Monday, February 17, 2014

Meeting Americans in Namibia

(I still don't totally have a hang of how to place pictures, but there are a variety of pictures--Petrine, a young UNAM law graduate who we met at J-burg airport offered to take pictures with my camera so thanks to her, we have lots of photos)
My time here in Namibia feels different from my first visit on a Fulbright-Hays travel seminar and my subsequent visits on the J-term program with PLU students. I have a commitment to the University of Namibia (UNAM) Faculty of Education and so my early interactions are learning about the Namibian higher education system and finding footing with projects and teaching opportunities for pre-service teachers.  The other part of the Fulbright that took me a couple of weeks to understand is the relationship between my commitment to UNAM and the US Embassy and American Cultural Center. I am here to conduct research and work with UNAM Faculty of Education.  The state department side plays a supportive role--they are involved in Namibia in a way that foreign embassies support their host country, and so I am able to bounce ideas off people in the embassy, offer support to their projects and learn from them.

Ready for the Embassy

 And finally, we had our First Friday: Tastes from the US event.  I ended up cooking more food than necessary, but that was fine because I invited the PLU students over the following night for left overs.  I believe there were about 25 people—adults and children that were here.  It was a great blend of Namibians and Americans.  There were groups of people who knew each other and chatted for a while to those they knew and then when we ate there was a lot of mixing of conversations.  It was great to know I was facilitating something that everyone was enjoying.   In addition to the food and conversation, just thought I would mention that my margaritas were a great hit.  We finished off 3 pitchers!  I ended up freezing margarita mixes in Ziploc bags, and then added soda water, tequila, limes and a light beer. 

In addition to the great feel of the evening, my other highlight was sitting outside and chatting over a glass of wine with people from the university and people from the embassy.  I got to relax a bit because everyone else had left, and although I can’t recall all the conversation details, it was varied, informative and very easy.  When the last person left at 10:30, Tony, Lindsey and I spent over an hour cleaning up, but it was such a fabulous evening I felt wired and awake to get the job done.

Petrine and Lindsey--I wanted some photographs with her.

Finally a chance to eat!

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures. Two things hit me while reading. One, your use of the word facilitating (probably because I had heard it so many times in class along side the word learning) and two, the picture of you at the table and a tequila bottle to your left. I think we sometimes forget our instructors are real people too. I am following your posts. What a grand adventure. Keith