We send double greetings from Namibia!
But first, of course, we want to introduce ourselves: I, Emilie, I'm 18 years old and have been in the project since the end of March. Unfortunately, my time is coming to an end in June.
And me, Johanna, am 20 years old and will be in Okakarara for a total of 6 months from April to September.
Together with Pauline, who is in Namibia for a whole year, we live in the volunteer house, which is only 50 meters away from the project (here on the right in the picture, next to the steps guest house). As a flat share we work together, cook, play board games and do sports. We often sit together in the evening, tell each other about experiences in the project and plan the next day.
And we'll take you with us for a day like this:
At around 7 a.m., our alarm clocks start ringing. Since winter has now set in, the sun only rises at this time. "Winter" sounds dramatic, but here it simply means that it is quite fresh in the mornings and evenings, but still gets around 30°C during the day.
Shortly before 8 a.m. we leave for the project. From there there are different tasks that we have divided into an alternating system. When we arrive at the farm in the morning, we are immediately surrounded, greeted and hugged from many sides. What was still surprising at the beginning of our time is now part of everyday life and the loving greetings of the children have become indispensable.
One of us then helps Pauline with sports. Depending on the day of the week, it is the turn of a different one of the five groups from the project. The sports theme changes every week, so everything is included, from obstacle courses to skipping rope and somersaults.
Meanwhile, the other visits one of the five "morning circle". There they read, sang, danced or painted.
The children have breakfast between 9 and 10 a.m.
We often spend part of this time in the project's "art shed". There we prepare everything to make art from 10 a.m. with one group each day. They paint, dab, cut, glue, but at the same time laugh, learn to name the colors in English and concentrate. When we finish a project, the best thing for us is the beaming children who are so proud of their work.
The “Mousebook” program runs parallel to this in the preschool groups. Pauline or one of us supports the teachers there in teaching colours, numbers, logical thinking, the beginnings of writing and the like. Pretty comparable to the preschool assignments we remember from our own kindergarten days.
Until the lunch break we either play with the children in the yard or do any organizational tasks that have arisen. This also includes, for example, tasks that deal with the sewing room or the guest house here in the project.
In the afternoon we spend our time with the older children, who are supported by steps and come to the project after school for "after school care". In contrast to the kindergarten children, who mainly speak Otjiherero, we can really talk to the school children in English.
I, Johanna, am currently working mainly with the 3rd and 4th graders, while I, Emilie, work with the 6th and 7th graders at the same time. However, the principle is the same for all grade levels. We support with homework, exam preparation and explain everything that was not understood in class. Playing together at the end is particularly popular with the children. Depending on the amount of homework, it can sometimes be longer or shorter. In doing so, we combine the playful with learning content, but sometimes you can also just play: Whether football, board games or puzzles, we have just as much fun as the children!
Between 16 and 17 p.m. the children make their way home and for us a day in our new everyday life comes to an end.
Even if our experiences here in Okakarara are mostly positive, we also come along Poverty, grievances and situations that are foreign to us and very depressing at first.
Of course, we realize that we can't help everyone - no single person can. So it's all the nicer to go to work every morning on a project that starts at a point that really matters: education.
We hope you enjoyed our little journey through everyday project life. In any case, we can state that we have already gained a lot of experience and are looking forward to our future here in Okakarara with anticipation!
Dear Emilie, dear Johanna, we thank you very much for your commitment to steps in Okakarara! You are an energetic team that, together with educators and other volunteers, strengthens children through education for the future.
Thank you for your commitment!
Would you like to find out more about how you can become active with steps in Namibia? We have put together a few options for you here: