Armed with foam cups, brotchens 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 and so on, until the mega pot finishes. The next Friday they repeat it again, crisscrossing the main campus.
The icing temperatures would make one think of the next person ‘doing their job’ in the outdoors. Irene Esterhuizen is the department’s administrative officer, and she has been leading this drive. “We teamed up, and 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 lock down period, using her permit, drive to campus and bring along a loaf or a bowl of soup to share,” explains Assistant Director, Mr Shahid Dickson. “In the fashion of the department’s collegiality, everyone chipped in and a couple of Fridays down the line, here we are.” All along, the department was 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 the internal community plays an equally crucial role to its existence. “As a team, we do this out of our own hearts and conscious,” said the Acting Director, Mr John Haufiku. “Many staff members and current students are involved in noble deeds out there in our communities.
“Just the other day we learnt of a 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 over again,” said Kerth Harvest Ithana, a third-year student intern at the department.