Diving in Head First

It’s come to our attention that we haven’t posted a blog in a few days. No, we haven’t all contracted malaria and wasted away in a hospital. No, we didn’t hop over to Zimbabwe to vie for the empty presidentship. We’ve been fully immersed in the country of Namibia. Buckle your seat belts, we have a lot to unload.

Our first stop was Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. Windhoek may contrast heavily with what many in the United States may expect of a city in Africa. Windhoek is a very modern city looking similar to something one might see when traveling through Europe or the United States. The city of over 300,000, sits in a valley surrounded by mountains on all sides. Our first full day in the city was spent sightseeing.

The first stop of the day was at the Heroes’ Acre. The site is a memorial to those who fought, participated, and suffered in Namibia’s fight for independence. Namibia only gained independence from South Africa in 1990, and the history of that struggle is fresh in many minds. The meaning of the memorial was presented to the group by a veteran of the conflict, making the visit more than a history lesson.

The first level houses a torch burning all hours of the day, and behind it rests a massive bronze medal sitting on dazzling Namibian black marble. The two are dedicated to all who fought. Going up the mountainside are terraces filled with graves reserved for those who were most crucial to the fight. A tall marble obelisk and statue of a soldier overlook the site. The memorial demonstrates the pride the Namibian people take in their newfound country.

Our next stop was at the Penduka Project. Penduka means “wake up” in the Oshiwambo language. The project provides an opportunity for women who have suffered from difficult backgrounds, including domestic violence, to make a living for themselves. The women specialize in craft making, creating everything from baskets to beads made from fire melting old glass bottles.

Dinner that night was at a festive place called, Joe’s Beerhouse. Think of Wall Drug in the Badlands of South Dakota or Zorba’s in Northern Minnesota. Most everyone had some type of game for dinner. Many chose the Zebra, others went for a wider variety of Springbok, Onyx, or other exotic sounding animal of the savannah. Saturday was a free day, with a short rehearsal for Sunday’s worship service.

Our first public performance was for the Inner City Congregation of Windhoek. Over 1,000 people were packed into the Lutheran sanctuary. The lively service lasted for two hours, containing much more enthusiasm than you might find back home. Namibia is a church going nation, with a majority of citizens being Lutherans, everyone wearing their Sunday best.

Monday was our first stop to a school. Take a look at Taylor’s post on our visit to the school for the visually impaired. Tuesday was a travel day to begin our new chapter in the North part of the country.

We’ll try our best to post on the blog in the next few days, technology and WiFi pending.

Till next time,

The Heroes’ Acre
Mountains outside of Windhoek