It was early on Friday morning, July 12. It was our first morning in the North, we had just finished breakfast, and we were walking over to the ELCIN offices to meet up with Pastor Shaanika. We commented to one another that time was so precious on this trip … and could it be that we really had only been in Africa just over a week? How was this possible? We had done so much already and it seemed like ages since we landed in Cape Town.
And it was true, we had done so much, connected with so many folks, and at that time there was still so much more to do!
Now we’re back. It’s already three weeks since that Friday morning (and the wonderful day of seeing the schools) and time is zooming by. In my personal book of projects I am starting the process of writing our many contacts in Namibia to turn the page to all that comes next. This will be a worthy time of mutual discernment and email discussion. How will our Empowering Learners partnership flourish and what will we next do together? How will we spend this time? Stay tuned dear friends and supporters … we have much to share!
As a bit of reflection, I share in this posting just a few special photo memories from our time in Namibia.
I love this photo. These are the hands of Fredalina and Bianca. Fredalina is the second grade teacher at the School for Visually Impaired. She herself has limited sight and is teaching Bianca to read Braille. We musicians know about learning this way, finding the right notes on the piano, or pressing a flute key. Making our fingers go the right way to learn the language. We learned last summer when we were first introduced that Fredalina means “singer of sweet songs.” Just imagine the world she’s unlocking for these new readers.
This is Hilya Mutota. She is the teacher of the Oniipa Kindergarten. When we came to visit, she and the children were outside in a group playing and singing together. When she saw us, Hilya made a bee-line to Ethan to give him a big hug. Her hands surrounded his face – and she smiled and smiled! Such a good warm welcome back. We saw her then again on Sunday at worship, and she thanked us for coming to visit.
Welcome to the Oniipa ELCIN Guest House. Home Sweet Home in Namibia! For a long time I have wondered about that ELOC on the front of the building. I learned from Bishop Nambala’s book The History of the Church in Namibia, that the original name for our church in the North circa 1954 was The Evangelical Lutheran Ovambokavango Church (ELOC). This later became the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN). African Lutherans love their alphabet soup as much as we do!
And finally, these are some of the memes and grand-memes of the wonderful learners at the Pastor Henok Kindergarten. It was such a pleasure to meet these lovely women. We all enjoyed Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, and Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, and many more favorite songs and well-rehearsed recitations beautifully presented in brand new English. Without a doubt, one of the finest school pageants we have ever been a part of. The best time, well spent.