Social Work Study Tour to Namibia

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

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Final Thoughts

I said good-bye to most of the group yesterday morning as they left for the airport for their long journey home (I stayed on a bit longer to quickly meet with some Namibian friends). I had dreamt about the possibilities of taking a group of MSW students to Namibia since shortly after I arrived in 2007 to work at UNAM for my sabbatical year. During the planning process of the trip, when Traci, Ndii and I were very much bogged down with the logistical details, I wondered if this trip would actually be worth the effort. However, I can enthusiastically say now that the Minnesota Social Work Study Tour to Namibia far-exceeded the lofty expectations that I had back in 2007.

We managed to pack in SO much into such a short-time. We visited over 20 organizations working on social development issues in Namibia , met incredible people devoted to improving the world, such as Father Rick, Patricia, Christa, Moses and many others, and learned more about social development than we ever could have sitting in a classroom. We were fortunate to have people welcome us into their homes – in the informal settlements of Katutura, in a rural San village, in a nothern Ovambo homestead, in a flood relief site, in modern homes in Windhoek and Oshakati, and even in the maximum security ward of the Windhoek Central Prison. We also saw the stunning and varied Namibian landscape in our “shortcuts” on the gravel highways and trips through the sand dunes, and were able to see the prized Africa wildlife--even a leopard. We had quite a few “off the beaten path” experiences which really helped shape our understanding of Namibia, the land of contrasts. While our trip was full of learning, it was also full of fun and adventure. As I told the group on the last night, my favorite part of the trip was being able to show 19 more people the wonders of Namibia.

My fears of mishaps were not realized. I enjoyed every single one of the students, and am amazed that such a large group traveled so well together and had such overall harmony. I am sure there could not have been a better group ever (Full Flexibility points for all!).

I really look forward to our final meeting as a group, when students will do their final presentations and we all will get a chance to reminisce about our “trip of a lifetime”.

Thanks to all for following our Blog! The folks at the conference were stunned when I told them that a travel blog could get 3,400 hundred hits in two weeks (and I was too).


((nearing the end of June, there are now about 5,000 hits. Wow!))

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all these wonderful posts over the course of your trip. I really enjoyed being on the journey with you.