Our Visit to Peri Naua Pre-primary School in Otjiwarongo Namibia
by Greg & Janice Mensik
On an August 2011 hunting trip to Namibia several members of our party, Greg and Janice Mensik and Laurel Hill Ward, took time out from their hunting adventures with Ozondjahe Safaris to deliver Safari Club International (SCI) SafariCare Program "Blue Bags" to the Peri Naua Pre-Primary School in the nearby town of Otjiwarango. This school is attended by some 40 children from 3 to 6 years of age, and it is designed to provide the basics in preparation for the compulsory primary level, which begins at ages 6 to 7. School sponsors, including volunteers and Peri Naua (a French Association) believe that education is the cornerstone of development and the only way to break the circle of poverty.
After our initial greetings and introductions, we shared the contents of each bag with the teachers and children. The bags included items that the hunters and others from our contingent had gathered while still in the United States such as: felt-tip markers and paint sets, books, blankets, California grown rice, clothes and games. Upon completion, teachers and the entire class expressed their gratitude in several songs that they performed for us! It was uplifting to see their enthusiasm and appreciation as they let us know that our combined efforts would contribute to the quality of their schooling experience. One of our party, Laurel, has a background in teacher preparation at California State University, Chico and hopes to return to work with the teachers at the school for a month next year!
We certainly hope that our visit, which was facilitated by Monique Escurat, who co-founded the school along with Peri Naua, as well as Christine Van Der Vyver from Ozondjahe Safaris, was as rewarding for all involved as it was for the three of us! Hunters and SCI through SafariCare can definitely make a difference, and we encourage other hunters to get involved in the "Blue Bag" program!