that is so spaced out.
Our second campsite was probably the coolest (except for these tiny green bugs that attacked us and everything we owned). It was near the base of Brukkaros mountain, which isn’t very tall, but still pretty awesome. Most of us woke up early in the morning and hiked to the top. It was my first mountain climb! The view was beautiful and the climb was a great workout early in the morning. I’m still feeling pretty sore but it was well worth it. We were a little intimidated by the 8 or so baboons that were not pleased by our presence, but luckily they let us pass.
After our climb on Saturday morning, we met up with a group of high school kids from the school in Berseba and helped to repaint an old school building that they are trying to rehabilitate. It was actually more of an opportunity for us to interact with community members which we appreciated. An important part of this program is learning about life here from Namibians, not just our teachers, so being able to talk to them about their town and their school was enlightening. There was also a community meeting happening later in the day, so it seemed like the whole town was there and all the little children had a ball running around with us. Best of all, the high school kids were in their school’s choir so they sang to us and it was amazing! Every time a group of Namibians sings to us, I am in awe. The title of this post comes from the lyrics to a song that they sang – and one we were able to sing with them. Being in Namibia certainly is a worthy reason for celebration!
It’s hard to believe, but this trip was our last big group travel in Namibia for the semester. We only have 3 more weeks left in this beautiful country before we head to Cape Town, South Africa for a week and then it’s home to the States. Of course I am finally settled in and I have to start thinking about leaving…