News and Notes

Report from Namibia

Thanks for the article (Summer 2001). When our students search for “Oshigambo High School” on our newly established internet connection, they get the Pietisten article and the accompanying photo of Mr. Peterson. It’s good I didn’t write anything too controversial!

One correction—the school I teach at is a product of the Finnish Mission Society. The Germans were active in Namibia, but primarily in the South. The Finns introduced Lutheranism to the Owambo societies of northern Namibia. Martti Rautannen, came to the region in the late 19th century. My school, founded about 1960, was one of the few institutions in which black Namibians had access to a college preparatory curriculum during the apartheid years. As a result, many of the current leaders in church, business, and government are alumni.

It’s hard to believe my two-year term ends this December. I’ve been teaching grade 11 and 12 Physical Science, grade 12 English, and Math to a secretarial skills training class. The Grade 12s take a rigorous, destiny-deciding, standardized exam at the end of the year, so we’re busy finishing the syllabus and review.

The basketball program continues to flourish (relatively). We have about 30 players including a girls’ team that was formed this term. We raised some money for a court last year through a collaborative effort bringing together the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia, NamPower, Aunt Adele, a Lutheran Brotherhood branch in Atlanta, and several of my college friends. Construction finally started last week and the target for completion is September.

I continue to play in the Namibian Professional League. The Far North Region finals are in two weeks. Our team, the Ongwediva Leopards, was lucky to advance past our semifinal match against the Oshakati Tornadoes. Their ringer, a Peace Corps Volunteer from NYC, was away coaching the Namibian girls’ team in Swaziland which made things easier. The Leopards are fairly diverse—we’re a mixture of various Namibian ethnic groups, several Angolans, and the no talent-all hustle American guy. That’s pretty much my life in Namibia—teaching and basketball.

Again, I must mention the severity of the AIDS pandemic here. Southern Africa is truly at ground zero. A 30% adult infection rate and zero access to medication paints a depressing picture. The future development of the region will surely be handcuffed by the loss of so many young teachers, nurses, etc. In my opinion, awareness and education is not the problem—at least not where I am. Treatment seems to consist of brochures urging victims to eat well and to try to stay healthy. AIDS is definitely a desperate problem needing prayer and hope for present action and future solutions.

I’ve managed to travel quite a bit. Highlights include Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and the Indian Ocean in South Africa. Now that the war has ended in Angola, I hope to make my way up there. I’ll e-mail you a photo of me in my Pietisten shirt when I get near a scanner. Adam Peterson, Oshigambo, Namibia.

The Hawk Heads to Vermont

Contributing Editor, David Hawkinson, has accepted a Pastoral call to the Jericho Covenant Church of Jericho, Vermont. This means that David and Susan will be leaving the Twin Cities to live not far from the shores of Lake Champlain in the Green Mountain State.

We will miss David and Susan. Pietisten meetings will not be the same without the Hawk. But, who are we to stand in the way of the Lord’s call? David will still contribute to Pietisten by continuing his series “The Making of a Reader” and in other ways.

Pastor Hawkinson began his Pastoral duties in July. One of his goals is to teach the congregation to read Bible. A taste of David’s teaching, while making an exploratory visit to Jericho, convinced the congregation they wanted David. Those who enjoyed David’s teaching ministry at Bethlehem Covenant for the seven years he was Minister of Education and since, along with others who have studied with him, can easily understand the response of the Jericho congregation.

May God bless the Hawkinsons and the congregation. Godspeed, David and Susan.