Dawbies in Africa


30 Nov 2012


Hard to believe our time in Namibia draws to a close tomorrow. The past week has been exceptionally busy as we attempt to “finish well”.  By God’s grace our leaving has coincided with the closing of most of the ministries we have been involved in as school holidays begin and the majority of people “go back to the farm” for the month of December. Most of our ‘farewells’ have taken place in the context of end-of-year Christmas parties.

Our church had a Praise & Worship evening last Friday with around 100 in attendance. This was predominantly a youth event, however there were a number of oldies other than ourselves present. Different choirs & gospel singers endeavoured to outperform each other with the event finishing around midnight (after four hours). Our African brothers & sisters love to sing praises to their God!

Sunday School Christmas Pageant

Our last Sunday at church was the annual Sunday School Christmas Pageant.  This is a big event each year & we had in excess of 200 people present. The children did a great job reciting their memory verses, singing their songs & performing their Christmas drama. Mike was fortunate enough to preach on this occasion & chose a passage from Matthew 2:1-12. In this narrative we looked at the three responses to the birth of Jesus (King Herod, Teachers of the Law / Pharisees & the Magi) & were reminded that wise men still seek the king today. The service lasted for three hours (which was not reflective of the length of Mike’s sermon as he was told to keep it short).

Mike preaching at Katutura EBC

On Monday & Tuesday morning we worked at the Namibian Evangelical Theological Seminary (NETS) in Windhoek. It was hoped we would spend a number of weeks working here, however time got the better of us. It did however provide a brief opportunity to have a look around the college & meet some of the staff & students.

NETS (Namibia Evangelical Theological Seminary)

Tuesday evening was the Christmas Party for our Bible Study Group. Being a member of this group over the past three months has been important to us as it allowed us to get to know a smaller number of people more intimately than was possible after church on a Sunday. It was a great blessing to explore God’s word together & to understand its application in daily living.

Bible Study Group

Wednesday evening we headed back to the School for Disabled for their Christmas presentation & prize giving. During our three months at the school we really had little interaction with the students other than with two or three that stopped in to say hello to the two white folks tucked away in a small office. Some of the students have physical disabilities, some have mental disabilities & some have both.

We were delighted upon arrival when these three students all recognised us, & came up for a big hug. We found out on the evening that the name of one girl who we got to know (& who always had a large smile on her face) was Happiness. A very fitting name! Despite all the challenges these young people have, they performed very well on the night & humbled us all by their love & enthusiasm.                   

Yesterday we had the Christmas Party for the After School Program. As we spent more time on this project than any other, it was always going to be hard to say good bye to the leaders & students. In particular we grew quite close to a small number of children that gravitated towards us. We were so blessed by the hand made cards they made for us to say goodbye. After lots of hugs & well wishes, it was time for us to go for the final time.

Grade 3 & 4 Class rehearsing their Christmas song

Kate & "Twin Sisters"

We spent the morning today at FHS in the informal settlement area. Once again it was their end of year Christmas celebration & there was probably in excess of 250 children & adults present. In the poorest part of Windhoek where most of the inhabitants live well below the poverty line, it was wonderful to see the joy in the children’s faces as they arrived for their Christmas party. The birth of Jesus was central to this celebration & the children were clearly told that each & every one of them was special to God. Whilst many of FHS activities close for the next six weeks, the daily feeding program continues. Life goes on & children remain hungry even during the holiday period.

Bouncy Balls handed out at Christmas Party

We learnt today that one of the children being sponsored by FHS had recently died. One thing we have certainly found during our time here in Namibia is the constancy of death.  People are dying all the time (many well before their time), & attending funerals is a very regular occurrence. We thank God that many have found salvation in Christ Jesus & know the certainty of their destination.          

After twelve busy weeks our time in Namibia has just about come to an end & we leave for Johannesburg tomorrow where we have a three night stopover before flying home. We have experienced so much during these three months that it will take some time for us to process it all.

God brought us to Namibia for a purpose & it has been a wonderful opportunity to learn & to serve.  

We have met so many people with amazing life stories & we have been humbled & inspired by them.

We have struggled with the poverty & difficulties we have witnessed by so many Namibians.  Where unemployment is so high & life expectancy well below most Western nations, life is tough for many in this developing nation. HIV & AIDS is often lurking in the background.

We have been greatly blessed by the children of Namibia who have been warm & welcoming to this strange white couple. Their smiles, love & hugs have kept us going.

We have also so greatly appreciated our African family who we have lived with all tis time. They opened up their home & we have shared the ups & downs of daily living with them. We still have this farewell to go tonight!

God has been good to us as we have sojourned in this place. He has touched our hearts in so many ways & we look to Him for our future hope & direction.


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart & lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, & he will make your paths straight”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Our African Family


27 Nov 2012


As our time in Namibia is drawing to a close, so too is most church & school activities for the year. Like Australia, Namibia has a long six week school holiday break at Christmas time, except the holiday goes from early December until mid January.

This Thursday will see the conclusion of the After School Program for the year. After spending each afternoon (Mon to Fri) at the ASP for the last three months, this will bring to a close a significant time commitment for us since our arrival in Windhoek in early September.

The recent Teachers strike (which lasted two weeks) took its toll on our numbers, however attendance has once again picked up in recent weeks. We get the impression that students & volunteers are now totally exhausted & looking forward to the end of the week!

Kate teaching at Bible Club

Two weeks ago in our weekly Devotions with Grades 1 to 4, we shared the Parable of the Lost Son from Luke 15:11-24. Before reading the passage from the Bible, we placed the story into a modern Namibian context. We told the children about God’s love for them, Jesus dying on the cross, repentance & forgiveness.

We explained that like the Father in the parable, God loves us greatly & is eagerly watching out for our return. We explained how we all sin just like the lost son, but through Christ we can repent of our sin, ask for forgiveness, & return to the Father. We explained that with Christianity there is no sitting on the fence, you are either with God or against Him.

Kate leading the singing (Colin Buchanan song - John 14:6)

We encouraged the children to consider what they had heard & if they would like to talk to one of the ASP leaders sometime about getting right with God, then that would be a great thing to do. Before we had even finished speaking, two of the girls said they wanted to stay behind & talk. Class was dismissed & eleven girls remained & said they wanted to get right with God!

We gathered them together, explained what it was to become a Christian & that it was the beginning of a life long journey. We then closed our eyes & prayed the sinners prayer together.        

“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over than over ninety nine righteous persons who do not need to repent”.   Luke 15:7

We will be meeting with the girls over the next two days to encourage them in their walk & to provide them with some Scripture Union Bible Reading Notes.

It never ceases to amaze us how God is at work in people’s hearts. The ASP has now been running for eight years & continues to serve an important need in the community. It will be hard to say our good-byes come Thursday! 

After School Program Volunteers


25 Nov 2012


The Evangelical Bible Church we attend has an outstanding HIV & AIDS ministry, which focuses on two core aspects of addressing the issue: prevention & support.

The After School Program (which we have highlighted in previous blogs) is the “prevention” ministry, where we share significant time with the children & young adults in our community.

Home Based Care is the “support” ministry, which focuses on loving & supporting people who are HIV positive.  Five ladies from the church serve in this ministry & between them they look after 45 people in the community (mainly women and a few orphans) who live with HIV. Each of these ladies is assigned a number of people to look after & often visit them on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

Last week Kate & I were fortunate enough to attend one of these Home Based Care visits.

We visited the home of a lady in her mid forties who was both a mother & grandmother. We were also joined by another lady (neighbour) of similar age. Both ladies have HIV however are receiving ARV treatment. One spoke Otjiherero, one spoke Afrikaans, & we spoke English! We were very thankful of our Home Based Carer who accompanied us & spoke all three languages.

The house we entered was very basic (as are many houses in the poorer part of Windhoek). It did have electricity but did not have running water. Three generations appear to live in the one house. People are unemployed, money is scarce & life is tough.

Finding a source of income is a pressing issue. Our host spoke of her desire to start a business, and then of her frustration when the small amount of fruit that was growing on her tree was stolen during the night; she was hoping to sell this in order to buy some food for her own family.

We stayed for around an hour. During that time we exchanged greetings, shared stories & read the Bible together. Both ladies then told us of the difficulties they faced in daily living & offered some prayer points.  We then prayed for them & brought their requests before God.

They told us how much they appreciated our visit & we told them how honoured we were to be invited into their home.

In addition to these regular home based care visits, each HIV & AIDS client receives practical support from the church. On this occasion both ladies needed assistance to purchase electricity credit from the local shopping centre (about five kilometers away). We drove them to & from the shopping centre & the church assisted with some cash to help purchase electricity.

We had been warned to be careful (but not anxious) at this particular shopping centre. We decided to stay with the car while the ladies were purchasing their credit. Kate wisely reminded me that the doors of the car should be locked even though we were sitting in it.

Shortly after locking the doors, three men approached the car & one of them tried to open the driver’s side door. Uncertain what their intention was (steal the car, steal whatever they could grab, assault the driver as he was white & sitting in a car???), however they did not get far as the door was locked. I thank God for prompting Kate (who in turn prompted me), as the outcome might have been ugly. White faces in a black disadvantaged neighbourhood are an easy target.

We were privileged to meet these two ladies & share in their struggles. Life is difficult enough without having to deal with a deadly disease on a daily basis. It was great to see the church reaching out in a very holistic way as they try to address the spiritual & physical needs of those suffering in the community with HIV & AIDS.

“My body & mind may waste away, but God remains the foundation of my life, & my inheritance forever”     Psalm 73:26


23 Nov 2012


Last Sunday we had the privilege of having lunch with an African missionary couple who wanted us to join with them in eating a ‘traditional meal’. When we asked, in our typical Western thinking, “What would you like us to bring?” at first the answer was “We need nothing, but you can bring what you like” but then changed to “I know you white people like something specific, so could you bring nappies. Size 2 – 5 kgs.”

We were happy to oblige. This young couple had just been delivered of twin girls only 6 weeks before (4 weeks premature) and being a missionary couple, working for Campus Crusade for Christ, they struggle with finances and disposable nappies are quite expensive, especially when you have to buy for two. Fortunately, although the girls were both very underweight when they were born they are both home and doing well.

As we chatted and shared a simple meal of mahanga (thick porridge made with a type of maize meal) and vegetables with this delightful and special couple we found out that they both had Angolan parents but were Namibians; she was born in Namibia and he was a refugee who now had Citizenship status. They are two of many Angolans we have met on our travels over the past three months. The long civil war in that country, which thankfully is now finished, wrecked havoc on its population and many fled over the border to Namibia to relative safety but not necessarily ease.

The stories we have heard from these Angolans have many similarities. There is a shared experience of relatives (sometimes immediate family members) being executed; of brothers or sisters in hospital being given a prescription but having no money to go down to the market to buy it and so dying there; of serious interruptions to education; of surviving on very little; of separation from family; of courage and of God’s provision and grace amongst it all.

We were amazed to learn that this inspiring young man, who speaks at least 5 languages fluently, started in Grade 1 when he was 15 years old by swimming across the river separating Angola and Namibia each day, joining the 7 year olds in the classroom. His natural intelligence, perseverance and diligence meant he was accelerated through some grades. At one point he was ill and missed another whole year of school. Another year saw he and his brother trying to survive in Windhoek on N$150 (AUD $20) a month – impossible. Eventually a relative living in Rundu in the far north of the country took him in and he was able to finish Grade 12. The following year he went to Theological College and completed a four-year Divinity Degree (accredited university standard). His passion is to reach out to the youth of Namibia to give them a sense of hope and a future, hence his work on the various university / college campuses.

What amazed and humbled us was his absolute gratefulness to God for all the blessings in his life and for providing for him; we were ashamed to admit we were thinking of all the difficulties and challenges he had faced. He now plans to go into the very isolated desert region in the east of Namibia in 2013 to reach out to a San (Bushmen) tribe who has never heard the gospel. This will involve he and his wife (and twin daughters) learning a new language (they are a tribe who speak one of the ‘clicking’ languages) and many other hardships but they are both convinced of God’s calling to this task. They are currently raising support for this venture. 

We are so humbled by their story; we really have it so easy in Australia. It takes the sharing of stories, the coming alongside and taking the time to listen, to really appreciate this complex world in which we live.

Herero ladies taken at church last Sunday


21 Nov 2012


An earlier blog made reference to the work we are undertaking with Family of Hope Services (FHS). We continue to spend one morning a week working with FHS who serve the communities of Hakahana & Havana (otherwise known as the “Informal Settlements”).

Havana (notice the "tent school" in the background)

Some 100,000 people live in the Informal Settlements of Windhoek. This is a depressing & disturbing place. People live in tin shacks or shanties, often with nine people or more living in each dwelling. For the majority of shacks, electricity & water is not connected & there are no toilets within the dwellings.

Homes on the hill

There are communal toilets & water points scattered throughout the community however about 20 dwellings share each toilet & water point. As we drove around we saw people urinating on the side of the road & children squatting down at the dry riverbed.

Residents can purchase a water token from the local council, which enables them to purchase water on site at one of the pumps. They then have to carry their large water containers back to their homes.

Community Member showing us how to use the water token to fill his Jerry Can. Note the communal toilet in the background. 

We visited the local market where we saw a carcass of meat being cut up. There was no refrigeration evident & there were at least 50 flies covering the meat. No attempt was being made to keep the flies away. Around the corner we saw meat hanging up on a line drying.

Meat drying out on a line

There were many Shebeens (read grog shops) scattered throughout the community.  Many men are unemployed & often the women try & keep the household together & bring in some income however they can. There may not be money to purchase food for the children, however there is always money to purchase grog for the men to help them fill in the day.

Kate & two of the senior leaders from FHS inside a Shebeen. Note the drink in question was non-alcoholic & made for the local children   

As you can appreciate crime is a real issue.  The residents may not have much, but what they have is often the target of others. The community continues to grow as new residents move in & construct their dwellings. What was the outer border last week, might be quite different in a fortnights time!

The backyard of one of the homes

It would not be safe for “whites” to drive around this area on their own, however we were fortunate to be with two of the leading figures at FHS so we were in good hands. With the weekly staff meeting & Bible Devotion now over, these two ladies generously took Kate & I for a 90 minute guided tour of the informal settlement area. Despite all the difficulties surrounding this part of Windhoek, our dear sisters always have a smile on their faces & a joke to share!     

No sealed roads, civic services or gardens here!

FHS has a substantial feeding program (Monday to Friday) to ensure the local children receive at least one nutritious meal per day. Many children are under direct sponsorship of overseas supporters who contribute a monthly fee to assist meeting the basic necessities of life (including food, school supplies & medical care).

HIV / AIDS is very much in the community with eighteen of the sponsored children being HIV positive.

Our contribution one morning a week might not add up to much but every little bit helps! We have been fortunate to spend a lot of time with the founder of FHS who works very long hours for a very nominal wage. Her husband is an AOG Pastor. We thank God for the people that we have had the privilege of meeting during our time in Namibia. Their lives, witness & ministry humble us. 


Sprawling shanties of the Informal Settlement area


18 Nov 2012


During our time in Namibia we have been well looked after & blessed by other Christian Missionaries we have met. It’s been amazing & humbling to meet them, hear their stories & see how the Gospel has shaped their lives & destiny.

One English family (sending agency – Crosslinks) have three young children & have been in Africa now for 8 years. They were originally posted to Lesotho where they spent a number of years in a remote rural village without running water, electricity or a flushing toilet. They went as Bible teachers & continue to serve in this capacity now in Namibia.

Another English family (SIM) have four children & have now served in Namibia for some 16 years. Originally based in Rundu in the far north of the country, they are also pastors & Bible teachers. They both knew from a young age that they would serve God on the mission field & the rest is history.

An Australian family (CMS) from the Hunter Valley in NSW have been here for three or four years. They too heard the call to missions & moved half way around the world to serve in an Evangelical Theological College.

The head of our mission agency in Namibia (SIM) is from Germany & has served in Africa for over 25 years! She has recently returned from home assignment & is ready to serve for another term.

Another couple from Holland (GZB) have been in Namibia for four years & will stay for another four. They serve in varying capacities through distance theological education & in bringing communities in need into contact with communities with means. 

What do these people have in common? Their personal relationship with Jesus Christ has had a profound effect on their lives & compelled them to take the gospel to the nations.  They leave family & friends behind (not to mention comfortable lifestyle, secure jobs & a robust retirement plan) for the unknown, the uncomfortable & the uncertain.

Each Missionary has a support base at home where many churches & individuals give financially & prayerfully to ensure the gospel is supported around the world. They live by faith that their needs will be met & as you can see from above, they have been doing this now for many years. God meets their needs when they step out in faith.

As missionaries come & go from the field, often “things” are passed on between them. This can include rental properties, cars, furniture, jobs & even pets. Dogs & cats can suddenly find they have new owners!

It has been a humbling experience to be in their midst & share some special time with them. They have taken us under their wing to ensure we are travelling OK & we thank God for these faithful servants who know they are only sojourners on this earth.   

Sunset over Windhoek


15 Nov 2012


Sometimes in Australia we become impatient if we have to wait too long for a service or for something to arrive. We are an instant society; time is precious, time is money. We have discovered, since arriving in Namibia, that waiting is an art form, a way of life, possibly even character building.

While recently dining with a missionary family here in Windhoek we heard them talk about their eldest daughter applying for her Learner Driver Permit. They dropped her and a friend off at the appropriate office at 4 in the morning where she joined the queue! By midday she was in the front door of the building and early afternoon she had her Permit, by which time people were arriving to queue up for the following day (camping overnight). Their eldest son needs to go for his driving test, but at the moment can not bring himself to go through with the waiting process; there are many more things he would rather do with his time.

One of the projects we have been working on for Family of Hope Services (FHS) is the writing of a simple booklet explaining the importance of birth registration. Sometimes cultural traditions or family circumstances prevent this from happening at the time of birth and so the mother is meant to go to the Home Affairs Office in town with a variety of paperwork and register her child.

However, if you are an unemployed mother living in the informal settlement areas of Windhoek it takes a while to save up the N$18 to catch a taxi into town. We have heard many stories of such mothers waiting most of the day, finally reaching the counter only to be told that one of their papers is incorrect or the office is closed for the day and they have to come back tomorrow which they simply cannot afford to do. It all becomes too hard and the baby goes unregistered, causing numerous problems as they grow older.

FHS is working hard to lobby the department to send a mobile office into the informal settlement areas so that the process is made accessible. The wheels move slowly, but they remain prayerful that this will occur some time next year.

When a government is dealing with an unemployment rate of close to 51% you can understand them being a little cautious about granting Work Visas/permits to foreigners. Just about all the SIM team in Namibia are due to reapply for their work permits in the New Year.

Once all the necessary paperwork is submitted it can take quite a few months before the missionaries are informed of the decision to let them stay or otherwise. They all wish to continue God’s work here in Namibia, but they need the authority and permission of the government to do so. They are all praying that they may be granted these, preferably for a 2 year period rather than 1 and that they will not have too long to wait to hear. In the interim they are relying on God, His promises and His sovereignty over all things. We would encourage you to join with them in prayer that their applications would all be successful.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.             1 Timothy 2 : 1 - 2

PS: The Teachers' Strike is now over. It lasted two weeks & occurred just prior to the end of year exams. 

Further to our previous blog on "hair", the girls at the After School Program also take great delight in platting Kate's hair when ever they have the opportunity!


Like Australia, in Namibia telecommunications equipment is installed on the highest landmark. If that landmark however happens to be a tree, then so be it!


12 Nov 2012


Last weekend the water was cut off at our flat without notice. The reasons why are lengthy & aren’t important. What was important was that we had no opportunity to “fill up” whatever we could in anticipation of the water being cut-off (& then not being re-connected for four days!)

The first day was manageable, the second day a little more trying, the third day was wearing us down & by the fourth day we were well & truly over it.

Without water:

#  You can’t fill up water bottles

#  You can’t do the washing up

#  You can’t wash yourself

#  You can’t wash any clothes

#  You can’t flush the toilet (which was the most pressing issue)

Our work around was to obtain two large water containers (drums) & have them filled up via friends each day. It was surprising how quickly five people would go through one large drum of water.

On Thursday the water was re-connected much to our delight! We sent SMS messages to family & friends telling them the good news (as if they really wanted to know…………however we were very excited). 

At midnight one of the family went to the toilet & in flushing the chain accidently broke the float. The water wouldn’t stop running into the toilet & making a lot of noise in the middle of the night. Mike’s pet aversion is anything to do with plumbing (especially toilets) so he was not impressed to be woken at half past midnight to assist with a toilet problem.  Simple you say, just turn off the tap at the base of the toilet you say. Well we did that however the tap wouldn’t turn off properly & the water was still running! So in the middle of the night we were outside in the darkness turning off the mains water tap to the flat. That temporarily solved the problem. So all in the one day we rejoiced at having the water turned back on after four days, & then a few hours later we promptly turned it off ourselves!

Don't take this important household item for granted! 

Whilst we were challenged by water issues this week, at the end of the day it was nothing more than a minor inconvenience. We had a Plan B & it worked well. Water was still easily obtained & life went on. For many millions of people in the world, water insecurity & poor (or non existent) sanitation is the norm. They simply do not have access to clean drinking water & even if they do, might have to devote many hours a day to drawing & taking it back to their homes. We might smile at the lack of a loo, however many millions of people do not have access to a toilet (think about the implications here). There are very significant, even deadly, flow on effects in health from the lack of water security & sanitation.

A challenging week however nothing in comparison to those around the world that face possible deadly choices every day by drinking contaminated water & having non existent sanitation. 

Our two Namibian "nieces" whom we share a flat with (along with the ups & downs of no water).


11 Nov 2012


We have made a few interesting discoveries about hair since arriving in Namibia:

1)   Fine European hair does not cope well in the climate here

2)   Africans have naturally short, thick hair which copes very well indeed

I (Kate) have made a comment in a previous blog about how the children (and some adults) here are constantly amazed at how ‘soft’ my hair is and often feel the need to touch and stoke it to prove it once again. Let me tell you, after our trip to Etosha National Park they would have had a different experience!

Sitting in the back of the safari bus, Mike and I were in constant wind during the three days. Safari vehicles are made to look at animals, with windows that pull down quite low so there is no air conditioning. Consequently on hot days the windows are let down even when there are no animals to look at in order to let the breeze in. This constant wind combined with the heat and sheer dryness of the atmosphere (some days humidity levels as low as 4%) completely evaporated any moisture I had in my hair so that it resembled and felt like straw. For the first time in my life, I am using hair conditioner; it is the only way my hair will feel like hair not rope.

When you look at pictures or photos of African men you will notice that their hair is short. This is not because they are constantly at the barber’s getting it trimmed. It just does not grow long, ever. So what to do when Mike needed a hair cut? In true missionary style, Kate became hairdresser for the night and cut his hair. (Which hair do I hear some of you saying? – how rude!). Even if I say so myself, I didn’t do too bad a job as he still looks quite respectable. In speaking with missionary families here in Windhoek sent from other parts of the world, some of them had hairdressing as part of their missionary training when they were being sent out long term – not a bad idea.

Just as African men have short hair, so do African women; about ear length seems to be as far as it goes. It grows afro style – straight out.

Hairdressing / hair design for women seems to be quite a big business. If they want longer hair they must add it artificially, weaving it into their existing hair in similar fashion to hair extensions back in Australia. The process is lengthy (up to 12 hours worth of plaiting if you want a style with thin braids) and we are told quite painful, as the hairdresser must weave your own hair very tightly and firmly into the additions in order for it all to stay. “

Cheaper hair is artificial, more expensive hair is either from Brazil or India. Generally girls tend to have their own hair plaited in very thin braids in a number of different directions and styles, while the older girls / women go for the longer hair additions. There seems to be a great variety in the way this can be done. A change of hairstyle is required about once a month. What this has meant for us is that we do not recognise some girls after they get their hair ‘done’ – they just look so completely different. We have attached some photos to try and show you the variety of possibilities.


08 Nov 2012


And now for something completely different!

Long walks along a sandy beach with a cool breeze rustling the palm trees, sipping cappuccinos in quaint European-style cafes, wide streets with virtually no traffic, German being spoken almost everywhere: were we dreaming or were we really in Namibia?

400 kilometres west of Windhoek, on the coast of Namibia, lies the township of Swakopmund (affectionately known as “Swakop” by the locals). At the end of our second month in Namibia, we were fortunate enough to get away for a long weekend & visit a different part of the country.

On the road to Swakop!

Swakop rises quite literally out of the Namib Desert. At least 80 kilometres before you find the town you are travelling through a moonscape where virtually no plants survive. In fact, it is so barren that currently ‘Mad Max 4’ is being filmed there – we happened to run into one of the crew (a mechanic from the Gold Coast) while having one of those cappuccinos in the European-style café. It seemed so unreal that virtually at the end of every major street the desert would begin; we wondered where they get the water from to sustain this little oasis.

Swakop surrounded by desert

Town surrounded by desert (sorry about the size)

Swakop is an enclave of German architecture and culture and home to about 30,000 people (keeping in mind that Namibia was a Germany colony until the First World War). The buildings are beautiful and grand. The fences are low (no razor wire in sight) and people have gardens; some even with flowers. Here dogs are kept as pets and go for walks on leads (or sometimes without). The town is basically flat, so ideal for walking or cycling, and it has paved footpaths (most of the time). German is almost the expected language of conversation. For almost the first time since we arrived in Namibia, we felt we blended in quite well as there were white faces everywhere.

German architecture around 100 years old

Even though it is a tourist town we were surprised to find that most shops close from 1pm on Saturday and don’t open again till Monday morning. This made for a very quiet weekend where sometimes you felt you were the only people around. We could have joined in the ‘adventure activities’ of quad biking, paragliding, deep sea fishing etc, however walking brought us much pleasure, including finding the lagoon complete with a flock of flamingos.

The pier at Swakop & the Atlantic Ocean

We saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. We had been warned that the water was not suitable for swimming as the Beluga Current keeps the temperature very cold and there are numerous dangerous rips along the beach. We were content to walk along the beach and feel the cool wind on our faces. It was SO pleasant to be able to walk, for a start, and do so without breaking into a massive sweat. We even had to put jackets on and were comfortable wearing jeans. Such a different place to Windhoek where we have been sweltering in the mid thirties most days for the past month!

Overlooking the beach at Swakop

This break from routine and humid weather has refreshed us as we head into our final month in Namibia. We can appreciate more the variety of cultures and landscapes within this vast land.

Therefore, a time of rest & worship exists for God’s people. Those who entered his place of rest also rested from their work as God did from his.  (Hebrews 4:9-10)

Another German heritage building (1905)


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