Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Permaculture at CGE Namibia!

I recently voluntarily added a new item to my list of responsibilities.  When I was in the US this summer, I attended a Permaculture Design Course.  I was so inspired by the principles of permaculture, which aim to leave the world a better place than we found it, that I have started experimenting with permaculture at the CGE Namibia site.  I'm starting out small, trying to see what works in this urban desert environment.  Step by step, I plan to add more and more permaculture design features to our landscape.  So far, we have planted tomatoes, lettuce, passion fruit, lemon verbena, pomegranate, fig, mint, lemon grass and rosemary.  These are all surrounded by a mulch of locally available leaves, grass clippings, flower petals, etc (basically anything I could find).  The mulch helps to keep out unplanned plants, keeps water in the soil, keeps the soil cool and helps to fertilize the soil.

The pot standing on top of a white tube in the middle is our worm tower!  We throw our kitchen food scraps into the tower, where the worms eagerly devour it and spread the nutrients into the soil through holes in the tube which they can crawl in and out of. The pot is on top to keep out flies and other non-worm species. We also need to keep the worms moist so we pour some water into the tower regularly.  This also helps to keep water in the soil.  The worms also aerate and soften the soil as they crawl around and fertilize it.

Future plans include adding more worm towers (we produce a lot of food waste and the worms don't travel that far away from the tower, so we could certainly use more), using grey water from the laundry (when people use natural cleaning products) to water the plants, adding more plants, continuing to learn and add what works well to keep our little plot in harmony with nature's processes, absorbing greenhouse gases, processing our waste naturally, and producing usable resources (food!).

While I really don't have a lot of "free time" to spend in the garden during a work day, a 10 minute break now and again makes a big difference on our little garden, and makes a HUGE difference in my productivity level in the office the rest of the day.  I'll be sure to keep you updated as our dabbles in the world of permaculture expand and evolve over time!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Team Building

This afternoon, the staff and students spent a lovely day learning more about each other and preparing for the semester ahead. The day consisted of cycling through various activities that explored what identity consists of and the factors have influenced the creation of our identities. Areas such as race, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, and gender were explored in more detail with both staff and students sharing personal experiences and beliefs about each topic. The group also participated in numerous team building activities to get to know each other.

The day ended with everyone splitting into four groups for a hastag competition. Each group had to come up with a word or a short phrase represent our identity as the Fall 2014 group. The winning hashtag was #cgebabiesoflove. The group stated that the semester is a journey and that their journey is just beginning. They are babies now, but as the semester progresses they will graduate to #cgetoddlersoflove and so fourth.

At the end of the day, the group was ready to head back to the house and everyone felt as though the day was a success and they were grateful that our community got the opportunity to learn more about one another.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Students Have Arrived

Our new students for Fall 2014 arrived in Windhoek, Namibia on Wednesday afternoon.

The students arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 17 August, and spent ten days learning about the history of South Africa and their struggle for liberation. The students got the opportunity to talk to various organizations and hear from many different viewpoints. One of the highlights that many of the students mentioned was the opportunity to meet many influential speakers and be able to engage with them in a small group setting.  

The students were shocked to learn about the vast inequality that exists in South Africa. Many found it hard to believe that one of the poorest townships was in the same municipality as Sandton, one of the wealthiest areas in Johannesburg. Many of the students mentioned that reading about these inequalities in a textbook could never do the reality justice and they were very grateful to get the opportunity to see these inequalities first hand. 

The students also got to meet with members of the African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party of South Africa, and the Democratic Alliance (DA), the official opposition. The students got to hear each parties platform and where they would like to see the future of South Africa. 

Another highlight for many of our students was their home stay in Soweto over the weekend. Soweto stands for South West Townships and is an area made up of 34 townships and is a suburb of Johannesburg. Our students were split up into pairs and were placed with one of five families throughout Soweto. Some of our students got to attend a soccer match, go to church with their families, or just hear about daily life in Soweto. The students were all very grateful to get to spend time with families in Soweto and to look at the similarities and differences between Soweto and their communities in the United States. 

After finishing their time in South Africa, the students took a quick flight up to Windhoek and spent their first day meeting all the staff and getting a tour of the house. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Meet Chelsea Beyrand!

Hello everyone! My name is Chelsea Beyrand, and I am the newest International Resident Advisor (Intern) in Windhoek, Namibia. I arrived about two weeks ago and have been slowly learning my way around Windhoek and the Center. I am excited to learn about the history and cultures of Southern Africa and help guide ten incoming students through their semester abroad with the Center for Global Education (CGE).

I graduated from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts this past spring with a dual-degree in Human Development and Theology (focus: Islamic Studies and Social Justice) and a minor in Special Education. Throughout my college career I worked with the Boston College Campus School which is a school on the Boston College campus for students ages 3-21 with severe and/or multiple disabilities and complex health care needs. I volunteered in various capacities throughout my four years and was co-president of the organization my senior year. I also began working at the school my junior year.

My sophomore year of college, I travelled to the Dominican Republic to serve at Hogar Immauel, with ten other Boston College students. Hogar Immanuel is an orphanage for children with disabilities run through the Mustard Seed Communities. While in country, I also spent time at a nearby Haitian village learning about the vast inequality that existed within the country and the stigma of being a Haitian within the Dominican Republic. I led the trip my senior year in order to expose other Boston College students to the realities that exist within the Dominican Republic and to return to the children who changed my life.

My junior year, I spent a semester studying at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. I took classes in African history and learned about the challenges that the continent faces today and how colonialism still exists today in the form of foreign aid and development. While in South Africa, I served at an AIDS clinic in the township outside of Grahamstown, and worked closely with the staff on developing an outreach program to educate elementary school students about HIV and AIDS.

When I began to consider my post-graduation plans, I realized that working with university students had become something that I had become passionate about. I believe that university students are at a very unique time in their lives in regards to identity formation and questioning who they are. CGE’s commitment to experiential learning fosters an environment where classroom learning is met with real life experiences that lead to a personal connection and reflection of the topic. Students gain a much deeper and holistic understanding of their experience, which is something that will stay with them for a very long time. I believe that you never truly stop learning and I am excited to continue my journey learning about Southern Africa and social justice, while also guiding the students in their quest for understanding.

I am excited to draw upon my experience with leading two service organizations and my time in South Africa to foster cross-cultural understanding and dialogue. I look forward to working with the students to create a living and learning environment that focuses on listening to understand, questioning with compassion, and learning to promote social justice, equality, and kindness. I want to challenge the students to not only learn new information and ways of thinking, but to also rethink their way of life back home.

In addition, I will be working with the religious studies instructor to help explore the role of religion in Namibian history. I look forward to continuing my study of religion from my undergraduate studies and hope to contribute some of the knowledge I have learned from various courses and experiential learning opportunities that I have had.

During my summers, I am a health care staff at a summer camp for children and adults with disabilities. In my spare time I enjoy travelling, listening to music, reading, learning more about the world around me, and having quality conversations with friends new and old.

I am looking into various programs to eventually become a nurse practitioner focusing in forensic nursing, community health, or HIV/AIDS, or an occupational therapist working with children with low incidence disabilities.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Alumni Visit

The CGE Namibia staff were pleasantly surprised this morning with a visit from Tom Siburg, a student on the Nationbuilding, Globalization and Decolonizing the Mind program in the Fall 2008 semester.  We all have very fond memories of Tom as a student here and are excited to have him back in the country for a while! Tom is spending the summer months in Namibia doing an internship with the City of Windhoek - Community Development Department.  Tom is studying at the University of Minnesota towards a double Masters in Social Work and Urban and Regional Planning.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Goodbye CGE southern Africa

Today is a very sad day for me,it is my last day on the job as an intern at the Center for global education, Namibia.It  was a real  honour working with a team that is very committed to a course of social justice and equality for everyone.I can definitely say with confidence that I'm a different individual than I was when I first started working for this organisation.Looking back, I can say that I enjoyed attending classes with all the CGE students,meeting all the guest speakers and getting to know all staff at the Center.In essence being at this organisation changed my perception of the world around me.

Immanuel Mabuku

Its so funny and strange that it feels like yesterday, when I was attending a team building retreating with the staff and students and now I'm sitting here with a very heavy heart, hesitantly saying goodbye.Even though I'm saying bye to the organisation and to the dedicated team that works at this organisation,my heart will remain at this organisation.
first picture of the CGE Student for the Spring program 2014
Picture from the team building retreat 
reconnection retreat

Imms with Cge student Kelsey at theReconnection retreat
CGe group at staff dinner

All these pictures above, encapsulate my journey here at the Center for global education in a very superficial manner.From meeting the students to the staff dinner, which indicated to me the end to the stay of the students here at the CGE house, as well as, the end to my internship period.I am deeply going to miss everyone in this organisation......so here it goes, farewell Center for global education.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Saying goodbye to the CGE students

I still remember so vividly in my mind welcoming the students to Namibia on the 29th of January, 2014.And now it feels so strange to have to say goodbye to everyone that I learned to love so much and I have grown used to always having around over the past months that they have been in Windhoek,Namibia. Last week marked the end of the journey  for the CGE students in Namibia. They spent most of the week wrapping up classes and preparing for their integrative Projects presentation.The presentations were hosted at the American cultural centre.

CGE students with CGE intern, Immanuel

The integrative projects had a good mix of game boards,videos and art exhibition. The presentation were filled with a lot of exciting and interesting view points on subjects matters affecting social change and equality in the Namibian society.later that day the students hosted a dinner for the cge staff, to show appreciation for the support and the guidance they provided to them throughout their stay here in Namibia.Everybody at the dinner was given the opportunity to say a few  things about their experience at the Cge house in Windhoek, and also to tell everyone what they were mostly thankful about.It was a very emotional night, tears and sadness were the order of the night, as every word uttered at the dinner table was a reminder to everyone present of the inevitable departure of the students back to their homes.

Cge students and Staff lining up for dinner

The students left Namibia for Cape Town, South africa, on Saturday.I knew right from the start that, their stay here in Namibia was not a permanent one but knowing this, did not give me any type of comfort whatsoever.It hurt so much that it brings tears to my eyes to even think of the words goodbye.I can only  wish them luck in all their endeavours and hope that our paths in life will one day bring us together.But until then....so long my people and thank you for coming to Namibia.
olivia, Hannah and maggie

Sam ,Maddy, des and Gena

BRi waving at the camera

Shivute asking questions

Matt, Gena and holden

Subah and lillian

Josh  making his presentation
Bri,kelsey and darcey