All posts by Elmer Halonen

Halo!

Coming for practical training to Namibian winter for three months was one of the most spontaneous, stupid and best things that I have done. I exchanged summer in Finland, a practical training with a salary and my friends, to an unknown environment and work.

A view over the city of Windhoek

I always wanted to go somewhere exotic for practical training, so I could expose myself to different opinions and culture. When I read an article of Namibia in Rakennuslehti, a Finnish magazine for construction engineers, I knew I should try to get in there. So I contacted the writer of the article.  She guided me to one Namibian engineer and after few emails there was no way out anymore. Arranging everything went fast and without trouble.

I came to Namibia in the beginning of May. The first two months of training went fast, everything was new and exciting. After two months the days have slowed down and certain routines and habits has taken place in the mind and life. Now when my training is soon over, work days have the same pattern, and I feel like I have received the cultural education I came here for.

Namibia is mostly desert and Windhoek is surrounded with mountains, which are great for hiking during weekends. The climate of Namibian Winter is very nice. Even though it is called winter the temperature during days is always above 20°c but in the nights it can go below 10°c. Windhoek has 3605 hours of sunshine in one year (Helsinki has 1858 hours) and after my arrival I have seen clouds five times. I have been lucky to visit some projects like Ai-Ais hot spring spa in Fish river Canyon. I also visited the coast and huge sand dunes in Walvis Bay.

Here is a fancy pic of me on the Dune 7, close to Walvis Bay

 

In Namibia you can hear many languages spoken around you. The official language is English but there is a great amount of national languages. They are Oshiwambo (the heading and greeting in the end), German, Afrikaans, Otjiherero, Khoekhoegowab, Rukwangali, Setswana and Silozi. What I heard most from the smaller languages were Oshiwambo and Afrikaans.

Katutura – “The place where people do not want to live” in Otjiherero

Night life in Windhoek is flourishing there huge amount bars or clubs in the city. There are modern shopping malls with Western brands, good cafes and restaurants. If you still end up hungry you can find locals selling fruits and fresh Braai (BBQ) meat and Biltong dried meat from countless places around the city, along roads and inside stores.  during my spare time I hang out with my boss’s son, he shows me the city of Windhoek, the good and bad in it.

The Grove Mall of Namibia- A big shopping center in Windhoek

My boss studied in Technical University of Tampere and many engineers have studied abroad in England, Russia or Cuba. In work this reflects as enthusiasm for engineering and long hardworking days in the office. In this company Africa time does not exist. Superiors are addressed as Sirs, Mrs’s or Miss’s and dress code is smart and casual. All these might sound strict for a Finn, but after you get used to it everything comes out naturally without thinking. My work is mostly done with a computer with modern engineering programs like AutoCAD, so the work itself is not so different than in Finland.

Likwata  nawa, take care!

Elmer Halonen