mobile malaria project

Day 12: Walvis Bay to Windhoek

published on
Wednesday 03 April 2019 | Distance travelled: 337km (337 total)

And we're off. Finally we left Walvis Bay on our first day of driving for the MMP. And what a day it was? We decided to take the scenic route to Windhoek, which was shorted than the tarmacked road but took longer to drive.

With Ezra our filmographer on board, we drove a gravel road past Dune 7 and across the Nambib. The scenery was breathtaking, starting with the now familliar orange sand, we drove through the barren desert, passing only the occasional car in the opposite direction. After 100k or so, the habitat began to change and we started to see the beginnings of life, green bushses dotted over  the horizon, the occasional oryx, and then ostriches and zebra. 

We stopped for Ezra to take some passing shots of the car which I'm sure will make his resultant film impressive. We also managed to get the drone - that I'd smuggled into the country - to work. This wasn't trivial as, although Ezra had used them before, this one was drand new and needed to be registered online before it's use. So ensued half an hour of Isaac and Ezra running up the nearest hill to try to get reception in the middle of the desert. Unbelievably it worked and he was able to get some shots. I can't wait to see them

After our mammoth off road drive, which eventually brought us to Windhoek, through the mountains.

As soon as we got to UNAM we were greeted by a group of students under a gazebo and Jason and I were immediately asked to speak in front of the expectant audience. We were received incredibly well and spent a couple of hours talking with people about the car, DNA sequencing and the MinIONs. There was a committed core of people here who understood immediately the potential of carrying a portable genetic sequencing machine around in a car, as well as the translational capacity in relation to infectious disease control, I also spoke with people who saw that it would be a great tool for teaching and public engagement. Thoughts that are not a million miles away from my own.

We went to the Hilton Sky Bar in Wondhoek, just in time to see the sun go down over the mountains in the west. It was a great end to the day, and I got the opportunity to speak with lots of Davis' group who joined us in dribs and drabs. We then went to the Windhoek Warehouse, a nightclub of sorts - it was great to have a bit of a boogie with our new Namibian friends.

We had such a great 12 hours in Windhoek, making new friends and letting our hair down. I really hope that I'll be able to come back in the future and deliver some training for nanopores etc.

[ pictures at the uni and the warehouse ]