Mount Si junior making lives easier for Namibia students, one shoe at a time.
June 5, 2009 · 9:27 AM
By Dan Catchpole
A year ago Savannah Hunt was flying over Namibia's coast in 100 degrees fahrenheit heat and watching Kudu herds cross the Kalahari Desert. One experience has stayed with her the past 12 months — a visit to a grammar school in Gochas, a town in the eastern part of the small country on Africa's southwestern coast.
Hunt, a junior at Mount Si High School, was shocked by what she saw.
The school's paint was chipping off the walls. Many of the chairs had cracked or missing seats and backs. Materials were severely out of date, such as the school's maps, which showed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Attendance was required, but the teacher was rarely there, Hunt was told. She learned later the teacher was often drunk in the town square.
“At Mount Si, you're guaranteed to have your own desk, your own textbooks, and the teacher knows your name. And they just don't have that there,” she said.
She had an opportunity to assist a woman delivering donated blankets to the school. The students were ecstatic.
One night her family could hear a festival in town going on well into the night.
“For as much as they have pain and suffering, those people know how to celebrate,” Hunt recalled.
The people's warmth touched her very deeply, and she returned to the U.S. with a desire to help the school in some way.
Hunt is raising money to send shoes to the school's students, who are members of the Nama tribe.
Western aid can be misused sometimes, Hunt said, but she has a connection at the school she trusts to help distribute the shoes.
The ambitious junior wants to see the world, and is already planning a trip with her father to Zimbabwe next year.
To donate to Hunt's shoe-drive, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.