Social Work Study Tour to Namibia

The University of Minnesota School of Social Work is studying in Namibia during May 2010.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our airplane travels and first impressions

Our trip to Namibia went off with only a few hitches, and we were mostly excited about our upcoming trip on the flight. The minor hitches involved spending over an hour checking our bags in MSP, as first they were checked only to South Africa, and then some were inadvertently checked to a small commuter airport in Namibia. Luckily, we caught this in time, and all of our bags left Minneapolis in time. Our trip to Johannesburg was 14 1/2 hours long, and I was quite surprised when following the map on board that we were not stopping in Dakar as told by our travel agent, but actually had a through flight! We had a close call in Johannesburg, where the check-in line was so slow that 7 of our group had to literally run through the airport to make the plane (Nancy J in the lead), while the others were trying to hold it. We were relieved when we were all on the plane in time, and then there was an announcement that the plane would be delayed because the live chicks would have to be moved to the warm cargo hold. So maybe we really weren't in so much trouble. We finally arrived in Namibia, only to find that 5 people's luggage was left in Johannesburg. We hope the rest of the bags will arrive today.

One of our leaders is the wonderful Ndii Kalomo, a doctoral student at the School of Social Work who is on leave in Minnesota from her position as a lecturer of social work at the University of Namibia. After finally arriving in Windhoek, we were greeted by Ndii's sister- and brother-in-law, who arranged for various family members to meet us at the airport and drive us and our 30 large pieces of luggage with us to Puccini House! (Yes, we did pack lightly, but brought with us 11 extra bags full of books to bring to children at a Namibian NGO).

Puccini House is a little oasis just a few blocks from downtown Windhoek. Schalk, the manager, assigned us to our rooms and showed us around. The "House" is actually a series of buildings set around a large open courtyard, with a small pool and various places to sit and relax. We did immediately for the honor bar where we had some cool drinks and chips to relax. The beds felt amazingly comfortable and I think most everyone feel right to sleep. The birds woke some of us up early, and the fresh brewed coffee is smelling excellent right now.

We have a big day ahead today, visiting the Women's Action for Development NGO and several Ministries!


  1. Hello, all! Glad that you and (most of) your bags arrived safely and look forward to reading about your adventures. Liz, be sure the Fulbright folks know about this program, which epitomizes the ongoing exchange impact they want their sponsorship to engender. Best wishes for healthy and happy days in Namibia, Amy Levine

  2. Only 5 bags missing in Jo-Berg? Not bad!

  3. We received 4 of them today. Poor Anna is still without her suitcase!

  4. Glad you made it safely. Olivia and Ruby set up a stand to sell their hand-made fern fans, rocks and popsicles. They cleared $3.50 before store closing. Seven year-old entrepreneurs. :-)