Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Medecins San Frontieres - Dubai We Care

Recently a Special Project to promote awareness of the organization Medecins Sans Frontieres - MSF was spearheaded by Mr. Mark Morgan. Over sixty class rooms through out Dubai, UAE were visited by Mark and his team of helpers to inform the 8 year old students of MSF activities around the globe, in the areas of humanitarianism and volunteer work. Following each talk, there was then a question answer period and then each class was asked to create a piece of artwork that they thought expressed what they had learned about Medecins Sans Frontieres.  

I had recently volunteered to work with Medecins San Frontieres, offering to provide any photographic services they might need. It was a pleasure to work with Mark and Medecins San Frontieres. They are a wonderful organization providing care and aid to many troubled spots around the world.  I photographed all sixty artworks for them and the photographs were used to promote the up coming exhibition in newsprint media, as well as by Medecins San Frontieres and its website.

The exhibition, called "The Wall of Life", was held at the Dubai Mall of the Emirates.  It was a huge success with over a quarter of a million people viewing the artworks and many, many people coming forward, offering to volunteer for Medecins San Frontieres, in various capacities in the future.

I thought you would enjoy and appreciate seeing the enormous amount of creativity and work that each class put into their art projects. I wish I could share all sixty artworks with you.  They were all so well done!

Congratulations to Mark Morgan, his team of helpers and to all the students and teachers who worked so hard to create such a wonderful exhibition. 

I look forward to working more with Medecins San Frontieres in the future. 

 If you would like to learn more about Medecins San Frontieres - MSF, please visit their website at

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Purros is a Herero Village

 It's early morning in Purros and we are ready to explore.

Even the animals are up and on the move.

I mentioned to Onea, the waiter at our hotel and whose home is Purros, that I would love to be able to meet some Herero women. He said he would be happy meet us after our visit to the local school and introduce us to the wife of the Village Chief. 

Those of you who are quilters and textile lovers would also love to spend time with the Herero women. They wear very distinctive dress which is characterized by long, brightly colored dresses and hats that are reminiscent of the Victorian Era.  The Herero speak the same language as the Himba, which is Oshi Herero. Unlike the Himba though, when these people came in contact with the missionaries, who were offended by their semi-nakedness, they were encouraged to wear what the  missionaries thought was appropriate clothing.  They adopted and have continued to wear these clothes as their traditional dress since that time.

This is the Chief's wife. I especially loved her dress.  The various patterns in the fabrics of her dress and the way it was constructed reminded me of a quilt.

When we arrived to meet her, she was in the yard with two friends sharing the day's news.  

Women are the same the world over.  We like jewelry, makeup, and clothes and discuss it endlessly.
The women said the fabric for their dresses was Chinese and was purchased in Opuwo which is a days drive from Purros.

All three hats were of the same design and they said that once the hat is made a stick or light weight board is placed inside to hold the shape.

The sun is hot and harsh in Africa and I realized very quickly sitting in full sun how useful the hat shape was for providing shade and helping to keep them cool.

That harsh sun does provide some fantastic sunsets over the village of Purros though.

Our time in this frontier town has been so interesting!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Purros School, Purros Namibia

The Purros School is located on the edge of the settlement.  We spent some time at the school, while delivering the school supplies that we had brought with us to donate. 

The one room school was built and donated by the Wildness Safari Company in tandem with another NGO. The desks, chairs and books are supplied by the Namibian Government.

Because the school serves a wide age range of children and due to space restrictions, they erected this tent right next to the school which serves as a second classroom. 
One of the volunteers who built the school must have been an artist.  The whole one wall of the classroom is a mural depicting some of the animals of Namibia and the local area. I am sure the local animals often wander through the village uninvited, on a regular basis.

This young man is one of the teachers for the school.  He is in his late 20's and has been posted to Purros by the government.  He said he enjoys his position, the students, and the area and hopes he will be allowed to stay a few years in Purros, before he is transferred to another area.

 The Purros School has students that range in age from five years to eleven/thirteen years old.

After that age, students will go to school in Sesfontain where they will board during the week and travel home for the weekends.  Due to the rough road conditions between Sesfontain and Purros, it is not possible for them to come home on a daily basis.

They showed us what lessons they were working on.

 And what books they were using.

Kids act the same all over the world, no matter where you find them!

 We enjoyed having the opportunity to meet the young students of Purros.

 These bright minds are the future of Namibia.

My husband Mike enjoyed his time at school too but we have determined he is too tall for the desks!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

On the Road to Purros

Purros is located in the north west most part of Namibia, not far from the border. It is the last bit of civilization before crossing over to Angola.  Purros is a true frontier town. We were told that we could get close to a Himba village, from this location. We headed out into a whole lot of nothingness. 
We didn't pass many cars in route and we figured it was best to let those who know the local terrain and seem bent on taking the lead, to let them forge ahead.

Sometimes the road did get pretty crowed though. 
We had been told this was a very desolate drive but we didn't realise how desolate it could get.  They always warn you to keep your gas tank at least 1/2 full and that was our plan. Unfortunately the gas station at Kamanjab was closed but we thought no problem, we will get gas in Sesfontain. Unfortunately, we missed this gas station, as it was far off the road, with no signs leading to it. So we headed deep into the dry, desert scape, with far less than 1/2 tank.

This is the gas station we missed and didn't find until on our return. By then we were running on fumes.  We were never so happy to find a gas station, even if it didn't have many services.

In route to Purros, we passed only a couple of homes, such as this one.  How they survive on this bleak land, we have no idea. Each house had laundry hanging out to dry.  I'm not sure where they get their water from. 

Boabab trees spring up in the most unlikely places. 
And sometimes they grow right out of the rocks.

The dust devils in route were breathtaking, especially when it seemed they were going to swallow the truck and anything else in their path. Some grew to quite large sizes and seemed pretty powerful, spewing dust and debris everywhere.

The last 109 Kms to Purros is over two track road for which you MUST have a 4X4, as the road snakes through sugar sand, dry wadi beds, and very rough rutted patches. Thankfully our Toyota truck did better than this one. Who ever was in this vehicle had a long walk! Now I understand why many people take a bush plane to Purros.
We arrive in Purros late in the afternoon. Amazing country!  This is Purros from a small knoll over looking the town. 
And this is a close up view.  Not a gas station to be had!
This is the view from the opposite direction. Desolate, but stunning nonetheless.
Man and animal have to be tough and resillent to survive in this environment. This is home to the rare desert elephant which we were lucky to see. There are not many in the area.  They are smaller than the normal African elephants and can survive for long periods on very little water. 
 Even the giraffe in this area are somewhat smaller but what is most noticeable is their coat is very faint and washed out looking.  They think it may be because they don't get enough nutrients from the desert plants.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Crete's Coastline

 Hiking the coast line is a challenge but stunningly beautiful!

So many shades of blue.

And always a breeze.