Welcome to Africa…. we made it to Namibia!
We’re currently in the Chameleon Hostel which is a fairly nice place to stay in the capital, Windhoek, which has a very friendly resident Meerkat. It keeps looking at us strangely but seems used to tourists. Our room has this weird mural/tapestry thing that looks like a cross between a tribal leader and the Pringles man. Me and Dan B have named it Gertrude and now we can’t stop laughing!
On Wednesday after arriving at the school we all had either Fish and Chips or KFC for lunch before sorting through our bags and completing last minute paperwork. I did add something to my bag though – not something I forgot but we were told that the locals in Namibia would be really interested in our lives and where we come from so I took loads of photos but thought it would be a good idea to take a school prospectus too. We will be seeing their school I think they will enjoy seeing ours. The rest of the day we mainly played games (football, basketball etc) and chatted to each other before sleeping on the very hard floor of the school gym!
Thursday morning we spent checking the World Challenge equipment such as tents and checked that everything else was there before heading up in convoy in two school minibuses (one for us, one for the equipment) to Heathrow Airport. As the person that did the majority of work organising this trip I was nominated as the team leader until we get to Johannesburg and managed to get everybody through Heathrow fairly quickly. South African Airways did a good job of checking us in and we were soon in the departure lounge waiting for our flight. We’ll have a different leader every day I but we’re there a month so I’ll be the leader again at some point.
After a 10 hour flight we arrived in Johannesburg airport and I managed to lose something – my bum-bag containing all of my money, passport etc. Luckily I remembered seeing it at the baggage scanner in the transit area so I went back there to collect it and after filling out a form and bribing the customs official with 20 rand I got it back. I then went back up and met the others before realising something else was missing – my top. I didn’t remember using it on the plane so must have left it at Heathrow when the rather large security man decided I needed searching and I had to put everything down. Luckily there was a good outdoors store in Johannesburg airport so I bought a new fleece. We had a long wait ahead of us so found various ways to amuse ourselves. Dan B decided on this….
After a 10 hour layover we boarded another plane for a short flight to Namibia. When we arrived I had to help the group through immigration – our accommodation for that night had been arranged by our driver so we didn’t know where our first nights accommodation would be for the incoming passenger card. Most of us put the address of the school we’ll be staying for the next 2 weeks, but a few people didn’t put anything and got queried by the woman on immigration. Luckily this matter didn’t involve bribery! We spent most of the rest of the day drinking and playing pool in the hostel before having an early night.
I had my first African shower last night – it was outside in the courtyard and very cold which came as a bit of a shock. We have just had eggs and toast for breakfast (a few people decided on eggy bread instead) and should be leaving the hostel soon. We’ll be stopping off in the city to exchange money, buying anything we need and then heading off to the town of Gibeon. We’ll finally be able to see the real Africa – we had to stay in Johannesburg airport and arrived after sunset yesterday so haven’t seen any of the continent yet!