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Namibia

77 photos.

Greg and Emmanuel Edomwande, South Bend, Indiana, 1999 Greg and Emmanuel Edomwande
South Bend, Indiana, 1999
Emmanuel and I taught at Ponhofi Senior Secondary School in Namibia for three years and shared a teacher hostel for a year. Emmanuel came to the US in 1999 and visited me and my family for Christmas. He recently completed his PhD in entomology and is living in Texas.
Ponhofi students at farewell party, Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 Ponhofi students at farewell party
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
"teacher-student basketball game, Ponhofi Senior Secondary School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 teacher-student basketball game, Ponhofi Senior Secondary School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
This was my field of dreams. After three years of playing basketball on the unsurfaced, dusty netball court, with no nets or backboards and tiny rims, we finally found funding for a real basketball court. Playing in the teacher-student game at the end of the year was a dream come true. The girls picked up the game with amazing speed, probably because they could transfer the skills they knew from netball, a similar sport. The court was an expensive development project and hastened the inevitable Americanisation of the world, but it would be nice if every school in the North could have one. On the right is an enormous omukwiyu (wild fig) tree, good for shade and a popular hangout for kids and goats.
"staff, Ponhofi Senior Secondary School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 staff, Ponhofi Senior Secondary School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
Greg Vogl (me), physics and computer teacher, USA, Monika Katanga, secretary, Namibia, Tuyeni Ndaikile, Kwanyama teacher, Namibia, Martha (Katiti) Nhinda, Kwanyama teacher, Namibia, Irene Carolissen, English teacher, Namibia, Saima Amunyela, Kwanyama teacher, Namibia, Lydia (Ivawa) Munghadi, biology teacher, Namibia, Liam Garvey, mathematics teacher, Australia, Julie Murphy, accounting teacher, Scotland, Philip Shimhanda, natural economy teacher, Namibia, Emmanuel Edomwande (seated), biology teacher, Nigeria, Eric Kemanya, English teacher, Namibia, Mark Fleming, mathematics teacher, Scotland, Mary (Maria) Nashandi, business studies teacher, Namibia, Peter Maswahu, agriculture teacher, Namibia, Lucky (Nhlanhla) Lupahla, mathematics teacher, Zimbabwe, Michael Kavungo, Vice-Principal and English teacher, Namibia, Håkon Hermanstrand, English teacher, Norway
students in chemistry class, Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 students in chemistry class
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
"computer lab, Ponhofi school", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 computer lab, Ponhofi school
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
"House 19, Ponhofi School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 House 19, Ponhofi School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
I lived in this house with a Nigerian entomologist. There were plenty of insects for him to study.
"House 16, Ponhofi School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 House 16, Ponhofi School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
I stayed in this house in late 1995 with Liam Garvey from Australia.
"Red, white and blue tin house", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 Red, white and blue tin house
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
I passed this abandoned shack in the middle of an empty lot whenever going into town. I took this photo the morning I left Ohangwena. Elago Elago writes: As it's painted in DTA colours, I suspect it's an abandoned DTA cardboard type pre-fabricated office. The DTA had quite many of those (and mobile ones) in the 4 northern regions and after losing quite a lot of support, they simply abandoned what they couldn't take along.
colorful rock cliff, Waterberg National Park, Namibia, 1997 colorful rock cliff
Waterberg National Park, Namibia, 1997
termite mound, Waterberg National Park, Namibia, 1997 termite mound
Waterberg National Park, Namibia, 1997
overlook of Waterberg Plateau, Waterberg National Park, Namibia, 1997 overlook of Waterberg Plateau
Waterberg National Park, Namibia, 1997
"road, Etosha National Park", Okaukuejo, Namibia, 1997 road, Etosha National Park
Okaukuejo, Namibia, 1997
A dirt road, a tree, some bushes, some rainclouds; an ordinary African scene that is indescribably compelling.
"two zebra, Etosha National Park", Okaukuejo, Namibia, 1997 two zebra, Etosha National Park
Okaukuejo, Namibia, 1997
Etosha is the focal point of Namibia for most tourists. It contains an enormous number and variety of animals, but the subtle beauty of the plants and setting might be overlooked.
"upside down trees, Etosha National Park", Okaukuejo, Namibia, 1997 upside down trees, Etosha National Park
Okaukuejo, Namibia, 1997
San legends say that when God threw these trees in anger, they landed upside down, with the roots in the air. These trees have been damaged by elephants, and many are now protected by a fence.
"stub of a tree, Etosha National Park", Halali, Namibia, 1997 stub of a tree, Etosha National Park
Halali, Namibia, 1997
Etosha contains a variety of strangely shaped trees such as this.
"tree and Okaukuejo tower, Etosha National Park", Okaukuejo, Namibia, 1997 tree and Okaukuejo tower, Etosha National Park
Okaukuejo, Namibia, 1997
This type of tree (camelthorn? acacia?) is very common throughout the Namibian savanna.
Organ Pipes, Burnt Mountain, Namibia, 1997 Organ Pipes
Burnt Mountain, Namibia, 1997
tree and valley, Brandberg, Namibia, 1997 tree and valley
Brandberg, Namibia, 1997
This scene reminds me of the Biblical story of Moses and the Burning Bush. Brandberg means Fire Mountain; from a distance the mountain appears red as if it were on fire. The Brandberg is the tallest mountain in Namibia. The summit is less than 3000 metres, but it is a challenge to climb because of the heat and amount of drinking water you must carry.
donkey cart, Spitzkoppe, Namibia, 1997 donkey cart
Spitzkoppe, Namibia, 1997
Donkey carts are still used in rural areas of Namibia and sometimes even in larger villages like Oshakati.
sociable weaver nest, Uis Myn, Namibia, 1997 sociable weaver nest
Uis Myn, Namibia, 1997
These enormous nests can be seen in trees throughout Namibia. They can be inhabited by hundreds of little birds, and the nests can take over and destroy the whole tree.
Rock paintings, Brandberg, Namibia, 1997 Rock paintings
Brandberg, Namibia, 1997
melons, Sossusvlei, Namibia, 1997 melons
Sossusvlei, Namibia, 1997
Finding these melons in the middle of the desert was a delightful surprise. Desert melons are a popular source of food for the Nama people of the center and south.
Sossusvlei Pan, Sossusvlei, Namibia, 1997 Sossusvlei Pan
Sossusvlei, Namibia, 1997
The Sossusvlei pan is nestled among the world's tallest sand dunes in the southwest. It only fills with water for a few weeks about once every ten years; otherwise it is dry. For those few weeks the desert miraculously becomes green.
interior of Duwisib Castle, Maltahohe, Namibia, 1997 interior of Duwisib Castle
Maltahohe, Namibia, 1997
Duwisib Castle, Maltahohe, Namibia, 1997 Duwisib Castle
Maltahohe, Namibia, 1997
Duwisib Castle, Maltahohe, Namibia, 1997 Duwisib Castle
Maltahohe, Namibia, 1997
buildings encroached by sand, Kolmanskuppe, Namibia, 1997 buildings encroached by sand
Kolmanskuppe, Namibia, 1997
Görke Haus, Lüderitz, Namibia, 1997 Görke Haus
Lüderitz, Namibia, 1997
overlook, Fish River Canyon, Namibia, 1997 overlook
Fish River Canyon, Namibia, 1997
"aloe and quiver tree, Kokerboomwoud", Keetmanshoop, Namibia, 1997 aloe and quiver tree, Kokerboomwoud
Keetmanshoop, Namibia, 1997
Aloes are very common, especially in the South. There are hundreds of varieties.
"quiver tree, Kokerboomwoud", Keetmanshoop, Namibia, 1997 quiver tree, Kokerboomwoud
Keetmanshoop, Namibia, 1997
The Quiver Tree is so named because San (so-called Bushmen) hunters hollow out the branches to make quivers for storing their arrows. The trees do not quiver much in the wind.
Kaiserliches Bezirksamt, Swakopmund, Namibia, 1997 Kaiserliches Bezirksamt
Swakopmund, Namibia, 1997
Skeleton of a boat, Swakopmund, Namibia, 1997 Skeleton of a boat
Swakopmund, Namibia, 1997
Hohenzollern Building, Swakopmund, Namibia, 1997 Hohenzollern Building
Swakopmund, Namibia, 1997
Atlas supports the world on this 1906 hotel.
Woermannhaus, Swakopmund, Namibia, 1997 Woermannhaus
Swakopmund, Namibia, 1997
bicycle and mural, Swakopmund, Namibia, 1997 bicycle and mural
Swakopmund, Namibia, 1997
This bicycle nicely matches the mural behind it. Perhaps the artist is the bicyclist.
Mural, Windhoek, Namibia, 1997 Mural
Windhoek, Namibia, 1997
This mural shows themes of hope in the end of the 1980s war for independence and the new government.
Christus Kirche, Windhoek, Namibia, 1997 Christus Kirche
Windhoek, Namibia, 1997
Christus Kirche, Windhoek, Namibia, 1997 Christus Kirche
Windhoek, Namibia, 1997
This German Lutheran church is a landmark overlooking Windhoek.
Tintenpalast, Windhoek, Namibia, 1997 Tintenpalast
Windhoek, Namibia, 1997
This 'ink palace' is the Namibian house of parliament and opened in 1913.
Windhoek High School students lined up for assembly, Windhoek, Namibia, 1997 Windhoek High School students lined up for assembly
Windhoek, Namibia, 1997
Windhoek High School students were professionally dressed and neatly lined up for morning assembly.
Andrew Cooper on a dune, Swakopmund, Namibia, 1996 Andrew Cooper on a dune
Swakopmund, Namibia, 1996
Sand dunes, Swakopmund, Namibia, 1996 Sand dunes
Swakopmund, Namibia, 1996
Pink water near the salt works, Swakopmund, Namibia, 1996 Pink water near the salt works
Swakopmund, Namibia, 1996
women carrying bundles of thatch (grass), Oshikango, Namibia, 1996 women carrying bundles of thatch (grass)
Oshikango, Namibia, 1996
The Owambo people of the region have adopted western dress, influenced by missionaries who arrived about a century ago. Women in Namibia, as in other countries of Africa, do most of the physical labour on farms. In the background is the Oshikango border post. There is a large amount of trade near the Angolan border, especially since the end of the Angolan civil war in 1994. The women may have brought the thatch from Angola, which is less densely populated and less deforested. The thatch is sold at markets and used for roofing.
oshana, Engela, Namibia, 1996 oshana
Engela, Namibia, 1996
The northern part of Namibia is flat and becomes wetter as you go north and east. The rainy season lasts roughly from December to April, and oshanas (seasonal lakes) fill, flowing slowly southward from Angola toward the Etosha pan, where it provides water for the wildlife in Etosha National Park. The roads become muddy and difficult to navigate. Still, the rain is sporadic and unpredictable, and drought affects crops.
Jason Shutters in computer lab, Ondangwa, Namibia, 1996 Jason Shutters in computer lab
Ondangwa, Namibia, 1996
Ongwediva Teacher Training Centre, Ongwediva, Namibia, 1996 Ongwediva Teacher Training Centre
Ongwediva, Namibia, 1996
Greg Vogl, Windhoek, Namibia, 1995 Greg Vogl
Windhoek, Namibia, 1995
Me shortly after 'swearing in' as a US Peace Corps Volunteer.
child outside a tin house, Oniipa, Namibia, 1995 child outside a tin house
Oniipa, Namibia, 1995
Because of the recent population boom, deforestation has limited the amount of available wood (mostly from omusati/mopane trees) for fencing and housing. As a result, a more Western style of housing has been adopted: rectangular houses made of metal or concrete, with wire mesh for fencing. These houses are hotter and costlier, but they are more permanent, they save wood, and their modernity makes them a status symbol. A volunteer teacher I knew lived in a traditional compound in a hut with walls made of cement interspersed with hundreds of empty dumpies (beer bottles) to act as tiny windows of light. Another volunteer helped to stock a dumpie library with books. Tin buildings are very commonly seen on roadsides, often serving as bottle stores (bars).
"Class 11C, Ponhofi School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 Class 11C, Ponhofi School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
Most of the girls were in the required uniform most of the time, but the boys preferred to pretend to be rebels. In many schools, students cannot afford to buy a uniform, but at Ponhofi this was mostly a false excuse. The students were generally friendly, polite and well-behaved. They tried incredibly hard, despite their limited exposure to English, so although the teachers did not enforce discipline well, they usually did not have to. Most students came from rural farms, yet they hoped to get a job in a town or city, where the competition for white-collar jobs is stiff.
"100-yard dash on the football (soccer) field, Ponhofi School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 100-yard dash on the football (soccer) field, Ponhofi School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
Sport and recreation facilities are very limited in rural areas in the North. Sports shoes and uniforms are luxuries that few schools or students can afford. Also, it must be difficult to be an athlete considering the low amount of calories in the diet provided by the hostel cafeteria. Yet some of the boys appeared to have great potential. Sports for girls are not considered very important.
"staff, Ponhofi Senior Secondary School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 staff, Ponhofi Senior Secondary School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
The teachers and staff at Ponhofi were a great team and fun to work with. They were a culturally and linguistically diverse group. Ponhofi had more volunteers than most schools and was relatively overstaffed (average teacher class load was *only* 25 to 30 hours per week out of 40, and average class size was about 35). The cities and relatively nice schools like Ponhofi attract the best teachers and students, so there is a very unequal distribution of talent.
mural, Windhoek, Namibia, 1995 mural
Windhoek, Namibia, 1995
Murals are a popular form of art in urban Namibia and South Africa, especially around the time of independence and the end of Apartheid. This mural represents the diversity of Namibia's flora and fauna.
mine field, Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 mine field
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
I passed this mine field every time I walked from the dining hall to the post office. Large armored trucks would drive through the mine fields and set off mines around lunch time. The border between Namibia and Angola remains fairly heavily mined, and many people, especially children, continue to be killed or injured by mines long after the end of the war. Children think the mines are toys and pick them up. An education and de-mining campaign has helped somewhat, but it is much more expensive to de-mine than to mine. The US continues to be one of the few countries that refuses to sign the international treaty banning land mines.
souvenirs on Post Street Mall, Windhoek, Namibia, 1995 souvenirs on Post Street Mall
Windhoek, Namibia, 1995
Souvenirs for sale include baskets, wood bowls and animal carvings, necklaces, and drums, most of which are made in the North. Downtown in the capital city is very similar to a European city: modern, clean, and many rich people. When you go to the suburbs you see the poor people in small houses crammed into dusty lots. During the Apartheid era, non-whites were driven into the suburbs, and though the law has changed, the inequalities are slow to go away.
fence and shelter inside a traditional homestead, Oniipa, Namibia, 1995 fence and shelter inside a traditional homestead
Oniipa, Namibia, 1995
A traditional Owambo homestead was a large maze of wooden fences surrounding a group of round wood huts with thatched roofs and sand floors, each of which served a different purpose (bedrooms, grain storage, kitchen, social quarters, etc.) Wealthier farmers now own cars or bakkies (pickup trucks).
"my first house, Ponhofi School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 my first house, Ponhofi School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
I shared this house with Adams Kamulegeya, a Ugandan maths teacher I later met by chance in Mutukula in 2003, his Owambo wife Letu, their newborn baby, and some chickens (who had the biggest room). It was a modern concrete house with a metal roof, and electricity and running water (most of the time).
goat, Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 goat
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
This goat was slaughtered for a party held by a British volunteer. Goats and cows are a common source of meat in the North, and goat meat tastes good when properly seasoned and cooked.
monkey, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 1995 monkey
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 1995
beer-bottle library, Oshikango, Namibia, 1995 beer-bottle library
Oshikango, Namibia, 1995
"high jump, Ponhofi School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 high jump, Ponhofi School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
sycamore fig tree, Ondangwa, Namibia, 1995 sycamore fig tree
Ondangwa, Namibia, 1995
The north has some very large trees that provide shade even in the dry season. In the rainy season, this tree is surrounded by water.
Makalani palm tree, Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 Makalani palm tree
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
As you drive north towards Ondangwa, you are suddenly surprised by the appearance of these tall trees, which are an indicator of a relatively wet rainy season and of large underground water reserves. Ovambos use every part of the tree, which they call omulunga, e.g. the trunk for stools and cattle troughs, fronds for weaving baskets, eendunga (palm nut fruits) for food and oil, and sap for producing palm wine. Wood of other trees is used for housing, fencing, firewood, furniture, cups, bowls, buckets, fish traps, handles and weapons.
spiraling palm tree, Zanzibar, Tanzania, 1995 spiraling palm tree
Zanzibar, Tanzania, 1995
Compared with those in Namibia, the trunks of palm trees on Zanzibar island are very tall and thin. The wind may have caused this tree to grow in a corkscrew shape.
baobab tree, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 1995 baobab tree
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 1995
Baobab trees are common throughout Africa and can be found in the northern part of Namibia, where they are known as omukwa. They can live for hundreds of years. This one is very old and has a trunk of about 10 metres across. The San use many parts of these trees.
Peace Corps Namibia 7 Volunteers, Windhoek, Namibia, 1994 Peace Corps Namibia 7 Volunteers
Windhoek, Namibia, 1994
view of Auas Mountains from Harmony Centre, Windhoek, Namibia, 1994 view of Auas Mountains from Harmony Centre
Windhoek, Namibia, 1994
This photo was taken from my Peace Corps training site. It represents my first view of Namibia: hot, dry and dusty, short shrub-like trees with thorns and few leaves, savannah and mountains of the central region, and beautiful rainbows and sunsets. When we volunteers arrived in November it was said that we brought the rain. Rain is considered good weather. Windhoek, the capital city, is in a semi-desert region, and water shortages become a major problem during droughts. Water must be piped from dams and rivers as far as several hundred kilometres away to meet the growing water needs of the city.
rainbow at Harmony Centre, Windhoek, Namibia, 1994 rainbow at Harmony Centre
Windhoek, Namibia, 1994
"springbok, Harmony Centre", Windhoek, Namibia, 1994 springbok, Harmony Centre
Windhoek, Namibia, 1994