A huge part of travel and adventure for me is about learning. Trips to Kenya have helped me understand more about what leads to elite performance in running, whilst Mongolia brought it home to me that happiness is more important than having things.
Namibia has a few of the same challenges as parts of Scotland (including a remote and rural locations), and is doing a great job of increasing life expectancy at more than half a year, every year at the moment. We all also wanted to know more about the oldest desert in the world, and it’s stories and traditions.
We also had the chance to share some vital medical diagnostic equipment donated by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, shoes and athletic equipment donated by Merrell UK, and cycling enthusiasts, and other gifts from Bert Jukes and his team. Chief Kooitjee of the Topnaar tribe, his top team and the local medical team, as well as the Mayor of Walvis Bay and the divisional Health Minister shared pearls of wisdom, as well the challenges they face with us. This is the start of a relationship, that with the support of many in Namibia and back home can achieve lasting change.
Both the athletic equipment, and medical equipment was extremely well received. In fact we were honoured to receive the first Topnaar Tribal Appreciation Award given to those outside Namibia- a huge honour. We had some great discussions about the value of sport and physical activity both in the community and nationally, and thoughts on how this can be achieved. The numerous pairs of trainers, and huge amount of clothing from Merrell and others will help support the Topnaar schools and athletics groups, whilst they had a highly impressive cycle team that will benefit from donations received.
We really enjoyed hearing about training and education opportunities for the local health care workers, and discussions are ongoing as to how this can be further assisted. The clinics we saw had fantastic staff, that the donations from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, and many other groups and individuals drew praise from, while the Health Minister present also expressed her delight at the help received, and opportunities for the future.
For us, to have the chance to eat, sing, and dance, as well as learn and share with new friends from Namibia was a highlight of the trip- and we are so grateful for the generosity of others in helping us with this