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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

There is no hospitality like understanding.

There is no hospitality like understanding.  Vanna Bonta.

On Monday we visited Penduka.  I have written about this marvelous place before on this Empowering Learners web site, but each time I visit Penduka I come away with another new and wonderful impression.  Please forgive the tardy posting of this entry!  It was written on the bus ride up to the North … and much has happened already since then.

Our visit lived up to all my expectations. 

As we drove through Katatura and approached Penduka (www.penduka.com) I took a few moments to speak to our students about what the project does.  Founded by a Dutch woman in 1992, this project serves as a safe haven for women.  Wives and mothers with their children come to Penduka to learn income-producing skills so that they might achieve a living and create a better life. 

I personally believe it is always good to buy when you’re in Namibia.  At Penduka, doubly so.  The prices are fair and reasonable and once you enter into the compound you realize what your purchases are supporting – sustainable empowerment for deserving women.

At Penduka they make beads out of discarded beer bottles, they create batik textiles, the make table runners, pillows, and gifts of all types.  The facility off the backroom of the shop is filled with workshop tables, patterns, drying fabric, singer sewing machines, painting rooms, etc. 

This is a terrific place, with a wonderful mission, and as Gregory Peterson says, “Penduka has a really great vibe!”

These days in Namibia, folks are just coming back into their regular lives from holiday.  I asked for Kristofina, the current on-site manager.  I was told she was not there but the welcome that followed was broad and generous.  

Before we shopped and bought, we asked to have a short tour and to meet some of the women doing the work.  I always love learning how the batik is made and then seeing how the pieces come together.  This time was no exception and I was pleased to see how our students connected with the women working at their stations.

Naturally, our students sang. 

They sang everything they knew in Oshiwambo.  And some pieces they needed to sing twice.   And then the questions came as they always do.  Who are you?  Why do you sing in Oshiwambo?  How do you know about Penduka?    The cell phones were all out, raised high in the air recording. 


This is Tjikune.  She sang every word with us.


And this is Lena and she needed to get a better look!

Our hostess for the day while we were at Penduka was a woman named Loyta.  After our singing and during our purchasing in the Penduka shop, she kept exclaiming … “God has blessed this day!  God has blessed this day!” 

We echo that sentiment!  Here are some additional photos of Penduka.  And did I remember to include the web site?  (Smiling!)  Here it is again … www.penduka.com. 


Empowering Learners. 


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