Gottfried Schiele and Eberhard Haberkorn took a trip to Namibia on what they dubbed the “Bell’s Tour” in July 2019, as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of Evangeliums Rundfunk (ERF) Medien, TWR’s German partner.
Eberhard Haberkorn, TWR German Ministry Coordinator for Southern Africa, takes us through the journey…and says…
(Photos by Gottfried Schiele)
“Embarking on what would be a very long trip, I travelled north from KwaZulu Natal (KZN) to our TWR offices in Croydon. Gottfried Schiele and I had to do some creative packing to get three big protective cases for the handbells, a folding table, speakers and another two cases with sound equipment, our luggage and promotional material, into our VW Polo. And we succeeded!
After two days on the road, our first bell’s concert was held on the farm Dabis, close to the town Helmeringhausen in the southern part of Namibia. We were received with great enthusiasm by our hosts, the owners of the guest farm.
We were surprised that over 40 people attended with keen interest. Some even travelled over 150 km to be there! After the concert, Gottfried invited the audience to ring the bells themselves and ask questions.
The next day a group of about 20 German tourists visited the farm. After a sunset tour of a small part of the farm, we staged an impromptu concert which was a great experience for the visitors, having never seen nor heard of handbells.
The next two days we travelled towards Walvisbay and Swakopmund.
The concert on Saturday evening in the Swakopmund Stadtmission (city mission) was also well attended by friends of ERF and others. On Sunday morning we participated at the church Service at the Lutheran Church. Gottfried accompanied the hymns with his bells and played a few pieces afterwards. I shared about the Oasis Project with the congregation.On Tuesday we headed north to Otjiwarongo, where we had some time to recuperate. (Photos by Gottfried Schiele)
The next morning we held a concert at the German school, which was well received by pupils as well as teachers. The same evening, a concert was held at the Otjiwarongo Retirement Village.
Our next trip was to Tsumeb for an evening concert in the Church Hall; also well visited and appreciated.
The next morning, we travelled 60 km to Grootfontein to treat the scholars of the German School in town. Afterwards, Gottfried taught four music students the “ins and outs” of the handbells, which they clearly enjoyed!
We then took the 5-hour drive to Windhoek where I joined the ERF-Namibia board meeting late afternoon.
On Saturday morning a breakfast was planned, with Gottfried providing musical entertainment. This was followed by another meeting with the board members and friends of ERF, where I could share about the work of TWR/ERF and the TWR Oasis Transmitter Project.
Our evening concert at the Christus-Kirche, a well-known landmark in Windhoek, was well attended and Gottfried’s playing mesmerised the audience. So did the church service at the same venue the next morning.
Early afternoon saw us on the road again travelling 80km north to Okahandja for another concert. Not only German speaking people came, but quite a few from the Dutch Reformed Church attended the concert as well. A truly novel experience for each visitor!
On Monday morning I visited radio stations NBC, Hitradio Namibia and Channel 7, to thank them for their loyal broadcasting of our programmes, and to convey the appreciation of listeners we met during the tour.
The next day we started heading home going east to Gobabis. Our hosts there were very interested in what we were doing and shared their disappointment that they missed the concerts. We decided to invite them to a “chamber concert”. Our hosts hastily contacted neighbours from nearby farms to join in. What a lovely, small group of appreciative listeners we had! They even offered to help organising a future event in that area.
Our trek took us through Botswana to Zeerust (over 900km) and the next day we headed home.
This was a truly amazing trip for both of us in all regards!