Last night I was given the opportunity to go to a fundraising event in Luderitz, put on by the Mayor’s Council. I was really excited to see how this event would go, because I’m pretty sure it was the beginning of raising awareness and funds to build this shelter for abused women and children. Leaders of businesses and other important groups in town were at the dinner, ready to hear about the project and show their support. To begin the night, as custom of all the Namibian events I’ve been to so far, the “director of ceremonies” addresses everyone in the crowd, which takes at least 5 minutes. You’d think that would be the last time everyone is addressed, but nope whenever someone new comes to speak he/she also addresses everyone of importance all the way down to ‘ladies and gentlemen.’
The event had performances by a band from Rehoboth, a keynote address by the Regional Chancellor of the Karas Region of Namibia, an auction of two rugby items, and a raffle. The really exciting part, though, was the pledging. One by one, representatives of different businesses/community leaders/members of the community came forward and pledged money they would donate to the project, or items that would be needed in the future house. By the end of the pledging ceremony, people had pledged amounts of cement, bricks, blankets, mattresses, sheets, cutlery, plates, a TV, a microwave, toys, and over N$100,000! In addition, someone came forward and said that the shelter house could start up in a building her failed business had been in until the new house could be built, which is just amazing! I really hope to be able to get involved with this project in some way when I get back from Christmas break in January, so fingers crossed.
On a different note, I feel like I reached a huge milestone last night, when I successfully hid my blackberry in my shirt. Namibian women don’t really carry purses that often so as to discourage theft, which is just as well for me since my purse sadly did not survive the epic journey down to Luda [RIP, it was a great purse]. However, as easy it has been store money in the ‘natural purse’ as my host mom calls it, my phone is of a pretty large size and I’ve struggled trying to find a way to fit it in. But last night I made it work without it being noticeable!!! It was a big day, bigger than my accomplishment Friday when, after almost three months I finally bought a real towel, wow I had completely forgotten how awesome full-sized towels were.