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My updated itinerary for Namibia and Botswana, to the end of the tour.
The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal.
To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.
To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:
This morning (Wednesday the 12th May), I was woken by bright dazzling sunshine beaming into my bedroom window. Usually, in fact I think I could confirm that every morning, I wake before the sun rises at between 5:30 and a quarter to 6, and once awake cannot go back to sleep and so end up making coffee and start planning my day, or rather putting the finishing touches to my days plans, but this morning, when I woke at 10 to 7, the sun was shinning brightly. Fortunately this morning I did not have to pack my tent and load my trailer, all I had to do was shower, pack my over night bag and sit down to a scrumptious breakfast provided by the Makalani Hotel staff.
After thanking Louw Le Roux, the hotel Manager and his staff for their kind and generous support and hospitality in the form of amazing accommodation, I bid them farewell and headed for the Beares store where I met Leon, the manager and his friendly staff. I spent sometime with the staff chatting about the project and how they can help by spreading the word of the website to all their friends and family members.
I have contacted Oprah via her website comments blog and asked her for assistance and support to the project by way of donating one US Dollar for every time someone logs onto the ‘Buddy and Me’ website, so if she agrees I need thousands of people spreading the word of the www.buddyandme.co.za website. I am also getting a lot of people emailing me and asking me to email them the ‘Buddy and Me’ flyer/brochure so that they can email it to all the people on their address book. SO CLICK THIS LINK TO DOWNLOAD IT.
A short way up the road from the Beares store is the Bank of Namibia and these guys proved to me beyond any shadow of a doubt that crime in Namibia does not exist, well when compared to South Africa that is, and this photo proves it!
Hell this wouldn’t last an hour in South Africa without the vehicle and mobile ATM unit being hi-jacked. I mean, in South Africa they use explosives to blow the things up when they are built into the walls of banks, in shopping centres and service stations, a mobile ATM being towed by a car would be like handing a kid a bar of chocolate.
The last time I visited Tsumeb, I was really impressed with the cleanliness of the town and so after four years it was a pleasure to visit the town once again and see that it is still exactly the same and has not deteriorated to the filthy hovels so many of our small towns in South Africa have over the past few years.
While walking down the main street trying to find a computer place like Gerrit’s iTech in Otjiewarongo or internet café to email my blog to Gail – unfortunately the individual in the only one in town did not have a clue how to do it and would not let me try – I was approached by a number of foreign tourists who had seen me driving to Tsumeb and had seen me driving around the town and asked about details on child rape, especially regarding the situation in South Africa. A lot of them have travelled pretty extensively around Africa and when I asked them if they had visited South Africa they were very hesitant and confirmed that although they were hoping to, they confirmed that they had not made a final decision and when asked why, I was told that they were a bit hesitant because of the crime situation in South Africa, and this literally on the eve of the 2010 World Cup Soccer fiasco.
The drive to Ondangwa involves a trip of 240 kilometres and at the pace ‘Buddy and Me’ travel this would mean a trip of about 4 hours. I did not plan on travelling the whole way to Ondangwa because tomorrow, Thursday the 13th May, is a public holiday and so I planned on stopping off at a ‘cheap’ place to stay, with emphasis on the word ‘cheap’ maybe a campsite or cheap lodge somewhere after the half way point. So at 12pm I bid Leon and his staff goodbye and took to the road, destination somewhere between Tsumeb and Ondangwa.
Since entering Namibia way down South and having travelled a couple of thousand kilometres through the country so far, the roads between the major towns and cities are very desolate. The countryside consists purely of dense bush and shrubs and this is for kilometres in all directions. During the drives so far I have not seen any signs of population or so much as one individual on the roadside and have not seen one village or hut the entire time, even cars and trucks have been few and far between, but after passing the permanent police road block at Oshivelo, which is 90 kilometres after leaving Tsumeb, this changed dramatically.
Immediately after passing the road block – where the cops spent all their time walking around Buddy, touching him and shaking their heads in wonder at this “crazy little car” and asking me where I had travelled with “this wheel barrow on four wheels” and didn’t even so much as ask me for my drivers licence – the area became very populated with village after village and lots of people shouting greetings and waving when ‘Buddy and Me’ passed by. My right arm was in a permanent state of, elbow on the side of the body and hand waiving, hell after awhile I came to realize what the Queen of England feels like when she drives through the streets waving to the masses (right).
Within the first couple of hundred metres of passing the permanent police road block at Oshivelo, one encounters the first of literally hundreds of buildings/shacks and other forms of abode which house what is undoubtedly the biggest industry in the entire region, all the way to Ondangwa and from what I can remember from my last trip to the area, continues all the way to Oshakati, and that is the business of pubs/bars. There is literally a pub/bar every hundred metres or so, and it’s quite fascinating checking out all the names to these establishments. These include names such as, ‘Mine and Yours Bar’, ‘Los Vagos International Bar’, (and by the way that is how they spell it) I couldn’t help smiling and at times had a good laugh at the names of the establishments. Of course I had to stop and indulge in a local beer ‘Tafel Lager’ at one pub, I mean it was blistering hot and didn’t want to stand the risk of dehydrating. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
I chose a pub called ‘Paradise Pub’ which appeared nice and quiet and was so when I initially stopped, but within minutes of me stopping, taking a picture and locking my camera and other goodies up in my ‘safe box’, the place was swamped with the local community. The owner obviously loved it and offered to buy me as many beers as I wanted if I would stay because Buddy was attracting attention, not to mention business, like the place had never seen before.
The part that really fascinated me was how everyone was so willing to speak to me on the subject of child rape, and it was said by one woman that “The rape of woman and children in the area is increasing every day because so much alcohol is being sold in the area”, this was said before she took another sip of her beer. Although everyone confirmed that the rape of small children, as in children under the age of 12, is occurring, they believe that the rape of teenagers and adult woman is definitely much higher than that of small children. For me it’s always fascinating to hear the men confirming that rape in an area, such as the one I was in, is very bad, and wonder how many of them are guilty of that exact offence.
It was also confirmed that there are no support facilities of any kind for victims of rape in these out of the way areas and the only facilities and support structures are provided in the major centres, the closest for this particular area being in Tsumeb, which is about 140 kilometres away. A woman did however say that she ‘thinks’ there is a support facility in Oshakati, which is closer at about 100 kilometres away, so I look forward to visiting there on Friday and hopefully talking to someone and to get confirmed information on the situation.
As I said, I was intending to stop somewhere along the road between Tsumeb and Ondangwa and sleep over, but I didn’t find anywhere to stay over within the distance I wanted to be from Ondangwa and so continued through to Ondangwa. Jacques de Jager, the General Manager of the Protea Hotel in Walvis Bay who had so kindly provided me with top notch accommodation in Walvis Bay, arranged accommodation for me in Ondangwa with Schalk van Niekerk, the General Manager of the Ondangwa Protea Hotel, the accommodation however was arranged for tomorrow night (Thursday night the 13th), and so as I drove into the Protea Hotel grounds I was holding both thumbs very tightly and praying that Schalk was going to be able to help me out. I explained to Tomas the receptionist who I was and on checking his records he confirmed that I was booked in for tomorrow night.
I explained my predicament and in seconds Schalk was on the line welcoming me to the hotel and instructed Tomas to book me in for an extra night. I know I have said this many times, but I’m afraid I have to say it again, it’s incredible how many amazing people I am blessed to meet on this project/crusade of mine, and so once again I have met yet another incredible person in the form of Sckalk van Niekerk, Manager of the Ondangwa Protea Hotel.
Thursday the 13th May (today) was a public holiday here in Namibia, and so I spent the day driving around the area. It’s hard to believe that this area, about 20 years ago was probably one of the hottest, as in military action, operational areas in Africa, probably the hottest being where I will be visiting for my birthday on the 24th, namely Katima Mulilo, but right now the place is peaceful and the people are incredibly friendly.
A short way out of Ondangwa on the Oshakati road, I came across a pub, that’s actually an understatement because as I said there is one virtually every 100 metres, but this one had a name that really ‘hit home’ for me. I have mentioned previously about a friend of mine, Kevin Whitney who owns a pub in Tulisa Park/Jo’burg called “Diversity Pub and Club”. Well this pub that caught my eye is also called “Diversity Park Pub”, and so I could not resist stopping and indulging in a beer.
The other interesting spot I saw just outside town is something I have mentioned to family and friends numerous times and I have seen this so many times but I keep forgetting to take a photo to show them what I am talking about and that is the frequently found roadside butchery.
I have to admit that I did, while travelling through Africa on my ‘African Odyssey’ project, purchase chunks of meat from the roadside butchery’s on a number of occasions, and can confirm that I am still alive, but here in Namibia there are a number of top chain stores such as Spar and Shop-rite and Pick ŉ Pay where one can buy good meat at reasonable prices, so I tend to stick to them.
Before I close off, this has been probably one of my longest blog’s to date, but it did cover two days so I hope I am forgiven, but I would like to mention that this evening I watched an incredibly interesting movie on the ‘Mnet action channel’ called ‘Silent Fall’ which was about the severe mental stress associated with child rape. This is a factor which has been pushed under the carpet for years by mothers who have forced their kids, who have been raped, particularly by fathers and other family members, to live with the mental stress by not reporting it and depriving the child of getting the proper and desperately needed support and counselling it needs. I have mentioned this in my ‘Proposal to the President’ in my ‘Solution to Stopping the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children’ in South Africa and identified the fact that I personally believe that it is this exact failure of mothers to report the rape of their children that has led to the extremely high antisocial behaviour and crime situation we are experiencing in South Africa. So if you missed the movie I can tell you it is well worth watching.
So now it’s time to sign off and hopefully I can find someone with internet so that I can send my blog’s off to Gail so she can update my website. I also hope to get to an internet café soon so that I can respond to a lot of emails I know need my attention. So I apologise to those people who have emailed me and not received responses, but I will hopefully be able to do it soon.
So stay well, stay safe and above all KEEP ALL CHILDREN SAFE.
Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
Please keep sending your comments and opinions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise to respond soon.
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