Experiences of a recently-returned Community Economic Development Specialist at Peace Corps-Namibia
Welcome to Arandis!
It’s been a long time since my last post and 5 weeks since I moved to my new home in the small desert town of Arandis, Erongo Region, Namibia.
I’m working at the Town Council as its Local Economic Development Specialist and am settling into both home life and work life here. The days race by at lightspeed and all my energy has been expended on integrating with my colleagues and new community.
For a bit of background, Arandis was established in 1975 as a company town for the nearby Rössing Uranium Mine. Shortly after Namibia gained its independence in 1990, the town was gifted to the Republic and started its long and bumpy road towards self-reliance. Since most of its residents were still employed at Rössing or one of the other mines in the area, Arandis nearly became a ghost town when Uranium prices plummeted and the mines closed or retrenched in the early 00’s.
Less than 40 miles from coastal Swakopmund, the country’s largest tourist town, it was conceivable that Arandis would be bypassed by the throngs of travelers passing from the capitol, Windhoek, and forgotten by the rest of the country (and world).
My neighbors, their elected officials and my colleagues in the Town Council staff, however, were not ready to let the desert reclaim this land. They’ve been painstaking in their commitment to keeping this little oasis vibrant and attractive. It’s easy to adopt their enthusiasm while, at the same time, retain a realistic understanding of the challenges we face.
Here are some images I’ve collected in my short time here. What I can’t capture with my camera is the kindness, friendliness, and good humor of my neighbors who’ve welcomed me to their hometown and happily support my efforts to learn how I can best contribute to our collective prosperity.
I hope this gives you an idea of my new home.
More difficult, thus postponed to a future post, is a description of my daily life around the house, the town and at work.
For the moment, let me just end by saying that I miss my loved ones terribly yet am extremely grateful for this opportunity! Should you find yourself in my neck of the woods, I hope you’ll pay me a visit!
Until recently, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia focused on Community Economic Development. Before that, I was a high-tech executive, small business owner, consultant and business broker. View all posts by Chris