Warming hearts, warming bellies

22 June 2020 | Social Issues

Windhoek • Simon Namesho
Armed with foam cups, brötchens and a warm winter soup, the Communications and Marketing department at the University of Namibia drives around main campus halting here and there, at the sight of security personnel on duty. They stop and share hearty portions of warm soup with the guards until the mega pot is empty.
The following Friday they repeat the exercise, crisscrossing the main campus.
The icy temperatures makes one think of people ‘doing their job’ outdoors.
Irene Esterhuizen is the department’s administrative officer, and she has been leading this drive.
“We teamed up, each person brought something and that’s how it happened,” she said. “Some did the drive-stop-drive role, while others go for bread restock on the spot. Even our directors supported our drive.” she added.
How did it start though?
“At first Irene used to do this during the lockdown, using her permit, to drive to campus and bring along a loaf or a bowl of soup to share,” said assistant director, Shahid Dickson. “In the fashion of the department’s collegiality, everyone chipped in and a couple of Fridays down the line, here we are.”
The department is hesitant to label their effort anything but “just doing it”. In the end, they agreed for their effort to be flagged under the university’s community service hallmark and duties.
The university’s stakeholders’ importance and reach stretches beyond its gates, but internal community plays an equally crucial role. “As a team, we do this from the heart,” said acting director, John Haufiku. “Many staff members and current students are involved in noble deeds in our communities. “Just the other day we learnt of an unemployed former student that took up an initiative to provide agriculture training to aspiring farmers in the Oshana region as a way of contributing to food security in her community. That is the attitude we wish to impart on our students with this office effort – as it goes beyond just the act of giving bread and soup.”
The soup is prepared at the department in the morning and distributed with the assistance of departmental staff and student interns.
“The joy and appreciation we see in the eyes of the security personnel warms our hearts and is the reason we do it all again,” said Kerth Harvest Ithana, a third-year student intern at the department.
*This article was published on Unam's Forum Online newsletter.

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