Let’s go back to March, when everything was still an easy wonderland.
On the first of March I drove by shuttle to Walvisbay, where Lea, a German volunteer, was starting a new Canoe Polo & Rowing Project at the navy.
My project manager Anton asked me to help start the new project, spending one week at the coast which was a nice experience to change the air.
I stayed at the volunteer’s flat with Lea, Billie and Julia, where I had a really great time.
Every morning I rode by bike to the navy with Lea, giving canoe polo training to the army. The training lasted 2 hours, from 8 to 10. The navy finally obtained from Windhoek 3 rowing boats and 4 Kanu polo boats which gave the opportunity to the guys to learn new sports.
Lea would have trained them the whole year, she was really good at it.
The guys from the army were much older than us, from 30 to 50 years old but really polite. After breaking the ice at the beginning, the training worked out really well. I enjoyed it a lot.
After the training we rode back home, changed our clothes and got dressed to go to school.
It was really interesting to assist Lea at her PE lessons. It is always good to get some new ideas and new games to use in my school lessons. We played 4 different games and the kids had a lot of fun.
Twice a week Lea gave the children the opportunity to learn a new language, German.
The German class was on Tuesday and Wednesday after school, only for pupils that get good notes.
In the afternoon I was free, so I used it to visit the Fisher town, ride my bike, surf in the ocean, drink coffee, jog with Lea and a lot more.
On Friday I went to Swakopmund, where I spent two nights at the other volunteers’ flat, from Katha, Hannah and Flo. I visited their school and in the afternoon I had swimming classes with Hannah at the Dome, which was a completely different world than I used to live in the last months.
The Dome is a multi-functional venue to facilitate sport and youth development, as well as provide an international standard facility for hosting large scale events, conferences and trade exhibitions.
I also assisted Katha’s athletic training, which was really interesting.
For lunch we had Kapana which was really Lekker, how an afrikaan or german person would say.
On Saturday morning I was really sad to leave but happy to get back to my project, after all this new experience in my rucksack and I was glad to find the heat again, I was freezing at the coast (20 degrees VS the 40 degrees in Windhoek).
On the weekend I went with Lukas (an ASC volunteer) Rosa and Moritz (German volunteers from another organisation) to a really special, extravagant, original farm party. I had been invited one month earlier from some Namibian-German guys.
We had lots of fun and met new people. The only thing is that they only played techno music which isn’t one of my favourite, but after some Amarula (south African liquor) every type of music becomes, how can I say, interesting.
On Monday I was back to Rehoboth, where I went to school every morning giving my PE lessons to the kids, using my new games and ideas from the coast.
On Monday afternoon I brought the girls to the swimming pool, where I had the swimming class from 5 to 7. On Tuesday afternoons, there were the swimming classes for the boys.
On Wednesday I fetched up the advanced group (4 boys: Valentino, Rizardo, Timothy and William, 18 years old) at 5 pm and as usual I brought them to the Canoe Polo training in Windhoek.
The canoe polo training was from 6 to 8, taking place at the Olympia Swimming pool. It is a really good opportunity for the boys and for me to train with the Canoe polo national team. I usually arrive at home at 10 pm on Wednesdays, after bringing every boy back home, but when I lay in my bed, exhausted, thinking about my alarm at 6:30 am the next morning, I was just glad to have that type of life.
On Thursday and Friday I trained the guys at the Oanob Dam, on one day the girls and on the other the boys, from 3 to 5 pm.
Incredible to see the Oanob Dam completely full after the rainy season. We used to walk 200 meters to the shores, now the lake arrives next to the boat houses, which is a dream for Namibia!
On Saturday I had to call it a day and I went to my friends’ farm. It’s always like heaven spending my time there. Anra, a friend of hers, and I used to wake up every morning at 7 to feed all the animals. Then we had breakfast with bacon and fresh eggs from their own chickens.
After breakfast I usually read or listened to music in my bedroom, the sun ws so hot and it’s weekend so no excuses, you can have as many naps as you want!
Before lunch we drove with the Bakkie feeding the horses and the little zebra.
In the afternoon we rode the horses around the farm, which had so much land that even the mountains belong to it.
The weekend was just amazing, I think I was definitely in love with this place.
But the children at school were waiting for me on Monday morning, so I had to go back to Rehoboth.
And suddenly the turning point.
I don’t want to explain everything in detail because in my opinion isn’t so interesting and it still hurts a bit to think about this period of my life.
While I was packing my bags to go back to Rehoboth, the e-mail arrived and I don’t have much time so I will make a long story short, the first 3 cases of the Corona Virus have arrived in Namibia, Germany wanted to get back all the volunteers before the outbreak of the virus in Namibia. Our organisation had booked us a flight on the 21st from Windhoek to Amsterdam. We had no choice, for our safety we had to leave Namibia as soon as possible and fly back home.
What??? I had to stay in Namibia till the 27th of August, I was only halfway through!
I was shocked!
Am I dreaming?
I thought it was just a really bad nightmare!
What was going to happen? How would I say goodbye to all my children? To all the teachers? To all the people that meant to me? But especially how could I say goodbye to Namibia, in such a short time? How was my project going to proceed without me?
All these questions were answered easily, I couldn’t. I couldn’t say goodbye to anyone or anything, I could just say see you again.
Really, I couldn’t believe it but it was real.. yes, it was real.
My heart broke while I was saying goodbye to Anra, the horses, and to the farm..
Aaron came to fetch me up. We were a bit in a hurry, we had to pack everything as soon as possible and go to Windhoek where we were going to spend the next few days. The organisation planned for us to stay for a short period next to the airport, all together with the other volunteers.
I managed to tidy my room and the whole flat and pack my things.
I brought all the clothes that couldn’t fit in my luggage, to my girls from the training. They were the only people I could say goodbye to before leaving. With tears in my eye I gave them all my things and they told me that they were so sad that I was leaving and that they would never forget me. It was a really dramatic situation, I wouldn’t want it to anyone.
After this Aaron and I drove to Windhoek where we spent the time before the flight.
I can say that I enjoyed the last days in Africa. It had no sense to cry the whole time thinking about “what if”.
So we spent the last nights going out, dancing, eating Kapana, buying some souvenirs, having fun with the other volunteers and much more.
Me and other German guys decided to make some Braaids before leaving Namibia which was a really nice last experience and a funny goodbye to the country.
On the 20th we had all dinner together at the Africa Sun guest house, where we got our last recommendations for the journey back home.
Private shuttles came to fetch us up at our flat at 5 am in the morning the day after.
After long hours of queues and controls, we managed to get on the plane from where I had my last point of view of the Namibian country.
“See you soon my dear and take care” I thought in my mind.
I was leaving the most beautiful country I had ever seen without even having time for a real farewell.
The plane took off, and after 10 hours flying we landed in Amsterdam, where the 5 degrees were waiting for me.
You would probably think that my parents were waiting for me at the airport to bring me back to Italy but life would be boring if everything goes how expected.
So yes, all the German parents were at the arrivals to fetch up their guys to bring them back home but for me, the situation was a bit different.
How you probably know I am a German- Belgian living in Italy, which always makes me feel a 100% European.
But I’m sure that you also probably know how the restrictions, due to Covid19, have changed the situation in the EU.
More or less all the borders are closed and it’s really difficult for people to get into a country but it’s much more difficult to get out of it. This is why my parents could not leave Italy to fetch me up.
This is why we decided that the best plan was to wait until the situation was getting better to travel back to Italy. In Belgium, where all my mother’s family lives, the situation is not as strict as in Italy and so I decided to spend the next 2 weeks at my aunt’s house. I slept one night at the airport in Amsterdam and took the day after a train to Brussel. Europe was like a ghost town, no human nowhere.
After 5 hours travelling by train I arrived in the Belgian capital where my aunt picked me up. She lives one hour from the city which is really convenient from a practical point of view.
Her and my cousins welcomed me in such a nice way that made me almost forget my sorrow for leaving Namibia.
I had a really lovely time in Belgium, spending time with my sweet little cousins, eating a lot of Belgian chocolate, having some really nice and cold sunset hike with my aunt and frozen and really slow jogging (it’s getting better).
Finally I found a flight to Italy. Alitalia flew twice a day, daily, from Brussel to Rome.
I booked my flight on the 4th of April so that I could still stay to celebrate my cousin’s birthday on the 2nd of April.
My aunt brought me on the fourth to the airport, with a quick visit before at my grandparents house, which was really important for me, although I couldn’t touch them.
I landed in Rome at 2 pm where bad news waited for me. I had booked a train ticket from Rome to Chiavari which wasn’t possible because all the public transport weren’t allowed anymore.
Luckily an Italian friend of mine, Elena, who studied in Scotland and lives in Genoa, landed the same day in Rome.
We had the same problem and the solutions were two: doing our quarantine in Rome at the airport (at our own costs), which was definitely a joke or rent a car and drive back home.
Elena hasn’t a licence so I would have driven the 5 hours back to Genoa, after six months driving left.. I wasn’t sure we would survive it but.. we did!
After a fabulous journey through the Italian countryside, on one side the Mediterranean Sea and on the other the beautiful green hills, we arrived in Genoa where we left the car at the airport. My mum was waiting for me there.
It felt like a dream but after such a long journey I managed to arrive safe at home. It took me 3 weeks to travel from Windhoek to Leivi (the place where I live in Italy), and I realised how hard it was ages ago when people had to travel from one country to another by horse or by boat, taking more than months to reach their destination.
But I was there, I was in my bedroom (filled with African staff to make me feel I’m back in Namibia to cheer me up a bit) on the 4th April at 11 pm.
That night, I slept 12 hours and when I woke up the sun was shining, the birds were singing and the smell of coffee wafted in my bedroom.
I was at home with my family and I was glad to be there, maybe it was the coffee, maybe it was the Italian smell but in that moment I felt one of the luckiest people in the world.
Now I’m here in quarantine, without any plans, or maybe not.. who knows.
But the Namibia chapter 2020 ends here.
For the second chapter you will have to wait for another story.
I can definitely say that the last six months were the best experience of my life so far and if you don’t believe me that being so far from home can be such a good time, what are you waiting for, try it yourself!
Now it’s time to relax, if you have any further questions ask me, I have a lot of time and you do too.
Thank you for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it.
I will let you know as soon as I have news.
Stay home and take care.