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Story of Earth, Story of Us: Namibia, Africa

  • Ritter Safaris Namibia (map)


Overview: In partnership with Xavier's Study Abroad, this expedition takes us to the edge of Namibia's Kalahari. With Dr. Leon Chartrand as our primary guide and instructor, we live on a 46,000 acre safari ranch for eight of our 16 days, hosted by the Ritter Family and Ritter Safaris. In addition, we visit an exclusive, guarded rhino orphanage and observe +2,000 year old human footprints and remains via ATV safaris in the Namib Desert. We hike to the top of a massive sand dune and reflect upon the resiliency of life and how it makes a living here. We walk with Saan bushmen on a foot safari to learn about medicinal plants and animal-tracking. We sit quietly in remote tree-stands at sundown and observe animals moving out of the bush towards watering-holes. We learn from indigenous Namibians by working alongside them in gardens and with cattle. We also take vehicle safaris to see giraffes, zebras and elephants, and stand behind an earthen blind to observe lions feeding.

Sossusvlei, Namibia

Sossusvlei, Namibia

Credits: 6 CORE Credits. THEO 332: "Sacred Ground and the New Cosmology" (counts as THEO 200-Theo Perspectives OR Gen Humanities Elective, ER/S, Enviro Science, Peace Studies, Gen Humanities or Free electives) and ENGL 205: "Identity, Place, Imagination" " (counts as ENGL 205-Lit and Moral Imagination [OR as Gen Humanities/Free elective, with approval]). 

Enrollment: Max 14 | Adventure Level: 2

Security Deposit: To secure spot, an $800 nonrefundable deposit is due Jan 8, 2019, but the earlier deposit is submitted the better, as spaces are limited and will fill up fast! Also, note deposit is included within Program Fee. Once deposit is applied, $800 will be deducted from Program Fee listed below. 

Costs: $6,428 Total Program Fee is all inclusive (includes all travel costs and tuition). It includes 6 credit hours of tuition, which is approximately ~$2,778 ($463/hr x 6 hrs) + $3,650 all inclusive travel, which includes commercial airfare, lodging, ground transportation, safaris, lion-feeding, Khoisan/San guide fees, rhino orphanage, wildlife preserve fees, meals, beverages, travel insur., etc. Note: 2019 costs are approximate. Estimates based on 2018 prices with expected travel/tuition increases and are subject to +/- 3% change. Security deposit will be deducted from total Program Fee amount once deposit is submitted.  

Where do we go? Southwest Africa: Namibia: Windhoek, Woltemade Ranch, Etosha National Park, Swakopmund, Sossusvlei. To learn more about these places, click here

What will we do? Tour Katatura Township, hike sand dunes, ATV tour of Namib Desert near Walvis Bay to include human remains and footprints, explore Etosha National Park, Bushmen led animal tracking and plant identification in acacia/camel thorn bush, tree-stand wildlife viewings at sundown, safaris to see elephants, zebras, giraffes, oryx, kudu , eland and springbok, tour an old mine, eat game meat most nights and learn the ethics of subsistence hunting, play soccer with local villagers, observe lions feeding, visit an exclusive, guarded rhino orphanage, work with locals in a garden and with cattle, visit the San bushmen cultural center. May 26, Dinner, return vans, depart from Windhoek to Cincinnati. May 27—Arrive in Cincinnati.

What courses are offered?

1. Sacred Ground and the New Story. Professor: Dr. Leon Chartrand
[THEO 332: 3 credits undergrad, THEO 200 CORE, E/RS, Enviro Science, Peace Studies, or general humanities/free elective) / 3 credits grad] Since our beginning, we've been storytellers. Stories have helped us make sense of the world, of its mysterious phenomena and powers. They've expressed how creation came to be and defined our role within creation. Above all, creation stories penetrate into the depths of the psyche and inform behavior, especially when it comes to how we treat others and the world around us. But, creation stories can lose their effectiveness over time. If new knowledge contradicts or discredits a creation myth, then that story can lose its functional role. That is our great challenge today. We are in trouble now because we are, as Thomas Berry says, in between stories. Not only is the current story being discredited by science, but our current story does not provide the guidance we need for dealing with environmental devastation. It places the human at the pinnacle of creation instead of, as evolutionary and cosmological knowledge reveals, as a derivative of creation. And yet the new scientific story does not yet provide a meaningful context because it deals primarily with how the physical-material world came into being and does not deal with the Universe's psychic-spiritual dimension manifested so eloquently in and through human consciousness. For this reason, a new cosmogonic myth must be shaped, one inclusive of creation stories of our past as well as the empirical knowledge we now have about our universe. It is part of the great work of the human species as we transition from this terminal phase of the Cenozoic Era, the last 65 million years of Earth history, into an Ecozoic Era, where humans become a viable presence. This course, therefore, aims to help us see how a new cosmogonic myth, one that deals adequately with the sacredness of creation within the framework of the evolutionary story, is being revealed by the earth community. 

2. Identity, Place, Imagination. Professor: Dr. David Reid [ENGL 205: 3 credits undergrad, CORE ENGL 205 OR general humanities/free elective (with approval).  Africa has long inspired the imagination of people. In this course, we will consider the possibilities that writers of place provide as they attempt to reimagine the human role in the ecological narrative. We’ll ask the following questions, and more: What role does the literary imagination play in how we view both place and self? How do the stories we tell affect the actions we take? Do our dominant narratives encourage or discourage a sense of alienation or interdependence? Do we still have a sense of place? How does displacement, either figurative or literal, affect our identity? To reorient our own relationship to the environment, we will do some of our own writing. Immersion within the Namibian landscape will heighten our sense of connectedness and may inspire us in unexpected ways. Since writing involves the senses as well as language, this opportunity is ideal for taking time to write and practice engaging more deeply with our surroundings. 

How do I prepare? | What do I bring?