Posted a few days later due to Internet issues.
July 21st, 2013
Purgatory is real, and it lies between the Neudamm Campus and the Gobabeb Desert. A baron landscape of African nothingness. It’s current occupants: three cows, a beetle and an ostrich, or at least that’s what I have seen so far. It’s newest members are nine Americans and Dennis, the driver, riding in a 20 something passenger van, down a single lane dirt road made entirely out of bumps. In the distance there are silhouettes of mountains towering from the sand, miles and miles away. This land for some reason does not feel like the same part of the world we just left. It does have some beauty to it, in an open range, Wild West kind of way. I can imagine cowboys and wagon caravans trekking across the undiscovered country terrain, hoping to reach a new, better destination to call home, if only for a little while. It’s kind of like we are on a wagon trail, headed to a new destination for our journey. The destination is Gobabeb Desert. I guess I am a little homesick, thus is why I use the cowboy references. They remind me of home back in Texas. Though cowboys are rare these days, we do have that image engraved in our history. I was reminded about this last night, when our one of our host, Dr. Wingenbach’s colleague, Dr. Schneider, invited us to his home for a final goodbye dinner. He seemed to be fascinated by cowboys and Wild West lawmen. So much so, that he has recently ordered himself a white Stetson. A South African, former commercial pilot and a dean of a college sporting a 10 gallon Stetson, a very interesting man to say the least. Dr. Schneider mentioned a few books to me to help me gain a better knowledge of this newborn country, Namibia. I will be interested in checking them out when I get back to the States. I do not know any of the history of this part of the country. It is so desolate, and there are rarely signs of life, I do not know how there can be any history. Maybe there were tribes people that lived here once. I just do not know how that is possible, or maybe I am just not looking hard enough. I would ask Dennis, but he is a very intimidating looking fellow. I think I’ll just continue sitting here in the back of the bus staring off into the desert. I did manage to catch a glimpse of a small desert fox in the distance, so maybe there is more hope for life. Maybe the history is not with the people of this land, but with the animals. These creatures have evolved and are able to survive out here on very little. That is pretty remarkable. We are headed North, so luckily it is warming up a bit. I couldn’t necessarily tell you how much it has warmed up because the A/C on our Conestoga wagon works pretty well. It does not feel like winter anymore like it did at Neudamm Campus. I hear the desert nights are harsh though, and temperatures can dropped drastically, so I’m not real excited about that. I guess the alternative to being in this situation would be 106 degree in Texas. I’ll take the winter, it is only really bad in the mornings, but after that first cup of coffee, everything is golden. I am not really sure what our accommodations are going to be at Gobabeb. It can be anything from a hut to a resort, we will just have to see when we get there.
Well, we arrived about an hour before sunset, to a small community of adobe buildings strewn across several hectares of desert. It is very picturesque, resembling a desert motel from a movie set. It has it’s redeeming qualities for being smack dab in the middle of God’s green Earth. Well, it’s not very green out here, but you get the idea. In the distance are the dunes we have heard so much about. Hopefully tomorrow we will go hike those and see what this land is really about. We have been given a mission to rephotograph the fauna of the area for the Gobabeb Research Facility’s archives. Scorpions, spiders and beetles, etc. etc. It should be interesting rolling around in the sand, trying to capture these deadly creatures in their natural habitat. Aside from the group photography project, I have been given a special assignment. Along with the current faculty of the center, I am supposed to help create a new informational video to help promote the activities and going-ons around the facility. I was given this project based on my previous education in video production. It has been awhile since I held a video camera, but much like riding a bike, somethings you never forget. I am sure it will all come back to me. I am both excited to help a World recognized organization, yet nervous at the same time. We’ll see how it goes. I previously mentioned the winter season of this hemisphere, well it came back swiftly as soon as the sun fell. It’s so dark out here, I kind of enjoy it. The stars outside are mesmerizing with beauty. You have to travel pretty far back home to see so many stars. Here, I can just walk out of my bungalow door and the whole sky is lit up like diamonds. I failed to mention our accommodations here. We are staying in a fourplex type bungalow. The guys in one room and the girls in another, the other two I assume are vacant. I am not sure, but I believe we are the only visitors right now. Our new cook staff is phenomenal, tonight they fed us lasagna, greek salad and a vegetable medley. I think we were most excited about the variety of teas we got to try, or at least I was. We had our usual joking and what not at dinner, nothin has changed there. Now we are full, have returned to the girls room and we are finishing our homework assignments, blogs and what not. It’s getting pretty close to bedtime though for me. On that note, I think I will rest my mind, and call it quits on writing for tonight.