Two weeks at Ojitkondo School
Windhoek Travel Blog› entry 4 of 19 › view all entries
Today we flew from Johannesburg to Windhoek. The journey 60km from Windhoek airport to the centre of Windhoek was breath taking. We scenery is so beautiful and amazingly unspolit. There are so few people in Namibia compared to the size of the country so you can drive for many km without seeing a single building. This was a real contrast compared to Johannesburg.
Today we faced our hardest task yet, we had to make a 400km journey from Windhoek to Otjikondo School. With no option of public transport, the only way we could do this journey was by taxi. These are not the type of taxis you find on the streets of England!! They are basically a person with a car who is going to a place and who wants to make a journey cheaper so they take paying passangers.
We soon found our way to Gilly and Reiner Stommels house (the owners of the school). On arrival we also met Una (an irish nurse who has been working at the school for nearly 3 years). I was amazed and so thankful for the warm welcome we recieved.
Just to set the scene Otjiokondo is on one stright road joining Otjo and Kamamjab. It is about 80km from both these towns and apart from Othjikondo there is nothing more than a handful of farms along this road.
We were shown to our room in the gap flat and then the fun began!! We first popped up to join the end of the weekly prefects meeting to be introduced. Then we were onto the front of Gillys quadbike and taken for a grand tour of the school site. This also gave us a chance to meet Charlotte (Hazels Sponsor child). Also this evening we got a chance to meet the Gaps working at Otjikondo school at the moment and joined the Otjikondo Ladies choir. Anybody who knows how tone death I can be sometimes will apprecient that my efforts weren't neccessarily great.
We were up early this morning in time for the 6:50am school assembly. This was a gr eat opportunity to be introduced to the head teacher of the school and properly introduced to the pupils. After a quick breakfast we were straight on with our first task, sorting out the birthday cupboard. This is a cupboard with all the donations of clothes the school recieves. Once a year on a childs birthday, the child is allow to choose three items from the cupboard. Once this job was completed by the afternoon we were on to our next task creating and sorting any original Health Cards for the children of St. Micheals School (another school that Gilly and Reiner look after). But pretty soon we were disturbed by Sara (a teacher at the school) who told us that they had caught a Leopard in a trap on one of the farms Gilly and Reiners son Paul manages.
This morning we went with Gilly and Una to visit St. Micheals because they had to go there for a meeting. Whilst they we in the meeting we got an opportunity to explore the school. This school has more children than Otjikondo. St Micheals has about 400 children and Otjikondo has about 400. We got a chance to see inside one of the hostels, in the health centre and inside the church. The school was not quite as nice as Otjikondo but from what Una described to us it has greatly improved since Gilly and Reiner have taken over. In the land around the school they have a Zonkey (a donkey mated with a Zebra) but sadly we didn't spot it.
Tonight we managed to scare ourselves silly before going to sleep because we could hear something, it sounded it was possibly in the corridor outside our room. I thought it might be a deadly snake but there wasn't anything to be found (the noise is explained later in our stay at Otjikondo!!).
Today we got the Health Cards finished and moved on the repairing hymn books. We had a wonderful surprise today. Una had gone to Otjo and we had asked her to bring back some bread, cheese, eggs and milk. But she actually brought us 3 types of cheese, mangos, grapes, apples, fruit yogurts and pizza. We were going to have a feast the next few days!!
Today the children left for a long weekend at home because it is independence day on Tuesday. It was really strange to see some of the children leaving on donkey carts. Before the children left we watched them do a Independence day celebration presentation, this was really good with lots of singing and dancing. We tried to keep out of way this morning as the school was hectic enough without us making it worse. So firstly we decided to defrost the freezer in the Gap Flat. First we hacked at it with blunt knives and then we got my mums travel hair drier on the job...mum will be pleased I've put it to some use!
This evening we had a power cut (memories of Cape Town!!). So out came our very expensive head torches. Yet again was pleased to use them because some how I got caught in the moment on our Gap Safety course and parted with more than 20 pounds for the torch. For worry of running our head torches out we went in search of candles, we searched the whole flat including the store cupboard only to realise we had been sat in the dark around a table with a bowl of 8 tea light candles in for the past hour. I think the sun is getting to our heads!!
Today we tackled more hymn books and started designing a thank you folder for a company in Ediburgh that has made a recent donation to the school. In the late afternoon we went for a farm drive with Una, Gilly and Reiner. We stood on the back of the truck, hair blowing in the wind, taking in the beautiful scenery and keeping our eyes peeled for animals. We saw Gemsbok, Warthog and Steinbok. It was a perfect couple hours. We then made our way across the farms to a farm house called Oenitzaub. Reiner has turned this farm house into a heritage museum. It is amazing it is full of objects Reiner has obtained and things that the children of Otjikondo have found.
Unfortunetly just as we pulled up at the house Laura managed to get cut on her nose by a thorn tree we parked under. So we made a quick trip back to Otjikondo so that Una could put steri-strips on it. We have made plans to tell the kids that Laura was defending the school from a wild beast and its claw cut her nose. Im not sure they will believe us though?!
Once back at Oenitzaub Reiner had the BBQ going and we all settled around the fire in wait of the feast. It was an amazing night. The sky was perfectly clear, more clear rthan I have ever seen it in my life, we had no rain all evening but at one point we could see lightening in three different directions!!
Today we started on producing thankyou folders for the people who have made donations towards the new health center. This afternoon Una took us to Charon to another of the farm houses of a farm belonging to the Stommels. This is the house where Gilly and Reiner brought up their children. Una brought a picnic with her, we had fizzy pop, chrisps, smarties and peanuts- yummy!! Tonight had the most amazing sunset i have ever seen. It created a pick haze over everything, it was incredible.
Today we went with Una to otjo because Una had to pick up a few things for school. this gave us a good chance to buy postcards, a bit more food and check our emails. We were meant to go to Gillys for lunch today but because we were running late we had lunch with Una at the Bakery in Otjo and picked up take away pizzas to have with Gilly and Reiner tonight.
Back at Otjikondo we started on two big banners for the Otjikondo 15th Anniversary in April and started drawing the outlines of smaller banners for the children to paint.
Another power cut this evening but luckily the power was back on just in time to warm up the pizzas for this evening. The slightly squashed pizzas went down a treat. Especially followed by slightly melted cake, that had also made the 80km journey back from Otjo with us.
Today we were up early working so that we could justify goign for another farm drive with Gilly and reiner at 10am. There was a sighting of an elephant on a nearby farm yesterday so we were on the look out but sadly we didn't come across it. Maybe it might wander by the gap flat soon?! We had lovely cold pizza with us to snack on - yum yum!
In the evening me and Laura put our continually improving cooking skills to the test and produced a crackingly good curry. Well done us!!
This morning I drew out some signs Reiner wanted us to do and then we went back towards Otjo to see a Cattle Auction. Even though we couldn't undersatand what the auctioneer was saying it was amazing how fast he was speaking. Reiner sold 50 cows for a good price so he says he is coming to Hong kong with us!!
I got a spider bite just after the auction, luckily not a dangerous one. Becuase i am such a stresshead I was then worried that I might have got HIV from the spider. Laura found this hilarious. She managed to calm me down by explaining to me using her biological expertise.
In the afternoon we helped to children paint the small banners for the 15th Anniversary Celebrations. Then we had a go in the Gap Flat kitchen to create Flapjack. I'm not sure where you would describe what we produced as flapjack. It tasted more like toffee!!
Today we managed to finish off a few of the on going tasks we had been doing. So we felt quite pleased with ourselves! Then Gilly asked us to created a folder entitled "Follwing in Hazels Footprints". This would be a folder for any of hazels friend that visit Otjikondo to record their experiences in it. So this occupied us for a few hours.
Spider bite update: If you were worried my leg hasn't droppped off yet!!
Nothing could have prepared me for this morning...
I thought I would be super organised and start on my packing as we have to leave very early tommorrow. Before repacking I needed to empty what was left in the bottom of my bag. I pulled out a small bag that I had been using to keep my sarong and trousers in. to my surprise a mouse jumped out! I screamed just as Laura walked into the room. It was then a mad rush to throw my clothes from the floor to my bed as the mouse ran around madly. It found a safe place in my walking boot. It held on for dear life but eventually Laura managed to bravely get it out. I then began emptying the little bag to see what damage it had done. As I pulled out my sarong to my horror 7 or 8 baby mice fell out. As you can imagine this was followed by a lot of screaming!!! At least it explains the noises we've been hearing in the night.
The rest of today was not very productive. My excuse is that i was suffering from shock!! But we did manage to make jam tarts (Marc, I thought you would be proud!!)
In the evening we headed to Oenitzaub again for another braai (BBQ). We went with Gilly, Reiner, Paul, Sara and the gaps. This was a really nice evening.
Once back at the gap flat there was another surprise in store for us. Just as we were heading to bed we found the mouse had returned. It was sat in out corridor, as we watched it, it slipped under the door into our room. I couldn't quite belive our eyes. As it was so late there was no one around to help so we did the only thing we could think of and moved our matresses and sleeping bags in to the pastoral room (the room they take comfirmation classes in). I slept on a table, Laura slept on two benches pushed together and we put towels along the door edges because there were no snake guards. This was not the most comfortable nights sleep I have ever had!!
We said our good byes at 7am to Gilly and Reiner. Then Una drove us to Otjowarango. This is where we caught a taxi with another man from the school and his baby to Windhoek. The baby was adorable and kept us amused on our long journey back to Windhoek. We eventually arrived back at Camileon hostel in Windhoek. So far no more sightings of the mouse!!