Windhoek – In March 2023, U.S. Ambassador to Namibia, Randy W. Berry, had his first official trip to the cattle country– “a place where I felt very much at home since I grew up on a cattle ranch in the American West,” said Ambassador Berry when asked about Gobabis.
After a courtesy call with Honorable Governor Pijoo Nganate, where the Ambassador discussed with the Regional Governor plans for innovation, diversification, and development, the Ambassador toured the Epako Clinic, supported by the U.S. government, which provides primary health care services for the residents of Gobabis.
Ambassador Berry met with staff from the Epako Clinic, and learned about the various services available, including HIV testing and treatment, cervical cancer screenings, and COVID-19 vaccinations. He met the staff at the clinic and heard about how they ensure all patients receive the services they need. Through funding from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), channeled through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Namibia) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Embassy supports comprehensive services to strengthen HIV prevention care and treatment.
Following the clinic visit, Ambassador Berry met with a group of local youth leaders, most of whom had participated in U.S. government-funded programs. They took the opportunity to discuss the economic challenges and opportunities facing the youth of Omaheke as well as ways in which the U.S. Embassy could further engage with young people across the country.
Day two of the Ambassador’s trip took him almost all the way to the Botswana border to visit the rural community of Corridor 14. Community members were recipients of a U.S. Embassy Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Grant, which enabled them to purchase solar panels and lighting for their homes. A village previously without electricity, residents experienced the loss of livestock to nocturnal predators for many years. Since installing the lights in November, they have not lost a single animal. “This project shows the power of communities in charting a better future for themselves. Solar lights provide more possibilities for economic growth in multiple ways. They help keep your animals safe. They make it possible for your children to study after dark. And they do all this with clean energy, which is good for the environment. You should be proud of that work and commitment.” said Ambassador Berry during the visit.
Ambassador Berry was treated to an Independence Day celebration by the students of Motsomi Primary School later that morning. The school children welcomed the Ambassador with speeches and proudly shared their culture with songs and traditional San dance.
Before concluding his visit, the Ambassador visited a commercial farm to talk with a fellow cattle rancher and discuss ways in which Namibia can increase exports of their premium cattle products to the United States.