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Published: March 29th 2012
In a village called Shamangorwa, a few hours’ fast drive east from the main city of Rundu the title of this blog is the beleif. Well not only in this village but all throughout Namibia but will get to that soon. Up in this area it is definitely not a touristic area although many tourist trucks are passing the main road heading towards the main attraction in Etosha National Park. This small, cozy and forgotten village is in the middle of the bush, roughly 10km from the main road and if you don’t have own transportation it is quite challenging to get there but not impossible. Shamangorw village is few meters from Angola and the Okavango River is dividing these two countries like day and night. As Namibia is just growing and the development is extremely fast after independence in 1990, Angola is struggling to get the stability in the country and many tourists don’t make to this country as there are many unexploded landmines under over whole country.
Before we entered Namibia we have heard many stories how hard is travelling through Namibia without own transportation. Personally we found that with a little patience and flexibility is quite easy
to get around this country so far. Actually we have been really surprised that North of Namibia is so crowded as we thought that we will be on our own but it seem that the two million of population has found home in the north part of the country. As well we didn’t expect to see really developed small towns in middle of nowhere and the prices are higher than in some countries in Western world. We have heard that Namibia is doing really well with their development and you can find many modern things over here but not at home.
As we have been invited to stay with a guy, Sam from couchsurfing website and volunteer for few days in Shamangorwa’s school which has been a great opportunity to come closer the village life in Namibia. Unfortunately it seems that between village and city life is a big gap, and it is impossible not noticing the hard and tough life in the village. The HIV/AIDS infection, alcoholism, early pregnancy and malnutrition are the main problems like in many other villages around Africa. The school is compulsively and free (or sometimes they need to pay a small amount for
the school fees but it is reachable amount for the local) which does a big difference in the country. But many schools in the villages around the country don’t have a good organization and an educated teacher, of course there are many teachers trying to do their best. It isn’t strange that just 10% of these students are making to university level as the possibilities are quite small. Many students are staying in Shamangorwa village for the rest of their lives and they haven’t seen another place in Namibia than their own home village. Well it is a great experience for them seeing foreign people who are ready to answer their questions.
So we had few classes with the grade nine and it was more like ask/answer classes. We were surprised how much they wanted to know about our culture, country, poverty, problems and us of course. They have realized the difference between their world and ours. Later on we had some small discussions, Diana with the girls and Christopher with the boys, and then they opened talked about everything. We have tried to spread the knowledge about the education’s importance as they cannot see the point with it.
The generation from generation they have learnt that the village and surviving there is the centre of the world. We have tried to explain how important education is for us and gave the reasons.
Actually you could see the difference between students who is really trying to get a better life after school and who just listening to be polite. Many questions were about poverty as they don’t believe that poverty is existing in other countries than Namibia… they were thinking that we are paid for travelling and visiting them. Many times you don’t know how to explain it in a better way so they could understand.. it is like with small kids. It feels that they have one-way thinking and don’t want believe what we are telling. For example a simple thing like to use the prevention whiles having sex (as they begin sex live just before teenage). They families have told that a condom isn’t good to use because it gives infections so it is better to risk HIV/AIDS and early pregnancy (which happens quite often). Condoms are also ‘un-cool’ as the students told us, Sam the teacher said it is very difficult to teach about these
sorts of topics. As we are moving around it is the same problem and the parents are at time spreading the wrong words regarding this topic to their children. We have heard and noticed by ourselves that in the towns and cities that people have different mentality and going along with new information and technology.
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