Thursday, March 19, 2009

My life in Odibo, Namibia

I lived in Odibo, Namibia - a village 1 km south of the Angolan border - for nearly one year. I taught high school geography and computer science to 8th-12th graders at a mission school. During apartheid, St. Mary's Odibo High School - where I taught - was the only secondary school in South Africa or Namibia to offer English language instruction to blacks. 

St. Mary's has a rich history of educating many of Namibia's leaders, both in government and the Anglican Church; however, it was destroyed during the War for Independence and reopened in 2002. The school was in shambles at that time. The learners (as they call them in Namibia) had no toilets and constant problems with running water. 

When I arrived in 2007 the school was on the road to recovery, with a student body of more than 400 learners ranging from ages 12 - 27. 

I have had a difficult time writing or talking about my experience in Odibo since I returned in November of 2008 but what I can say is that I was moved on a daily basis. Everything was unfamiliar and confusing. I often felt like I couldn't relate to anyone or anything that I encountered. I was completely out of my comfort zone, often quite lonely, but I loved teaching. It was the most rewarding experience of my life and I simply can't imagine anything topping it except being a parent. 


  1. it's wonderful to see of these thoughts in written down...

  2. Hullo Erin,
    I too taught at Odibo, about 36 years before you did., during Like you, I was "moved, on a daily basis". Thank you for being a part of its recovery!
    Surely that top photo isn't Odibo! Or does it really look like that now? And what's with all that smoke?
    Thanks to being reunited with one of 'my' former students as a result of something I recently posted in my blog, I'm returning in June for a visit, for the first time since the SA govt expelled me in '71. Google "GHOSTLY BUBBLE: My Odibo students"
    As you'll see there, one of My former students who you might have known at Odibo since I gather he works there, is Loth Chappel Haukongo.

    Antoinettee ('Toni') Halberstadt