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Ohangwena

18 photos.

Ponhofi students at farewell party, Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 Ponhofi students at farewell party
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
"teacher-student basketball game, Ponhofi Senior Secondary School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 teacher-student basketball game, Ponhofi Senior Secondary School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
This was my field of dreams. After three years of playing basketball on the unsurfaced, dusty netball court, with no nets or backboards and tiny rims, we finally found funding for a real basketball court. Playing in the teacher-student game at the end of the year was a dream come true. The girls picked up the game with amazing speed, probably because they could transfer the skills they knew from netball, a similar sport. The court was an expensive development project and hastened the inevitable Americanisation of the world, but it would be nice if every school in the North could have one. On the right is an enormous omukwiyu (wild fig) tree, good for shade and a popular hangout for kids and goats.
"staff, Ponhofi Senior Secondary School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 staff, Ponhofi Senior Secondary School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
Greg Vogl (me), physics and computer teacher, USA, Monika Katanga, secretary, Namibia, Tuyeni Ndaikile, Kwanyama teacher, Namibia, Martha (Katiti) Nhinda, Kwanyama teacher, Namibia, Irene Carolissen, English teacher, Namibia, Saima Amunyela, Kwanyama teacher, Namibia, Lydia (Ivawa) Munghadi, biology teacher, Namibia, Liam Garvey, mathematics teacher, Australia, Julie Murphy, accounting teacher, Scotland, Philip Shimhanda, natural economy teacher, Namibia, Emmanuel Edomwande (seated), biology teacher, Nigeria, Eric Kemanya, English teacher, Namibia, Mark Fleming, mathematics teacher, Scotland, Mary (Maria) Nashandi, business studies teacher, Namibia, Peter Maswahu, agriculture teacher, Namibia, Lucky (Nhlanhla) Lupahla, mathematics teacher, Zimbabwe, Michael Kavungo, Vice-Principal and English teacher, Namibia, Håkon Hermanstrand, English teacher, Norway
students in chemistry class, Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 students in chemistry class
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
"computer lab, Ponhofi school", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 computer lab, Ponhofi school
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
"House 19, Ponhofi School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 House 19, Ponhofi School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
I lived in this house with a Nigerian entomologist. There were plenty of insects for him to study.
"House 16, Ponhofi School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 House 16, Ponhofi School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
I stayed in this house in late 1995 with Liam Garvey from Australia.
"Red, white and blue tin house", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997 Red, white and blue tin house
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1997
I passed this abandoned shack in the middle of an empty lot whenever going into town. I took this photo the morning I left Ohangwena. Elago Elago writes: As it's painted in DTA colours, I suspect it's an abandoned DTA cardboard type pre-fabricated office. The DTA had quite many of those (and mobile ones) in the 4 northern regions and after losing quite a lot of support, they simply abandoned what they couldn't take along.
"Class 11C, Ponhofi School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 Class 11C, Ponhofi School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
Most of the girls were in the required uniform most of the time, but the boys preferred to pretend to be rebels. In many schools, students cannot afford to buy a uniform, but at Ponhofi this was mostly a false excuse. The students were generally friendly, polite and well-behaved. They tried incredibly hard, despite their limited exposure to English, so although the teachers did not enforce discipline well, they usually did not have to. Most students came from rural farms, yet they hoped to get a job in a town or city, where the competition for white-collar jobs is stiff.
"100-yard dash on the football (soccer) field, Ponhofi School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 100-yard dash on the football (soccer) field, Ponhofi School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
Sport and recreation facilities are very limited in rural areas in the North. Sports shoes and uniforms are luxuries that few schools or students can afford. Also, it must be difficult to be an athlete considering the low amount of calories in the diet provided by the hostel cafeteria. Yet some of the boys appeared to have great potential. Sports for girls are not considered very important.
"staff, Ponhofi Senior Secondary School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 staff, Ponhofi Senior Secondary School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
The teachers and staff at Ponhofi were a great team and fun to work with. They were a culturally and linguistically diverse group. Ponhofi had more volunteers than most schools and was relatively overstaffed (average teacher class load was *only* 25 to 30 hours per week out of 40, and average class size was about 35). The cities and relatively nice schools like Ponhofi attract the best teachers and students, so there is a very unequal distribution of talent.
mine field, Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 mine field
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
I passed this mine field every time I walked from the dining hall to the post office. Large armored trucks would drive through the mine fields and set off mines around lunch time. The border between Namibia and Angola remains fairly heavily mined, and many people, especially children, continue to be killed or injured by mines long after the end of the war. Children think the mines are toys and pick them up. An education and de-mining campaign has helped somewhat, but it is much more expensive to de-mine than to mine. The US continues to be one of the few countries that refuses to sign the international treaty banning land mines.
"my first house, Ponhofi School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 my first house, Ponhofi School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
I shared this house with Adams Kamulegeya, a Ugandan maths teacher I later met by chance in Mutukula in 2003, his Owambo wife Letu, their newborn baby, and some chickens (who had the biggest room). It was a modern concrete house with a metal roof, and electricity and running water (most of the time).
goat, Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 goat
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
This goat was slaughtered for a party held by a British volunteer. Goats and cows are a common source of meat in the North, and goat meat tastes good when properly seasoned and cooked.
"high jump, Ponhofi School", Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 high jump, Ponhofi School
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
Makalani palm tree, Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995 Makalani palm tree
Ohangwena, Namibia, 1995
As you drive north towards Ondangwa, you are suddenly surprised by the appearance of these tall trees, which are an indicator of a relatively wet rainy season and of large underground water reserves. Ovambos use every part of the tree, which they call omulunga, e.g. the trunk for stools and cattle troughs, fronds for weaving baskets, eendunga (palm nut fruits) for food and oil, and sap for producing palm wine. Wood of other trees is used for housing, fencing, firewood, furniture, cups, bowls, buckets, fish traps, handles and weapons.