It is not a secret that traveling on African roads is more dangerous than in the Western world. Tough very well developed Namibia does not make an exception when it comes to this. And sometimes you see something dreadful coming, try to do something about it – and fail.
When coming back from a meeting in Windhoek Friday night, 20th April, we were passing Oshikuku: in a slight turn, at dark – and only a tiny sign next to it – we saw the newly installed two speed bumps a second before I hit it with more than the allowed 60km/h. Luckily we were driving our rugged Nissan GRN buggy and not one of our fragile Renault sedans. It was everything but enjoyable. The following Monday morning (23th April) I sent an official letter of complain to the Oshikuku Town Council about how grossly negligent the missing signalization is. On top of it I gave a copy of the letter to traffic control officers at our police station. Even some of their officers drove over the speed bump and complaint by that time.
The following Friday evening (27th April) a family drove over the speed bump. Their vehicle lost control, turned over and an eleven year old girl was thrown out of it and died at the scene. Helplessness. I would be surprised if anything has changed when I am heading back to the North tomorrow.
The Namibian: Speed-humps at Oshikuku a danger to motorists
Since his mother Lorie died at the age of ten (most likely a record for the North!) I’ve become the main parent for two and a half year old Ellie. Not an easy job. It is not a secret that pet animals outside the Western world are treated differently. Most people at Anamulenge love the hairy guy with his friendly character. Trouble is that he sometimes leaves the premises. Most villagers consider him as he threat for their goats. Two weeks ago he came back with an leg injury and stopped eating. The first anti-inflammatory shots were difficult to give: chasing, talking, petting and poking Ellie. The last two we had to do it the hard way by forcing the poor guy down as he developed a good flair for the shot hidden in the jacket.
At cozy home in Anamulenge with (almost) all goodies (stove, fridge, AC, Internet) I sometimes miss the fact that the Omusati region is quite rural. Besides an army of ants doing regular night marches through the house (almost forgot the tough cockroaches at the old NHE place) I’ve been lucky so far. Three weeks ago I discovered a colony of termites behind the back of the kitchen cupboard – or what was left from it.
I’ve mentioned it several times: the YAP Gym in Ongwediva. The place to be every Saturday afternoon and also often during the week on the way back to Outapi from duties in the Oshakati area. Although there is a nice fitness section most customers go for the weight training. In case I have to move again I know exactly who to ask for help by now.
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Male chauvinism might could come trough at first sight. I refer Outapi as the ‘place to work’. Some local businessman is obviously ahead of times and refers to it already as the famous ‘place to be’ on shirts he is selling obviously quite well in town. Literally, on top of this slogan he put outapi.com on the shirt. Apparently not knowing what the whole term stands for. Otherwise he would have noticed that the domain is pointing to the very same blog you’re reading now:-).
Heavy rain without break since yesterday evening. The surroundings of Outapi look already like it was after weeks of constant rain during the ‘main’ flooding seasons eight months ago. Lets hope the forecast is right and it will stop by the end of the week.
During the last two nights Outapi received quite some heavy showers. I’ve been talking to people and everyone says that it is quite unusual to have such intense rain during the ‘small rainy’ season. Hopefully the thing stops soon otherwise we will have a tough next year: as mentioned in one of the previous posts many Oshanas are still filled with water which means that the capacity of the terrain to absorb new water is still limited. The same goes for the drainage system that had been installed last year at our parking space outside the office: basically not working at all as the picture shows.
…you don’t expect both of them. Last week the North received some heavy rain and a sharp drop of the temperature after months of drought and heat. Some say that this is already the beginning of the ‘small’ rainy season which usually starts by the end of November. Although happy for the clean, cool air and a whole day without sun it brings back flooding memories from this years rainy season – you still find Oshanas filled with water which is exceptional at this time of the year.
The other surprise came in shape of an Siemens ISDN handset with a working display to our office. Thanks to a new PBX which made one of the few ISDN phones at the reception redundant.
Happy like Xmas: as it is NOT common for a caller within the government to tell the name when calling I always had to play a ‘guess game’. Unfortunately our Director and her Deputy had also been in – due to that I had them on the line several times without realizing it, ouch.
The ‘famous’ Ombalantu (old name for Outapi) Baobab tree is just 100m from our office premises away (should cut the barbed wire fence some day, as you have to take a kilometer detour to get there). Usually I grab some lunch at GOMA food service and have a siesta under the tree on my camping mattress or in the car. From today I will stick to the car, well…all right I better walk. Gebhard who is running the site told me that a Canadian couple had been mugged today at 6.a.m. Someone climbed over the wall and took their bags out of the tent when they went to the showers.
Although electronic payment facilities can be found in every corner of the country the use of a ATM is still a bit thrilling as chances are that the money or the card (or both) is not coming out due to poor maintenance and old machines: last time when a Bank Windhoek ATM in Oshakati kept my banking card it took almost two hours to get it back.
At the two big supermarket chains Shoprite and SPAR I usually pay with my Swiss credit card. Here it is the staff that makes things exciting: at Shoprite I regularly have to show the personnel how the operate the POS cradle with a foreign card. At SPAR I’ve taken the advise to keep your card in view all the time literally: self checkout. As the person who can operate the dedicated terminal is usually not around I’ve started to make the transaction on my own and after it hand over the receipt to the till girl.