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Hallo! Hoe gaan dit? September 13, 2006

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Namibia, Uncategorized, VSO.

View across WindhoekHallo von Namibia!

This is my first in country post, and as you can see, I’m getting down with the Africaans. I have to learn it for my job and had my first lesson yesterday.

This is Day 3 of In-Country-Training, and it has been pretty mindblowing since we arrived.
Leaving wasn’t as traumatic as I was anticipating as I met up with the other UK volunteers at Heathrow, then collected 4 Dutch vols and a Ugandan in Jo’burg airport, and met the final 2 Phillopino and 2 Indian volunteers when we finally arrived in Windhoek on Sunday afternoon, after 20 hours of travelling.

Flying in was rather an experience as the airport is pretty much just a runway in the desert. In the same way, Windhoek is just a (rather Germanic) city in the desert. Surrounded by peaks of desert scrub, there isn’t much around. Although it is very hilly, which means fantastic views all around. What first struck me is how quiet it is. This is the capital city, with wide boulevards criss-crossing the city, but barely any cars. Nighttime is particularly eerie, although it must be one of the few capital cities where you can see the whole Milky Way from the centre. It’s very dry, rather hot (summer is just starting here), quite cool at night. Today I saw a cloud (which is rather an occasion!). Everything is rather clean. You can even drink the tap water.

There are 20 volunteers from all over who have just arrived. We’re living in an apartment near the VSO office. The staff are super and have made us feel so welcome. This week we are covering basic stuff like security, visas, health, and overall background before heading off to our placements this weekend. It’s very laid back, and most of the training is done in the office courtyard under a tree.
Yesterday we were split into groups and dropped off at different parts of the city, with instructions to find certain establishments and find info from certain people. My group went to a primary school, a secondary school, a teacher training college and the Social Security Commission – it was so eye-opening, chatting with staff and students. Everyone here is so friendly and kind, and so happy to talk openly about life in Namibia.

Since I am based here in Windhoek, I just move across to a different hill. I am visiting my new accommodation tomorrow. It’s on the last street of that part of the city, meaning that is backs onto a desert mountain. Apparently it is quite common for baboons, meerkats and impala to come down and play in your garden. I’ll keep you posted on that!
Windhoek is pretty developed for an African city. I met some of the other Windhoek-based volunteers last night, and they have invited me to see the Vagina Monologues on Friday night, which is showing at the National Theatre (only 3 quid a ticket!). They are a terribly friendly bunch. I have friends!!!

Better head back to HQ – my second Africaans lesson starts soon.
Photos will follow, i promise. But it’s not that safe to take your camera out so I’m playing it safe for now.




1. Andy P - September 14, 2006

Glad to hear that you’re alive and kicking mate. Don’t eat too much sand…it’s not good for you!

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