Small Town News


ID chapter of Safari club reaches out to school in Otavi Namibia

The Aberdeen Times of Aberdeen, Idaho

- Advertisement -

This past August, the Idaho Chapter, with the help of Lori Thompson, reached out through the Safari Club International (SCI) Foundation's "Blue Bag" program to help the Johanniter Heim Khoaeb boarding school in the small town of Otavi Namibia.

SafariCare and the "Blue Bag" program is part of SCI Foundation Humanitarian Services program. Since 2005, program participants have reported taking more than 1,331 Blue Bags overseas. The bags are filled by SCI chapters or individual members with medical, educational, hygiene, relief supplies, clothing, and toys, which are then taken to remote areas of the world by hunters who have planned hunts in these regions.

Along with the SafariCare Blue Bags, which had been brought from Idaho, we provided a cash donation of $2000.00 USD which was raised by Lori Thompson and matched by the Idaho Chapter of Safari Club International and received by the school director, Marianne. The cash donation will be used to purchase additional recreational equipment, school supplies and shelving and storage cabinets in the facilities.

The director took Lori and Birgit Eggert (our Namibian host) around the school and Lori was able to meet many of the preschoolers and read stories to them.

This was one of Lori's highlights and most rewarding part of her trip to Namibia. The children seemed to love Lori, literally swarming over her when she was reading them stories.

Every student in attendance was able to pick an item out of the Blue Bags for the school and every student received their own personal toothbrush and pencils from the supplies donated. The volleyball set provided will be a new recreational opportunity at the school. Hugs went all around and the children said they were thankful for the toys and school supplies.

There were lessons learned in getting the Blue Bags to Namibia. SCI Foundation supplies a letter with each bag explaining that the "Blue Bags" are part of a humanitarian services program. Oftentimes, airlines will waive baggage fees for the bags. However, we did have a baggage fee for the SA Air commuter flight from Johannesburg, SA to Windhoek, NA. We were later told that if we had had our travel agent supply the letter ahead of time when booking the flights the baggage fee would have probably been waived. Upon entering Namibia we were able to clear Customs; however, we were also told that we should have 'preregistered' the humanitarian services school supplies before entering the country.

The St. John Home Khoaeb Otavi was built in 1987 by the initiative of a few farmers with the financial support of German foreign aid and Networkers for Humanity. The city of Otavi has approximately 7000 inhabitants and is located between Otjiwarongo and Etosha-Pfanne. The boarding school now serves up to 150 children of squatter camps or low income black farm workers from the surrounding area. In 2012, the St. John home Khoaeb also became affiliated with Hamburg steps for children, St. John's Pre Primary School (preschool). All the children sleep at the school and are not only given three meals a day, but are also helped with their homework. They go home only one weekend out of the month. The dormitory has four residential buildings, each with a tutor apartment.

The boys and girls are broken into different age groups according to the Namibian education system:

Girls: Preschool to Grade 7 (Elementary)

Boys: Preschool to Grade 7

Girls: Class 8 to class 12 (high school)

Boys: Class 8 to Class 12

The children, whose parents are 70% illiterate, leave home at age 7. The children usually have only mastered their mother tongue (Damara, Oshivambo, Kavango) and need to learn how to handle a completely foreign environment. The school's goal is to teach Afrikaans and English. Another objective is to teach these children from pre-school through twelfth grade in hopes of allowing the children to start a better future and to lead them to a successful education.

Copyright 2015 The Aberdeen Times, Aberdeen, Idaho. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: January 14, 2015

More from The Aberdeen Times