In two weeks to new kindergarten

From Stephanie Amrein und Manuela Beyeler

After a long journey we arrived in Andara with 109kg of luggage. Our Namibia adventure could finally begin. With a good bottle of wine and a delicious dinner we were warmly welcomed by the rest of the team.

Because we were only there for two weeks, we wanted to get started immediately the next day. But first several things had to be organised which was not always as easy as in Switzerland. This was a first taster of life in Nambia. From Wednesday noon, onwards we could then finally start helping. So far, the Kindergarten only consisted of the roof and a ditch for the base, which was dug earlier that week. The hardest task was to get all the needed materials. Tools and cement were already on site. Water, sand and also the 700 needed bricks we got on our own and brought it to the building site. Our backs already felt this but it was a nice tiredness from helping. The base and the first rows of bricks were laid quickly. However, we were bothered again and again by the question of where we would get the much-needed water from. In the end, we discovered several different water sources: first, the close-by river (luckily, we only learnt that there were crocodiles the last evening), then from a reservoir and once even directly from a sprinkler on a cabbage field. Whether this was allowed officially, remains to be seen… Anyways we were thoroughly soaked. That way there were interruptions and waiting time again and again, until we collected all the material. But the team, which consisted of five to six Africans were mostly very motivated at work. Because they had more energy before lunch, they wished to start working at 07:00 in the morning. So, we mostly got up at sunrise and stayed several times until sundown o the building site. It was exciting to see how the Kindergarten slowly took shape. The walls were built until directly beneath the roof so the materials of the kindergarten could not be stolen. After that we plastered the inner walls and the finished floor. The front porch was also plastered so the kids can sit in the shade.

Our highlight was definitely the last day on the building site. In the morning, we gave the toys that we brought along to the children from the kindergarten. The kindergarten teacher proudly showed off every single toy car and distributed the tennis balls. Immediately a long play street was built with the new toy cars. A lot of the kids didn’t know what to make of the tennis balls at first as they had never held a tennis ball in their hand before. But the wariness wore of very fast and they had great fun.

Equipped with a big jar of paint, two brushed and two big paint rollers, the children helped us to paint the first white coat of the Kindergarten. The joy was big and so was the crowd around the brushes and the jar of paint. The teacher helped us to keep an overview so that every child could paint part of the wall. It was a lot of fun! We will never forget the joy in the children’s eyes and keep beautiful memories of this experience. After the children were more or less washed and free of paint, we could paint the upper part of the Kindergarten. We finished the first coat and in the next project, the children will be able to put their handprints on the outside wall with colourful hand paint. The inner walls will be painted yellow and the letters of the alphabet will be added to it.

We look back on an exciting, exhausting, partially nerve-racking but at the same time unique, impressing and wonderful time! It was wonderful to meet these sincere people and children and to help them during a few days and to build this kindergarten together with them. At this point, thank you to the team and Barbara Müller, who made this unforgettable time possible for us!