alternative tourism in the North

Rain? I’ve complained a lot about it. Last weekend we’ve discovered the other side of the coin with an activity of which I would have never thought about it before: canoeing on the Oshanas next to Oshakati. Patrick let his connections in the water purification business play and managed to borrow two two-seater canoes from a friend. Our original idea was to have a small ‘test drive’ in the morning to see how we would manage before we would do the real thing on one of the bigger Oshanas in the North-West fed from the Angolan creeks. At the end we did 10km (bee-line). Despite the low water depth (20-70cm) it worked out quite well. Only the stretches with grass and ‘sand banks’ had been a tough one for boat Nr. 2 with Lindsey and myself as we didn’t want to get out of the canoe to pull it (bilharziosis?).

MCA site inspections in Omusati and Oshana

Almost the whole of last week I had been out of the office doing site inspections at 13 schools in the Omusati and Oshana region which will receive new computer laboratories funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) soon. Two technicians from the head office, a technical administrator from the company who will supply the equipment and I had a look at the conditions at every school site which buildings had been recently constructed or renovated. Due to the high water level getting to the school sites had been everything but easy and a lot of bush driving was needed which took its price. The deployment of the equipment will start next month – if the water situation allows it.

Calm before the storm?

Around 70 of our 284 schools are closed since last week due to the impact of the rain the Omusati Region (west of Ogongo) received so far. The main reason for the closing is not that the school premises are flooded. The problem is that the schools are hard to reach for the learners which often have to walk huge distances. The government is not concerned about wet shoes. Learners had been drowned on the way to the schools during previous floods.
For the last couple of days the weather has changed: non-stop sun shine and rising temperatures have brought down the water level noticeable. However rainy season is not yet over. Locals say it will most likely start fiercely to rain again next month. Even by this time the biggest threat for the North is still to come: the torrent of water coming from the Angolan rivers. Already now the basin at the Ruacana dam is filled quite well.

Home! Sweet Home! – Outapi

Wesrand farm capmping, ~15km south-west of Otjiwarongo (C38 to Outjo, C33 to Omaruru)Back in the country since the 12th. After taking care of my Hilux (what else) I made it finally out of über-boring Windhoek the next day. C35 between Kamanjab and RuacanaThe fastest way up to the North is the B1. As have seen that route by now too many times and it is always packed I decided to take a detour West via Outjo, Kamanjab – a small side trip off road – and Ruacana. Biggest surprise ‘home’ at my house in Anamulenge: everything still there where it should have been. This was everything but sure. School holidays, the house ‘in the wild’ and just a few people around in Anamulenge. Lucky me.

holiday stories: where are the donkeys?

img00011-20120103-1225I almost got stuck with a damaged wheel bearing on my way from Outapi to the airport in Windhoek somewhere between which would have left me with the choice of missing the plane the next morning or increased chances of having my Hilux exported to Angola. Luckily I made it and the Toyota is (hopefully) at a safe place.
Europe. Oh, boy. A firework for all your senses after a year in Ovamboland – and the compared to Munich or Zurich provincial Windhoek.
One thing I was looking for: train rides, no kidding. First the ICE in Germany. Right now travelling from Basel to Paris with the TGV. Walking around, reading, chatting with strangers and posting a blog entry – at a speed of 250km/h – and the only danger comes from coffee you might spill over yourself.

lunch break stories: how advertising should always be

Looks like a marketing campaign. But it's not. Omusati Regional Council end of year function after-after party, OutapiMale 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 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:-).

Anamulenge ‘zoo’: reptile section

'kitchen view', Anamulenge'take-out-the-garbage-view', AnamulengeUsually it’s Ethosa for the bigger animals apart from donkey, cattle and goat. For reptiles it seems I am living in a pretty good spot. At least two geckos are part of the house (cleaning) inventory for quite a while. Outside after the rain the small guys definitely have taken over. Unfortunately the same goes for their bigger, legless counterparts. Fortunately they are camera-shy and gone a few seconds after you have encountered them.

lunch break stories: the swimming pool is back again

time to make the rubber boat ready again, Directorate of Education Regional Office, OutapiDuring 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.