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Tue
18
May '10

Day 230-232: Friday to Sunday, 14-16 May 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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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:

Beares
Lubners
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

Friday started off with firstly waking up to yet another beautiful, sunny day, a bright blue sky, a visit to the Beares store in Ondangwa, followed by a trip to the two Beares stores in Oshakati, 35 kilometres north of Ondangwa. But first I thanked Schalk van Niekerk, the General Manager and Maria, of the Ondangwa Protea Hotel, for their friendship and generous support to the project in the form of the sponsored luxury accommodation in the lovely ‘Ondangwa Protea Hotel’.

<i>Schalk van Niekerk, Maria and me, I’m sure I don’t need to point out who is who</i>

Schalk van Niekerk, Maria and me, I’m sure I don’t need to point out who is who

Then it was off to meet the friendly guys and ladies of Beares Ondangwa. Ondangwa is quite a difficult place to describe. The people are friendly, and there is definitely some big things planned for the area, what with all the lovely centres being built and a few new businesses’s being established, but there is something missing, and for the life of me I could not put my finger on it. The town is just not developing at the same rate as the other towns I have visited in Namibia and I don’t know why not, and everyone I spoke to seems to agree with me.

<i>Meet the glamorous RAM, and that by the way stands for ‘<b>R</b>egional <b>A</b>dmin <b>M</b>anager’, just in case you were wondering, Michelle Opperman, who happened to be visiting the Ondangwa store at the same time as me</i>

Meet the glamorous RAM, and that by the way stands for ‘Regional Admin Manager’, just in case you were wondering, Michelle Opperman, who happened to be visiting the Ondangwa store at the same time as me

<i>The <b>Beares</b> staff of Ondangwa</i>

The Beares staff of Ondangwa

From Ondangwa ‘Buddy and Me’ continued on our journey to Oshakati, which as I said is 35 kilometres north of Ondangwa. Here ‘Buddy and Me’ first visited the great guys forming the team of Beares Oshakati (1), this being in the Etango Shopping Centre, where I was fortunate enough to meet my first Beares Regional Director, Willie Steyn, and the Regional Manager Boete Losper. Man I couldn’t believe it, three larnies in one day, first Michelle – the ‘RAM’ of the region and then Boete the Regional Manager and to crown it all, Willie the Regional Director.

<i>Meet the staff of the <b>Beares</b> Etango Centre and the larnies of the region, Boete on the extreme left and the other big larnie, looking cool and collected in spite of the really heavy pressure job he has, is Willie Steyn on Boete’s left</i>

Meet the staff of the Beares Etango Centre and the larnies of the region, Boete on the extreme left and the other big larnie, looking cool and collected in spite of the really heavy pressure job he has, is Willie Steyn on Boete’s left

From the Etango Centre ‘Buddy and Me’ drove the couple of hundred metres to the second Beares store which is situated in the ‘Oupa’ Frans Indongwa Centre. Here I was welcomed by a really great bunch of individuals. The acting manager, Bernadine Goliath really made me feel at home and soon had half the ladies of the store involved in producing what they believe is the best entry in my Beares managers/store visit book, and I must say to those Beares staff still to come, you have quite a job on your hands to match or beat the entry these ladies did in the book.

I started this book on my last project, but this project the book has taken on a completely new dimension, and one needs to see it to appreciate it. The comments and messages from the store managers and staff have been quite an inspiration to me, especially on days and nights that I have, after having a particularly bad day, not that I have many of them, but we all experience them, especially after being involved in a project/crusade associated with the devastating facts of the subject I am involved with, namely the total and calculated destruction of a child’s life by way of rape and sexual abuse. But to Bernadine and your dedicated staff, you have my sincere and appreciated thanks for your kind words and effort in beautifying the Beares book. To Andrea, Tony and Bev at Beares head office; you have the first book which contains the first 121 stores messages on this project, well the second book will knock your boots and socks off.

<i>This is also the first picture taken of <b>Beares</b> staff actually holding the page containing the message to <b>‘Buddy and Me’</b> so to Bernadine and the staff of <b>Beares</b> in Oshakati <b>Frans Indongwa Centre</b>, thank you, your message is greatly and sincerely appreciated</i>

This is also the first picture taken of Beares staff actually holding the page containing the message to ‘Buddy and Me’ so to Bernadine and the staff of Beares in Oshakati Frans Indongwa Centre, thank you, your message is greatly and sincerely appreciated

On my last trip to the Oshakati area which was on my ‘African Odyssey’ project while ‘Searching for a Solution to Child Rape’, I had stayed over in a small guest house called the ‘Hilma MpinganaTshilongo-Pauly Guest House’ which is owned and run by ‘The Evangelical Lutheran Church’ in Namibia, ‘The Western Diocese’. After finishing my visits to the two Beares stores in Oshakati, I stopped off at a couple of places offering accommodation, but all proved far too expensive for my meagre budget and so not being able to secure sponsored accommodation remembered the Hilma Mpingana Guest House and sought it out.

When I located it, I pulled up at the front door and after knocking on the front door it was opened by the same lady who had managed the place on my last visit, Ester. On seeing me and Buddy parked behind me, immediately got this big grin on her face and said “Steve! My goodness how are you”. Well when someone greets you like that after not having seen you for four years, you must know that you must have made a hell of an impression on the individual. To cut a long story short, she welcomed me in and so that is where I spent my weekend.

<i>Meet Ester, the manger of the <b>‘Hilma Mpingana Guest House</b> – Ongwadiva / Oshakati</i>

Meet Ester, the manger of the ‘Hilma Mpingana Guest House – Ongwadiva / Oshakati

<i>The whole complex, with Buddy and the trailer securely tucked away on the left</i>

The whole complex, with Buddy and the trailer securely tucked away on the left

To put a cap on this incredible story, after getting settled in, Ester produced the Beares teddy bear I had given her on my last visit, as I usually do to people who help me during this project, and as I did with Ester on my last visit, and the bear was in immaculate condition, she had obviously treasured it.

Saturday was spent, apart from driving around the area chatting to the local community, catching up with my washing, yep you might not think it but I do this chore on a regular basis, after all I don’t have a washer-woman accompanying me, so washing it was.

<i>And here’s the proof, and it was done the difficult way nogal, a plastic basin and a lot of back breaking effort</i>

And here’s the proof, and it was done the difficult way nogal, a plastic basin and a lot of back breaking effort

<i>and here’s the finished product</i>

and here’s the finished product

Apart from this chore, of course a lot of time, because of my poor typing skills, was spent doing my blog’s, oh and cooking and planning the next project. During the late afternoon while I was sitting on the front veranda, map in hand as usual, planning the next project, and generally just enjoying the moment, Ester came out and made the comment “Steve you never sit still and do nothing, you are always busy with something, even when you are sitting still, do you never rest?”

<i>Enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the moment</i>

Enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the moment

But I was soon rewarded and considered myself blessed to be able to experience yet another amazing sunset in Africa, and believe me, at this point I just sat in wonder, not doing a thing, just admiring a beautiful picture materialising in front of my eyes, you have to see it to appreciate it.

<i>This is truly worth all the heartache and sad moments associated with undertaking a project of this nature and subject</i>

This is truly worth all the heartache and sad moments associated with undertaking a project of this nature and subject

<i>And of course everyone has to eat sometime, so it was soon back to work, cooking</i>

And of course everyone has to eat sometime, so it was soon back to work, cooking

Tonight it was fried chicken with garlic, ginger, lots of cayenne pepper and onions, with a few potatoes thrown in for good measure, man it was good. Ester’s comment was that she has never seen a man cook, and said that in all the years that she has been married her husband has never cooked once. I explained that if I couldn’t or didn’t I would definitely end up starving to death.

There is a strange phenomenon about the roads in Oshakati, and it is only in this town that I have ever experienced it and that is that all car tyres squeak on the road surface. When I first heard it I thought my tyres were maybe soft, but I noticed the sound coming from every car that passed me or pulled up next to me at a traffic light or stop street. It’s really weird and at one point I stopped and actually studied the road surface and could not detect anything significantly different to any other tar road surface. So if anyone can explain this phenomenon please email me, I would dearly like to know what causes it.

This morning, Sunday the 16th May dawned yet another beautiful day, although for a change it was rather chilly and when I drove out of the Oasis Guest House after thanking Hilda for her kind friendship and hospitality, I was wearing my jacket for the first time in quite sometime, but within and hour and a half the jacket came off and it was once again blistering hot. The 358 kilometre trip back to Tsumeb and then on to Grootfontein, took ‘Buddy and Me’ five and a half hours to drive with us arriving in Grootfontein at a little after 2pm.

<i>Looking back from a railway bridge towards Ondangwa and Oshakati, about 300 kilometres away, typical countryside through the entire trip. Tsumeb is 4 kilometres to the left</i>

Looking back from a railway bridge towards Ondangwa and Oshakati, about 300 kilometres away, typical countryside through the entire trip. Tsumeb is 4 kilometres to the left

<i>Welcome to Grootfontein</i>

Welcome to Grootfontein

While I was in Swakopmund and was hosted accommodation by Loraine Cooper of ‘Footprints’, she had contacted another good Samaritan by the name of Suranda who together with her husband Dirk Grundeling, owns ‘The Courtyard Guesthouse’ in Grootfontein and who on hearing about the project and the fact that I needed two nights accommodation during my visit to Grootfontein, immediately offered me accommodation on a sponsored basis. So what can I say, yep I am definitely blessed with meeting so many incredibly wonderful people.

(Pic 83 – <i>This is the ‘court yard’ taken from the front door of my room, a really lovely place with tremendously friendly and hospitable people as well</i>

(Pic 83 – This is the ‘court yard’ taken from the front door of my room, a really lovely place with tremendously friendly and hospitable people as well

The Courtyard Guesthouse contact details for when you visit Grootfontein and need a great and friendly place to stay is: e-mail: platinum@iway.na Tel & fax: 067-240027

To close off my blog for the weekend, I would like to say that if I had thought that the crime of child rape is being swept under the carpet and covered up in South Africa; here in Namibia it’s even worse. A visit to the Oshakati police station in an attempt to talk to someone on the subject once again proved a waist of time, as was the case in Otjiewarongo. Nobody would speak to me and I was in fact told in no uncertain terms that I must not speak to “anyone” on this subject. When I asked if there were any NGO’s in the area, or child welfare organisations who provide support for child rape victims I was given a look that could kill and it was again emphasised that “nobody” is authorised to talk to me about this subject. End of storey goodbye!

And so all that is left for me to formulate an idea on what is occurring in this country as far as the rape and sexual abuse of children is concerned, are the comments and opinions which have been given to me by the members of the communities I have chattered to in the Ondangwa/Oshakati and other areas who have confirmed that although they are aware that the rape of young children is occurring, they believe that the rape of teenage and adult woman is occurring on a much larger scale. So with that comment, be it good or bad, I must leave it for now, who knows maybe I will get lucky in Grootfontein and meet a friendly cop or individual from an NGO who is prepared to talk to me on the subject of child rape in Namibia.

So from ‘Buddy and Me’ here in Grootfontein, we wish you a good night for this Sunday night the 16th May, and hope you have a safe and really productive week, and above all, keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
Please continue sending your comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za. I’m going to try and get to an internet café tomorrow and see if I can get into my emails and hopefully respond to all those who are awaiting responses. So hang in there I promise to respond as soon as I can.

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