Our guide, Siegfried, was another example of Namibian emphasis on education
and self-improvement. Siegfried had
as a janitor/baggage handler in a
tourist lodge and soon realized that the driver/guides made much more money
that he could ever aspire to doing the job he could perform.
So he decided that he must get more training and experience so he could move
ahead. He took advantage of some training courses offered in Windhoek but
decided he needed more in-depth education than was available in Namibia. So he
applied to the Phinda training program in South Africa at one of the premier
national parks of that country. He was accepted and lived and worked there for a
couple of years as he learned about the flora, fauna, geology and geography of
Southern Africa. He also received training in how to guide effectively, manage safari
vehicles, and work with difficult tourists as well as the usual kind. Then he returned to
Namibia with his new credentials and has been a tour guide and assistant camp
manager for over 10 years.
Of course, our conversations were with people in the tourist trade, so the emphasis
was on education/training for those careers. But Martin, a British citizen who lives in
Namibia full-time, assured us that educational opportunities are available in
many fields through the emphasis on childhood and high school education.
University is not free but is priced within the range of many students and financial
support is also available.
Siegfried took us on the long trip that would take us to our chance to experience
the gorgeous red dunes and to see the head-stander beetle. It was 110 kms away from
our beautiful lodge but we got to see more of the countryside from the road rather
than the air, so the ride was an extra too.
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