Saturday, May 2, 2009


The school holidays mean quieter afternoons because there’s no After School Program, but there’s still plenty happening.

Wednesday saw the second support group meeting for the Home Based Care clients, I hope to blog about that next week. There’s also planning going on for training in Home Based Care at the end of the month; the aim of the training is to have more qualified people to be able to care for clients so we can reach more people with this great program.

And Tuesday was a skill-building workshop for the After School Program volunteers. We started off with a breakfast together of brötchens (bread rolls) and coffee (which, I admit, was a ploy to make sure everyone was early so we could start on time at 9am – and it worked!). The first topic was Preparation, and Tangee spoke to the volunteers on the role of preparation in lesson and activity planning, how it should be done, and how proper preparation can benefit everyone involved.

Earnest discussion (from left) Tangee, Sutuu, Lazarus, Zeka, Joseph, Mercia, Steven, Absalom, Gebby, Uvatera

Our second speaker, Mrs Mbuende (one of the church members who’s a primary school teacher), was a bit late as she had to come straight from school. (Although the children are on holidays, the teachers were working up until Wednesday.) She gave insights into the best way of helping children in different grades with their homework; and the volunteers were able to ask questions about specific problems they had noticed. Mrs M also gave more information about what and how the children learned at school, and how the volunteers can help the children learn.

Next on the program was skills in talking to children about their problems and Vikki from Scripture Union did an excellent job of outlining listening and responding skills, as well as some basic counselling. That was the theory, and then we broke for lunch.

Vikki shares her knowledge
After the meal, a bit of a stretch, and (for some…) a bit of a nap (!), Vikki took us through some case studies and practical examples before she had to go. Then it was my turn to talk about HIV and AIDS, focusing more on the technical side of how HIV works in a human body, the different stages of HIV infection and how the body responds to these, as well as the approaches to HIV prevention that are being used in Namibia. Of course there was a lot of discussion on these points and we ran out of time!

To give the volunteers something to keep them busy over the holidays, there was also a practical assignment. Over the next three weeks the volunteers, in pairs, must prepare a talk on HIV-AIDS to present to the youth at church. They were given additional materials to help them, and hopefully by reading the information they will also learn more facts about HIV and AIDS.

There is constantly more information coming out, and being discovered, about HIV and AIDS and one thing I’ve learnt is the importance of keeping up to date with this. It’s easy to hear so much about HIV or AIDS that you tend to tune out after a while, but because of the ongoing research into a cure the scientists and researchers are always learning something new.

Long weekend
Here in Namibia we have a double long weekend – celebrating Workers Day on Friday and Cassinga Day (commemorating an important battle in Namibia’s independence struggle) on Monday. Jimmy is out of town for a family funeral but friends Vasisee and Kauna and I took my girls on a ‘short’ 3 km hike today at a local wildlife park. It did feel longer than 3 kms…

Samara’s 1.25m tall, so that’s some LONG grass!

We saw some wildebeest, oryx and red hartebeest, but not near enough to photograph nicely. (Of course my camera was put away when a wildebeest – gnu – trotted along next to the car on our drive out of the park!) The hike took us to a small dam and it was certainly beautiful scenery on a cool sunny day.
The view at the dam

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