Field Notes From Namibia...
Selections from our Daily Journal
Arrival in Africa, 8/14/97
by Muriel Arroyo, U.S.
I still can't believe I am in Africa. The plane ride was my first experience in the air. On the first ride to New York I was sitting there waiting for the plane to take off and my heart was beating and excitement flowing through my body. When we took off it felt like a roller coaster. Looking over San Francisco I saw the city I grew up in and said goodbye. The morning fog looked gloomy but as we got higher the clouds almost looked like you could jump into them and float endlessly--fluffy white clouds of comfort. My journey has begun.
Arriving in Johannesburg I felt I was still in a California city despite the endless hours on a plane. I sat there on the bus looking at all the signs we passed and all the people. The thing that I was uncomfortable about was that the cars drove on the left side like in the movies in other countries. The people stared at us when we stopped. I would wave and they would look at me funny. Others would wave back hoping I would buy a newspaper. I showed one person that tried to sell me a paper an American dollar and he was puzzled. I never really thought about cities being in Africa. I always pictured the wildlife and untouched wilderness.
By Ghais Muhammad, U.S.
and Stephen Gaeseb, Namibia
Ghais- Today is our first day in Namibia and the first time I really feel like I am in Africa. We stopped in Johannesburg, South Africa last night, but it was just like San Francisco, besides the fact that they drive on the opposite side of the road. I wanted to experience Africa as I see on TV and Namibia is my first dose.
While driving from Windhoek to Otjiwarongo, I saw numerous wart hogs and hundreds of ant hills, up to 12 ft. high. They are built by termites. I also saw baboons and one of them was sitting on top of a pole. Once we got to Paresis School and met the Namibians, we played games to make everyone feel comfortable. Immediately, Dylan and I became friends with Stephen, one of the Namibian kids. After dinner we all went to bed. Carlo, another Namibian, told us stories about ghosts, and Dylan and I opened our last bag of beef jerky from home.
Stephen- Today I met some of the people from the States. They were very nice people, friendly and cool. They are a lot different from our kind of life. We had games together, a lot different games than I know. I really enjoyed our first night with them. I met two cool brothers, Ghais and Dylan. They had some kind of meat called "Jerky." Actually, everything was cool at the end of the day.
By Regine Guriras, Namibia
and Anna Novey, U.S.
This morning after breakfast, we loaded the bus and attempted to get through the gate of the Paresis School yard. Luckily (if you want to call it lucky) we only hit the gate once and were out. After spending what seemed like hours waiting for the shopping to be finished, we finally left Otjiwarongo for Etosha National Park. Although the bus ride was very, very, very long, it gave all of us a chance to talk and get to know each other better. The scenery was very pretty and we saw some baboons on the side of the road.
When we finally got to Etosha the first animal we saw was a giraffe, just a long neck and head sticking out above the trees. We went for a short game drive to a water hole. There we saw wildebeest, springbok, elephants, damara dik-dik, more giraffes and some bats. On our way back to the Education Center, a giraffe was crossing the road and we were able to get very close to it as we passed by. When we finally reached the cabins and unpacked our gear, we were very happy to have a big dinner (which was deliciously cooked by Patrick, Richardt, Anna, Nora, and Vanessa). At night we had a campfire and talked about the environment, and we also told each other how we became involved with this group. We enjoyed a nice cup of hot chocolate before going to bed. We all slept very well considering the sun didn't come blaring into our rooms at 5:00 in the morning as it had done at Paresis School.