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I heard that a kindergarten was being named after my friend Marybeth late last week. What a great honor to have a building in your name doing so much good work for the less fortunate. For those of you who have never heard of Marybeth, she is an American volunteer who has devoted the greater part or her life working with impoverished children.

Marybeth was also my roommate last year and in this time I learned of her unconditional devotion to these poor children. She has currently just finished writing a book. The book is designed for teachers in similar situations, working in very poor neighborhoods, with little resources. It basically is an instructional manual on how to create educational and fun games from recyclable materials such as bottle caps, cardboard, plastic containers, you name it! It’s a novel idea and I am really looking forward to seeing how it turns out!

So when I heard Marybeth needed help making the new kindergarten shine, I was ready to put in work! We head down to Katutura Sunday afternoon with paint in tow, ready to go.

So, maybe it’s not what you expected of a kindergarten? But this is pretty standard of what you find in Katutura in terms of dwellings. All around us were buildings of a similar caliber. Our aim was to make this one stand out and to attract the children. These kindergartens aim to keep the kids off the streets and out of trouble, while fostering a learning environment which is scarce in these parts.

A clean slate to start.

Marybeth decorates the wall with the alphabet while the kindergarten owner expresses love for her first student. The little guy on the right looks intrigued. I really like this shot.

When building from basically nothing, you have to make use of the resources at your disposal. I thought it was neat that bottle caps were used as makeshift washers to secure the metal sheeting to the wood frame.

Some creative directors we picked up along the way. We tried to get input from the kids to see what kinds of pictures we should paint. These four were super helpful.

Ha, Yes I painted that sun and clouds over top the green hill with the help of my friends here.

Things are coming together here as we put the final touches on the main wall.

Inside we tried to make things as educational and fun as possible. The numbers 1 to 10 were put up with corresponding objects of the same number. Kimera did the ‘bloody hand prints’, we realized after how this might be considered scary! Lets hope it does not provoke panic!

We attracted a lot of attention in the neighborhood. Obviously some might be curious or jealous of us beautifying this one building. Lots of kids came through to have a look as well as parents who may now be considering sending there kids here. I overheard that tuition would be somewhere in the area of 60 dollars per month, which is about $10 Canadian!

Around the site we saw many of these bathrooms. In fact they stretched far into the distance for anyone looking for a very private experience. Actually, the city expects this area to grow exponentially in the next little while. Therefore the bathrooms are laid out well in advance for the community to grow around.

Naturally a small paint fight broke out, which resulted in us getting a little filthy.

The crew with the finished product! The international team consisted of 4 Germans, 2 Canadians, 1 American, and three Namibians!

In the Dark
Camping in the Rehoboth District


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