Tag Archives: Kavango West

Rupara Village Life

While conducting the Haingura Abercross business training, I stayed in my counterpart’s homestead which was near to the training site. Here are some photos of my experiences in the village.

Rupara homestead

I love the big trees in the middle of the homestead providing shade and sometimes food, depending on the type.

fish and pap dinner

My tasty dinner of  river fish and mahangu pap (Millet porridge).

shebeen and oxen

My colleague’s family owns and operates this shebeen next to their homestead.

Rupara kids

Great smiles from the kids at the homestead housing the Haingura Abercross project.

village sunset

Amazing village sunset taken with my phone.

another sunset

The same night’s sunset but this was taken with my Canon SLR.

Kavango River fishing

A group of men fishing on the Kavango River with traditional makuro canoes in the foreground.

Boy with oxen

A boy with his oxen at the Haingura Abercross homestead.

Rupara goats

Typical village landscape with goats.

Kavango River hippo

This hippo was in the Kavango River near the old mission in Rupara. On a separate night, I accidentally took a quick bath in the river with a hippo floating on the other side. I didn’t realize it was there until I was already out drying off and it started grunting.

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Haingura Abercross Project

Another rural outreach business training I conducted back in November was to a project near Rupara in Kavango West, just about 60km from Rundu. The Haingura Abercross group makes traditional baby carriers using animal skins, sewing a fabric border and attaching beads and shells for style. The carriers are very popular locally and in other parts of Namibia.

baby carrier

Two project members demonstrating a baby carrier. There are always plenty of babies in the villages to model the carriers for us!

History of the project

In 1974, a missionary gave a machine, baby carrier pattern and trained the founder (who is disabled) on how to cut and stitch the patterns for the baby carriers. The project was started to give an income-generating activity to disadvantaged community members. In the 1980’s the original machine was destroyed in a fire and a new machine was given to the project. In the 1990’s a second machine was purchased by the group. The number of project members has seemed to remain about 5-10 over the years.

The main product is a traditional-looking baby carrier made using animal skins (usually springbok) and material purchased from a fabric shop and then decorated with shells and beads. They also tried to make handbags at one point, but this requires folding over the animal skin and the current machine cannot handle this kind of production.

sewing machine

Hand-cranked sewing machine. This type of machine cannot really handle stitching through animal skins, so the project is constantly breaking needles and having to replace them. This machine was broken when the hut they were using for production collapsed.

My counterpart and I conducted an assessment of the group’s needs and challenges and taught basic business skills over the course of five days. This group did not seem as motivated and organized as the Omega project, but it is impressive that they have continued to exist for more than 40 years.

budgeting work

I feel the same way about budgeting sometimes…

Haingura Abercross group photo

My COSDEC counterpart on the left along with the Haingura Abercross group members.

Last month we made a follow up to the group and were pleased to see that even though production was very low, they were keeping track of sales and expenses! They had not done any sort of bookkeeping in the past so this is a good start on their path to organizing their financials.

sales journal

The group’s monthly sales journal for November 2014. This warmed my heart.

The project did run into a big problem as the early season rains caused their production hut to collapse.

collapsed hut

The collapse of this hut damaged one of their two sewing machines.

baby carrier production

The project founder on the left and another group member sewing the baby carriers outside.

baby carrier deomstration

Could this replace the Baby Bjorn on the international markets?

 

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