Windhoek, Namibia: Land van verlange, Country of longing (by Barbara)

 

Seven months have passed by like a wink. I cannot believe that I already returned four weeks ago and left this beautiful country behind. These seven months were some of the most experiencing, most beautiful but also challenging months of my life. Namibia is different. Different in a good way. It is a stunning country, there is something special, something so free and pure about this place.

When I returned to Germany I had a lot to think about, many pictures to look at and many memories to assort. When I look back at the semester I spent in Namibia I must separate it into two categories:

 

1) The University

In my first article – published just three weeks after I arrived in Africa – I told you a lot about the university. Sometimes I think I wrote too early about the studies (follow the link to get to the article). Just three weeks in a new university and already writing and evaluating the university’s system? Many things I wrote in that first article are still true, but my overall view changed:
I want to start by pointing out that you cannot really compare the university in Namibia with the ones in Germany. The system is different, and the circumstances are different. But on a certain level universities must be comparable. Within the five months of studies we international students (we were two from Macromedia, but there were seven more from Germany and Finland) experienced many Up and Downs. Many lectures did not take place, sometimes we actually had the feeling that some of the lecturers were not interested in teaching us. Over these weeks we met some frustrated native students who had the same problems. To be fair: We also had a very good lecturer but most of the time we left the university frustrated regarding it’s organisational and educational system. In November we wrote our final exams, the results are not completely accessible jet.
I want to indicate that Ms Aune Sam – who was responsible for us international students – was a treasure. She did everything she could so that we could find our way around the campus and get used to the different teaching methods.

 

2) The country itself

In my second article (follow the link to get to the article) I wrote a lot about the country and its culture itself. I love the country and I am sure that I will return within the next years. Namibia is unique. The country is influenced by various cultures and is one of the most interesting and exciting countries in the world. At least eleven major ethnic groups live together in this country and you can see their influence in the culture and mentality all around yourself. Within these seven months I’ve seen rhinos, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs and lions. I ate worms, went skydiving, slept in the wild – just with a sleeping bag under the stars – while a leopard growled nearby and witnessed the most amazing night sky with at least three falling stars every night.

Due to the time spent in Namibia, touring around and living on a hunting and cattle farm within the Erongo mountains, my overall view on many things in my personal life changed. I want to share with you the two most important ones:

In the last weeks Cape Town and its water problem dominated the news. Water. That is something I never really spent a thought on. You open the water faucet and there it is. But in Namibia, in Africa, it’s different. Sometimes there is no water because the water tank is empty, and you must start the pump to get fresh water out of the ground. In Namibia people congratulate each other when one of them has a strong water vein on his/her property and some good boreholes to pump the water. I experienced months without rain and heard farmers talking about their third year of drought. In Namibia you normally just say “Goodbye” to each other, but when you dismiss a farmer you say, “Have much rain.”

Secondly, my view on electricity changed. In Namibia almost all houses – as long as the owners can afford it – have their own solar panels. On farms these are the basic equipment to produce power. If there is a cloudy day, the solar plants cannot produce enough power and a blackout occurs. Within my seven months I experienced three blackouts in Windhoek and several on the farm. When a blackout occurred on the farm we then started the generator to produce electricity.

Water and electricity. These two things seem so ordinary to us, but in Namibia no one looks at water and electricity as something normal. Both are special and very, very precious.

I can honestly say that I lost my heart in Namibia. It is so different and remarkable. I really get homesick thinking and writing about the time I spent there. Namibia became a second home for me. I really miss my friends and host family, the landscape, the weather, the country’s and citizen’s own “flow”.  

 

I want to finish my last article with a phrase of the Suedwesterlied:

♫ Und kommst du selber in unser Land ♫
♫ Und hast seine Weiten gesehen
♫ Und hat unsre Sonne ins Herz dir gebrannt ♫
♫ Dann kannst du nicht wieder gehen ♫

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♫ And you yourself come to our country ♫
♫ And you have seen his widths
♫ And if our sun burned into your heart ♫
♫ Then you cannot leave again ♫

And here are some last pictures to show you the stunning beauty of Namibia ♥