Wrap Up Namibia

I had so hoped to share more about Namibia as it was happening, but my Internet connection was not viable. Here’s my wrap-up!

The photography project was a huge success. We had 19 children, from ages 9 – 17 participate. We kept downloaded all of their pictures to two laptops… mine and Jessica’s (a 6-month volunteer) whose machine is staying at the COZV. In this way, the kids will always be able to see their work and they can build onto their collection. Jessica willsort out the pics there as she has time to weed out the junk (like pictures of the floor).

Taken by DiscoOn Saturday, they were introduced to the cameras, the basic structure of the camera itself and given a short lesson on “what is photography?” and a review of some of the different types of pictures: landscapes, street photography, headshots, and more. That was a 2-hour class. I then sent them out to take pictures… whatever they wanted.

On Sunday, I set up the viewer (it’s about 8 x 10) and showed them their pictures and talked about each image… what worked, what didn’t work, and why. Then, I assigned assigned “headshots” and they were to capture close-up pictures of people… old and young. Nicky by Annia

Sunflower by NicoOn Monday, we split the class and I had one part in the afternoon and one part after dinner. I reviewed their pictures again and then gave a short lesson on some of the “other” settings of the camera and said they must take at least 20 pictures, but two of the same thing with different settings. This assignment was not taken as seriously: I guess it was too much like homework :-). It was this day that we realized that kids had “wiped” their memory cards and many really good pictures were lost forever. From this day forward, Jessica and I downloaded all the pictures to my laptop and copied them to hers.

Sheep by Inonge DorothyBut the next day, when we divided the class, it was clear which students “got it” and many of their pictures improved … less were overexposed and many had good, bright colors. On Tuesday, their assignment was “work and play” (with at least 2 people in the picture) and again, we divided the group in half to review their shots. The kids who didn’t use the settings the day before, started experimenting with “white balance” for their Work and Play shots.

Katima Mulilu by SamuelWednesday and Thursday were designated field trips. We took half the kids on one day and the other half the second day into town…Katima Mulilo. This was really a treat for the kids and we were very hopeful that the townspeople would receive our students and their request to allow pictures. Wrong! The adults in town, like the marketplace and in the shops, were very rude and dismissive to our kids. I was so sorry. Naturally, we managed some shots, but our youngsters got pretty discouraged. Fortunately, Director Rebecca was the driver and she suggested to go to some other locations… we visited the Juice distribution center (once a juice factory), the pharmacy, and a wholesale bakery the first day. On the second day, we visited the special places first before we tackled the town again. We visited the Mill, the Forestry Service Nursery, and the hospital. Once again, the townspeople were rude, but we did run into some old friends and the kids shot anyway.

Each evening, Jessica and I culled the shots and selected good ones for our final “slideshow” presentation on Thursday evening for everyone. It really worked out great. I’ve put a few samples of their pictures here and will upload them to FlickR later. Some of the pictures may prove to be good enough to sell to raise funds for individual “accounts” that the children have and will need once they leave the children’s home. I also tried to do headshots of all the kids and will be using those in conjunction with their photographs.

It was an incredible experience and I really got to know my photography students very well. They will always hold a special place in my heart.

On a more personal side note… I did get my snake experience on Sunday morning… a small black mamba snake decided to curl up next to my bed. And yes, they are very poisonous … often called “two-step snakes” since you go about two steps before you are dead! Although a baby, it is still deadly. Of course, when I first saw it, I couldn’t believe it was even real and I nudged it with my sandled toe… duh! In the end, Mike carried him out with kitchen tongs. He should have killed it, but he was feeling very “Steve Irwin” and through him into the Zambezi River. Of course, where there are baby snakes, they are mama snakes and the rest of the week had me checking everywhere for a vengeful parent. And of course, there were several rubber snakes that made surprise appearances wherever I went.

Later, Sunday evening, I added to my woes. I was cutting cheese for dinner and managed to cut a huge slice into my hand. Nurse Rebecca (she wears many, many hats!) said it needed stitches but decided to try the “dermabond.” I agreed to the experiment, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone now. The injury will probably leave a pretty nasty scar. Ah well… I’d rather have a scar than a Mamba bite.

Friday morning, we left the Children of Zion Village … the kids were having a harde time as several of their favorite volunteers were leaving the same day. There were lots of tears. Director Gary (he is also the “go to” person for anything that needs to be fixed!) drove us to Elephant Valley Lodge near the Chobe Park in Botswana. We spent the day and night there before heading to Lusaka, Zambia on Saturday.

It’s always a little “hit or miss” on what you’ll see in a game park. With the rains having arrived (and we’ve been pretty lucky so far, the rains have been at night mostly), the animals tend to go deeper into the bush. But our first safari was by boat along the Chobe River and we were blessed with many sightings of hippo, water buffalo, impalla, kudu, crocodiles, and of course, elephants. We must have seen a herd of twenty or more. It was magnificent! The afternoon safari by jeep was not as successful as we never did see any giraffe or zebra, but we did see lions (females and cubs) over a water buffalo kill. That was amazing. The lodge was wonderful and the food was fabulous. Most of the guests were from Germany, Austria, and Italy, although we met a wonderful Indian doctor from New Zealand.

We are now at the Village of Hope in the Chibombo District about one hour north of Lusaka on the Great Northern Road. I will try to write more tomorrow. Our task here will be completely different as I will be teaching camera to the Conservation Farming students (late teens and early 20’s) and the new house mothers and staff. More later.

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~ by Irm Brown on November 12, 2007.

2 Responses to “Wrap Up Namibia”

  1. Glad to hear your trip is going well. The few pictures posted look great, particularly the tentative look of the young girl milking the goat, her smile is priceless. God bless,

    Jennings family

  2. Thanks for letting us know that you are keeping up with our trip and praying for us. It means so much.

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