At the end of term, a dedicated group of pupils from Year 11 and College set off on an extraordinary journey to Namibia. Leaving behind their familiar classrooms and comfort zones, these compassionate young minds embarked on a volunteering mission in the heart of southern Africa.
Driven by a desire to make a positive impact on the lives of others, the students have immersed themselves in local communities, and contributed to meaningful initiatives. The display of camaraderie, and cultural exchange is sure to leave an indelible mark on the hearts of both the volunteers and the people they have met in Namibia.
Mr Waddington, Miss Mumby and the girls have been keeping in touch with us when Wi-Fi allowed to update us on their work at the Project School.
Project Day 1: Hello! The group has safely arrived at the Project School (Otjohorongo Primary School) and met with some key members of the local community. Following this we set up camp and did our first evening of camp cooking. Later, we explored the boarding house and classrooms and begun to discuss ideas for the project.
Project Day 2: The girls woke up early this morning and prepared their breakfast. They then set about working alongside the local community to tidy and prepare their classrooms for renovation. Working in teams the girls sanded the walls, mixed filler to repair any cracks or imperfections and put a base coat of paint on every single wall. They worked tremendously hard for a number of hours and successfully completed 7 rooms across the day. An amazing achievement!
Project Day 3: After a long day of preparation work yesterday, the girls started on implementing their own mural designs. In each classroom there will be a mural and supportive teaching aids. In some of the classrooms these need to include instructional aids in two languages – English and Otjiherero, the local language. The girls have enjoyed brushing up their language skills!
This afternoon, members of the local community challenged the Mount girls to a netball match. The sportsmanship and friendly competition drew a large audience of locals.
Project Day 4: Refreshed from a good night’s sleep today we continued with our classroom murals- they are really taking shape! We are redesigning a number of rooms including; The girls’ boarding hostel, the nursery classroom, the Local Language/Agriculture classroom, the Geography & English classroom and the Science & Maths classroom
This afternoon the girls were tasked with running activities for some of the younger children of the community. As part of this, some of the girls had designed a community tree in one of the classrooms, inviting the children to add their own handprints. The girls also led several games and sports activities, including introducing ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ to the children. The girls and children bonded over a wonderful afternoon of activities. The girls ended their day cooking by headtorch and s’mores over the campfire.
Project Day 5: Alarm clocks were set extra early this morning as the girls aimed to finish all the painting required in the classrooms. Most of the rooms are now adorned with a mural and additional learning materials appropriate to the classroom. We are looking forward to showing the finished rooms to the school’s Headmaster as a member of the Education Department tomorrow.
This afternoon, we welcomed some of the older children to the school to take part in a cultural exchange. This led to a competitive game of Danish Longball, with the girls giving their all in the afternoon sun. The community also introduced the girls to the local version of dodgeball, in which there is only one ball, and the last player standing on the losing team is required to fill an entire bucket with sand, whilst still dodging the ball, to try and bring their teammates back into the game. This game looks easier than it is!
Project Day 6: This morning, we have been tidying each of the classrooms and returning all the desks and chairs to their rightful places. The girls have achieved an outstanding amount this week. The outside of three buildings have been repainted, they have redecorated the inside of four classrooms, two dormitory bedrooms and a corridor using their own designs, initiative and skill with sanding paper, filler and paint!
Otjohorongo Primary School’s Headmaster was delighted with the new rooms and thanked the girls for everything they had done since their arrival. He said he hopes that there will be a continued relationship between girls at The Mount and in Namibia for many years to come.
“We will always be thankful for having a volunteering team like The Mount School York! Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and genuine interest and dedication to assisting us in everything we do. You have proven your time and talents are both priceless. ‘Life is a journey, now a destination’ ”
At lunchtime, the girls were treated to lunch from the local restaurant of sausages, chips and some cold refreshing drinks. Following this, Miss Mumby presented the Headmaster with the sports equipment, blankets and other equipment kindly made and donated by the Mount School community. Money raised by events such as the bake sale at Foundation Day also allowed the girls to contribute a range of kitchen equipment to the school, including bowls, spoons, and mugs helping to improve the daily life of all the pupils at the school.
Later that afternoon, members of the community gave the girls a guided tour of the village, where they learned more about the daily lives of the people who live there, as well as gaining an insight into daily life as well as some of the village’s history.
Project Day 7: The girls got up early to pack up their camp. Emotional goodbyes were had with the school and the community, before we set off for the long drive north to Etosha National Park.
Check back soon to read more about the next stage of The Mount’s Namibian adventure!