Doing it For the Kids

In addition to my dayjob as a rather bad IT Specialist with the Ministry of Health and my nightjob as unofficial Tafel lager taster and Shebeen reviewer I occasionally, usually by accident, end up involved on the periphery of some good works for the Children of Namibia.

Here are two examples of the aforementioned good works.

Cheshire Home, Katima Mulilo

The Leonard Cheshire Foundation is an international charity who support people with disabilities. Part of their work focuses on helping children with disabilities to access education.

In Namibia they have two Cheshire Homes where children live and are cared for so are able to access schooling that would be otherwise impossible for them to reach.

The Katima Mulilo home is run by a dedicated group of Polish nuns and caters to a large number of children with various disabilities as well as providing outreach services to the local community. VSO have a physiotherapist placed in the home who is a good friend of mine and provides rehabilitation services for the children and the surrounding community.

Last Easter I was in Katima Mulilo (it’s as far as you can go in Namibia being right at the end of the Caprivi strip after which you fall off into Zambia, Zimbabwe or Botswana). My main work in Katima was with the Ministry of Education (arranged by another VSO volunteer) and I went around prodding computers in school and trying to “share skills” with the local technician.

In addition though I spent some time at the Cheshire Home and helped them sort out and setup a computer lab with donated equipment. This involved testing it and then (as most of it worked but the operating system was banjacksed) showing some of the older kids how to install Windows and various cool bits of educational software. We then did a few nights of training/playing.

Cheshire Home Katima Mulilo Computer Lab

Computer Lab at Cheshire Home Katima Mulilo

Katima Mulilo Cheshire Home Computer Lab

Please note of course that I didn’t get the computers (they were already donated), prepare the room (already done), wire the sockets (done by a VSO NVP) or even rearrange the desks myself (done by the kids). I just plugged some stuff in and failed to rewrite an extension cord.

I also did a bit of fault-fixing on the staff computers which led to the bizarre experience of being in a deathly quiet convent trying not to swear at a particularly obstinate printer.

Mother Bear Khorixas

The Mother Bear Project is a US charity that aims to “provide comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of live in the form of a hand-knit or crocheted bear”.

The donation of the bears for the Sunrise Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) home in Khorixas was all arranged by my most excellent Peace Corps two-office-down buddy Anika.

As I was going to Khorixas to fail to fix some computers I acted as a driver for the trip. The rumour that I only got involved because I thought we were giving away live bears is false and I utterly refute it. Though that would be cool.

Sunrise is run as a Red Cross project and provides a lovely hostel and food for quite a number of children.

The kids were all over the moon with their bears, even the older ones who did their best to play it cool.

Anika’s account can be found here on her blog.

Mother Bear Donation at Sunrise OVC Project in Khorixas, Namibia

Mother Bear Donation to Sunrise Red Cross OVC Project in Khorixas, Namibia

Once again please note that I had nothing to do with the arrangement of this excellent donation. I just drove there, handed out a few bears, basked in the smiles of the children and then played catch with a few of them while the adults talked serious stuff.

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