NOVEMBER 16, 2014

Moooo. Squeak. Mooooooooooo. Squeak. Squeak. Moo. Squeak.

These sounds filled the soundtrack of our dreams as we traveled from Botswana to Namibia as we attempted to arrive in Namibia by daybreak. The sounds of our Venture Bus regularly encountering a wandering cow and sometimes even a herd of cows and donkeys, played alongside the sounds from the bus’s brakes as our driver tried to avoid a tragic accident on a nearly constant basis.

Given my experience living in semi-rural areas with bison and possums for company, it was still strange to see animals so active at night. Nevertheless, my companions and myself soon let exhaustion block out the noises of nature encountering the gravel work of man and we drifted off into sleep.

The next morning I awoke to sunshine and the Botswana Immigration Office.


Image. Botswana Immigration Office on the Botswana-Namibia Border

As previously, we were rounded up and guided through the process of departing from Botswana. Botswana makes my third official border crossing in a little over 48 hours, I feel I am slowly becoming an expert in Southern Africa travel.


Image. The guys of the AMPION Bus getting some quick exercise at the border. 

In comparison to the Zimbabwe-Botswana border, the border between Botswana and Namibia was only 5 minute drive down the road. However, the welcome board was a little different.


Image. Namibia Immigration Office with a stern warning concerning Ebola.

When I arrive in Harare, Zimbabwe a few days ago, I was aware of the Ebola epidemic on the West Coast of Africa. The epidemic did give my mother and I pause as we reflected on whether it would be safe for me to participate in the AMPION Venture Bus Tour, despite taking place in Southern Africa. Nevertheless, the Namibia Immigration Office had a poster-board displaying images of Ebola victims and the effects of the disease in order to drive home the message the border patrol would do everything in their power to protect Namibia from Ebola.

As we ventured into Namibia, we continued to work with our groups developing our prototype and template landing page, social media profiles, and more for our ventures. Our Day 03 would end in Windhoek, Namibia as we pulled into Safari Hotels, tired and exhausted, and fell on our beds to a deep sound sleep.

The next morning, it was rise and shine as we made our way to SAIS (Southern Africa Innovation Support Programe) in order to work on our prototypes further with WiFi access in anticipation of our second Pitch session later that afternoon. Before we dove into our work, we were treated to (2) very special guest lectures from leading innovators in the Namibia community.


Image. AMPIONeers polishing their prototypes at SAIS in Windhoek, Namibia

On a personal note, it was so amazing to see the energy in the SAIS space. It truly felt like a village of like-minded young African innovators and entrepreneurs who felt that the fate of Africa was literally in their hands or; Africa needs solutions by Africans for Africans.

If I wasn’t so pressed for time, I would have loved to have interviewed some of the participants in the SAIS space. However, my team and myself were on a deadline and needed to prepare for the Pitch session. As the clock slowly approached 3:00h, the sense of panic began to be renewed in every AMPIONeer as our time was once again running short…literally.

No sooner did we begin to finalize our business models and presentations, did we discover at 1:58h, that the Pitch Session was moved up to 2:00h.

Despite that nasty little surprise, I felt that every team was able to show great growth in terms of their accomplishments over the past few hours. It was amazing to see the progress almost all of the teams had made over the past 48 hours. Several teams already had their mobile applications ready-to-go on their mobile phones.

Solutions from offering the informal sector of Southern African the ability of become formal, a mobile application to help young people learn how to be safe drivers, an online service for the upper middle class to enjoy the convenience of a maid without worrying about his/her character, and many more.

Similar to before, after the last pitch at SAIS space, it was time to once again board the AMPION Bus and re-board the AMPION Venture Bus for our last stop; Cape Town, South Africa.

-Netia 🙂


A Guest Blog Contribution by Netia A. McCray, Founder and Executive Director of Mbadika

AMPION 2014 – Southern Africa Bus Tour Participant


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