Tag Archives: Namibia

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

Greetings from Namibia!

Land of the brave!

That’s the name of the National Anthem of one relatively young country located in Southern Africa called Namibia. It is also how Namibian people describe themselves. It is a land of many different ethnic groups living together nowadays in peace.

P1050790

Going on exchange to Namibia was an easy decision after all. I didn’t know a lot about the country before I came here, so the decision was spontaneous. I only knew its location, language and a little bit of its geography. Like the photo shows, the whole land is basically a desert. Very few people live there and big cities are not to be found. However, the few people here are very friendly and warm. I never felt as if I wasn’t welcome.

Getting bored here is not an option. Even though it might sound like a place with not much to do, it is not the case. National parks with all the animals that you could wish to see, canyons, waterfalls, mountains and coast towns provide numbers of different kind of activities –  just to mention a few. Local people love to take you to their homes and introduce you to their way of life, and it is always easy to get to know these laid back Africans.

P1050157

The daily life is actually very similar to ours. People go to work, study and in the evening they do sports and maybe have some drinks at local bars. Or at least that’s the case in big towns. In the countryside you can find what we Finns usually think of as Africa, small villages with many various tribes, people hunting, clay huts and camp fires. Notable is that there is a big number of bars in small towns, with a lovely atmosphere.

Studying in Africa isn’t that different either. At least not at the universities. I got the opportunity to study at the Polytechnic of Namibia with approximately 12 000 other students. The classes resemble ours very closely. So called “African time” doesn’t exist that strongly there, some of the lecturers are even very strict with the timetables. Topics and the learning plans are just like the Finnish ones, and the premises are also fine. Sometimes projects with local people are a bit challenging due to the laid back attitude of the locals.

Poly

(Source, http://intra-acp.polytechnic.edu.na/)

After all, I couldn’t be happier with the choice of going on exchange to Africa. Awesome people, many other exchange students, a laid back atmosphere and the spectacular landscape of Africa have made my time here unique.

 

Africa bro!

Namibia, Africa!

P1470644

 

I’ve now spent almost four months on the African continent in Namibia and I have to say I really like it.

I stay at a student house with around 40 other people who are mainly from Namibia. There are also some students from different African countries like Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Malawi so it’s very easy to learn the African way of doing things.

The level of competitiveness and teaching at the Polytechnic of Namibia are very near to the standards I’ve gotten used to back home but my studies are not so hard that  they keep me from doing other things like travelling around the country which I’ve done a lot already.

The Namibian wildlife is totally amazing. Of course there are the also many beautiful places to visit too.

Like Sossusvlei…

P1460179

I hope I still get to experience loads of different stuff and take these awesome memories with me back home to Finland!