August 15, 2003 - African Edventure: Debbie Fillis compiles "Growing Up in Namibia"

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Namibia: Peace Corps Namibia : The Peace Corps in Namibia: August 15, 2003 - African Edventure: Debbie Fillis compiles "Growing Up in Namibia"

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, August 15, 2003 - 9:53 am: Edit Post

Debbie Fillis compiles "Growing Up in Namibia"

Debbie Fillis compiles "Growing Up in Namibia"

SPECIAL "EDVENTURE" DIARY ENTRY "GROWING UP IN NAMIBIA" GROWING UP IN NAMIBIA as told by Students, in their own words, from the Okakarara Secondary School with an Introductrion from Debbie Fillis, their Peace Corps Volunteer teacher:

(I should point out that English is not the first language of these students and most of them speak at least 3 languages)

Debbie Fillis. Peace Corps Volunteer and Teacher.

I?m teaching environmental science to grade 11 and 12 at Okakarara Senior Secondary School. In class we discuss environmental problems facing developing and developed countries. The Namibian people rely on the environment for agriculture and tourism so preservation is necessary for their livelihood. Many of the students in my class hope to get jobs in these fields someday. But even if they cannot, the knowledge they are gaining will help them to be environmentally friendly farmers. This exchange has helped the Namibian students improve their English and see how research is carried out. Most classroom work involves copying notes from the chalkboard so it?s exciting for the students to get some first hand experience doing research. Also, the idea of research is new for Namibian schools, so finding out information on their own is an empowering concept. Hopefully it will be taken into all areas of their life.

Emil Kambumbi, Grade 12, Age 18

When I began school, Namibia was under the rule of South Africa. This was during the time of apartheid. When we were in the classroom we had to be quiet until the teacher said "Good morning, slaves". We could then reply "Good morning, boss". If you said "Good morning, sir", you were beaten until your hand was bruised. When the teacher called you, you should run. Also, the teacher did not have time to repeat something that you did not understand. During breakfast we ate only porridge and coffee. Black students were not allowed to eat white bread and white students were not allowed to eat black or brown bread. Black students could not attend schools with white students unless they were light in complexion or if they were rich. Even if you were as clever as the white students, they would fail you and hold you in the same grade for three years. When you went to a restaurant there were two doors, one for blacks and one for whites. If you went through the door for blacks, you could eat only the food that was left on the tables by the whites. We lived this way until Namibia got independence in 1990 and finally ended apartheid.

Nelvin Tjiuiju, Grade 12, Age 18

My Name is Nelvin Tjiuiju and I am from Hereroland West. I have grown up in a traditional style. When I was 6 years of age I started school at Coblenz Junior Secondary School in 1989. That year Namibia was called South West Africa and it was under South African control. That year black people were not allowed to eat white bread and they were forbidden to walk in the street unless they were sent by the white "Boss." Fortunately we were not paying school fees. In 1989 Resolution 435 was introduced by the UN for the second time. In 1990 we had elections when I was about 8 years old, if I can remember. I feel very happy that peace was restored in Namibia. Currently, I am at the secondary level and it is my last year of school. My ambition is to study conservation biology. I would like to work and live in the U.S. or South Africa.

The History of the Otjiherero People, Dennis Muesee, Age 18

The Herero people are originally from middle Africa and they moved down to the South West Africa to the place or a country called Namibia. They are farmers. So they rely on live-stock for their daily needs. Mostly these tribes migrate in order to live at a place where their live-stock can have enough to graze and also enough water. In order to satisfy their daily needs. Many years ago they were wearing skins from their live-stock as their clothes and use horns of their cattle as their necklaces.

Life on the reserve, Lisa Kapere, Age 17

A reserve is a piece of land in which many people live together, much like the reserves of the Native Americans in the United States. The people are usually from the same tribe, but sometimes people from different tribes live together. They cultivate their own food, which is usually crops and cattle. The crops usually consist of maize, which is a cousin to the corn. Sometimes they let the milk sour so it can then be used for porridge. They use the skin of the cattle for mats for the house and also they make clothes for the kids. The clothing is like a loin cloth and often nothing else is worn.

Hans Namolo, Age: 17

I am seventeen years old and am a student at Okakarara secondary school. I am in grade 12 this year. I was born in northern Namibia in the year 1982-11-25. My father was working at Okakarara so when I was five years old my father took me Okakarara to start school. I grew up at Okakarara from the year 1985 up to now. I speak three different languages?Oshiwambo, English, and Otjiherero. The thing I like most about life is to communicate with people from other countries. When I grow up I would like to become a Conservation Biologist. I am mostly interested in animals and plants. I also like cheetahs and leopards. I like art very much and I like to draw the animals I see in nature. I want to become a Conservation Biologist because I want to tell and teach people the importance of animals and plants to our environment.

Julia Kamarenga, Age: 18.

I was born in Botswana in 1981 where I have grown up with my parents. During 1904 my forefathers fled to Botswana with the fear of the war between the Herero and the Germans. While we were there I was attending school until I was in grade five. The Hereros decided to sign a letter of renunciation to return back to their mother land. Then the government of Botswana decided to let them leave during April 28, 1993. When we came to Namibia, I started my grade five and the Dutch were supplying us with food and tents. I am now a current grade twelve student at Okakarara Senior Secondary School. I have been at CCF several times as an assistant for the Round River students. We were looking at different trees and learned to differentiate them according to the species and names. It was a bit difficult to see the difference because some trees are almost similar. For example the Acacia karoo and the Acacia tortillis. These trees are closely similar so this is where we experienced most of the difficulty. After we had experienced this we took the notes and typed it into the computer. We also went on a game drive looking for different animals. As we saw the animals we were noting and wrote the number of animals we saw. This was nice to me because I?ve learned many things like differentiating animals and trees and how they both adjust to new conditions. We were also plotting the baskets on the ground to observe which reptiles are in that area.

PIC: The Okakarara Students.

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Story Source: African Edventure

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Namibia



By Essen V.Kuhanga ( - on Monday, August 08, 2005 - 7:44 am: Edit Post

I am Essen Kuhanga and did my secondary studies at Okakarara Secondary School,from '98-2002.I am currently doing a Bachelor's Degree in Media Studies at the University of Namibia. I was part of the Okakarara Nature Club for two consecutive years in 2001-2002 under the Watchful eye of Ms.Kate Gregg(Peace Corps) and I have never heard of her since 2002. she taught me biology and I would like to hear more about her stay in Okakarara.

By Mekumbu ( - on Wednesday, May 17, 2006 - 4:18 am: Edit Post

I am Mekumbu Tjiteere and i did my senior secondary education at Okakarara senior secondary school from 2003 to 2004 grade 11 and 12. Currently i am doing a diploma in Adult Education and Community Development and i am a final year student. I was not that priveleged to meet or to bee tought by Ms. Kate and i want to know were is she and how is she doing.

By Mekumbu ( - on Wednesday, May 17, 2006 - 4:18 am: Edit Post

I am Mekumbu Tjiteere and i did my senior secondary education at Okakarara senior secondary school from 2003 to 2004 grade 11 and 12. Currently i am doing a diploma in Adult Education and Community Development and i am a final year student. I was not that priveleged to meet or to bee tought by Ms. Kate and i want to know were is she and how is she doing.

By Mekumbu Tjiteere ( - on Friday, November 10, 2006 - 1:53 am: Edit Post

Mekumbu tjiteere is a student at the university of Namibia (2006 academic year), I am realy like to know were Ms. Kate is and how she is doing when she went back to the States. Ms. Kate the question is, how was the experience when you did got a chance to work with a happy staff members at Okk Senoir Secondary School. The likes of Mr. Upi, Mr. Ngozu, Mr. Katjuku, Ms. Nganjone etc?

How do you miss Namibia?
I really miss your friendly smile, your trust in every person up until some of us shown that we are not to be trasted.

I wish all the best luck in Life.
Marry Xmass and happy 2007.

Hope you are comming back to The Land of The Brave, (Namibia).

By Debora.Fillis ( - on Thursday, November 16, 2006 - 8:04 pm: Edit Post

I don't know where Ms. Kate is now, but I heard she was in Maine, US 3 years ago.

I only recently found this page online. If you know any of the students listed above can you show them this site and ask them to write about what they are now doing?

I did enjoy working with the teachers at Okakarara Senior Secondary. I worked closely with Ms. Nganjone- if you see her tell her about this site as well.

I do miss Okakarara and hope to return someday.

Debbie Fillis

By Anonymous ( - on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 9:35 am: Edit Post

Im Tjatu Unotjari Tjirondero and I did my secondary studies at the Okakarara SSS. Currently Im am a first year student at the International University of Management doing a bachelors degree in Bussines Administration.

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