After MAKAUT I can go abroad

Resident: Namibia

Civil status: Married to Winni

mother of: Moritz

daughterof: Alfons

Age: 38 years

My name is Fabienne Metzger and I came to Namibia in December 1986 (at that time it was still a South African colony and was called Southwest Africa). In January 1987 I met my husband Winni and in March 1987 we got married in Windhoek (capital of Namibia). Sometimes it can go that fast.

From April 1st, 1987 to October 31st, 1994 I worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross. I was responsible for the political prisoners as well as the Namibian refugees abroad. As a result, I got around a lot in southern Africa (Angola, Zimbabwe, Malawi). The work was very interesting and varied. From July 1992 to October 31, 1994, I led the delegation in Windhoek. Since Namibia became independent in 1990 and the Bush War ended (no more prisoners and refugees), the ICRC delegation in Windhoek was closed forever in 1994. Since I wanted to stop working anyway, it came in handy. Our son Moritz was born on 11/11/1994 and since then I've been a mother, housewife, farmer, etc.

We lived in Windhoek for 7 years and moved to our farm in April 1994. We bought the farm in November 1993 and then the house first had to be built. There was absolutely nothing on our land, first we had to fence everything in, look for water and drill étc. We moved in in April 1994. Our house is made of natural stone and is quite large. Many call our house “Schweizerhaus”.

My husband Winni was born in Namibia in 1962. His father is Namibian of German descent (great-grandfather emigrated from Rhineland-Palatinate and about 1920 to Namibia), his mother is from Hamburg and came to Namibia as a teacher in 1950. The Metzger family is one of the largest in the country.

Winnis grandfather was a farmer in the north of Namibia and grew tobacco. His grandfather then started looking for water and drilling. The company was then taken over by Winnis father and since 1987 Winni has been the "water drill". We have 3 large drilling machines and 20 employees. There is hardly a place in the country that Winni does not know. Because of his work he is of course on the road a lot. He currently works in the south of the country (approx. 500 km away from home) and comes home once a month. But we have regular contact with the cell phone.

Life as a farmer's wife is very varied. We get up with the sun and go to bed with the chickens. Since we only go to the city every 14 days, we are more or less self-sufficient. Once a month we go hunting (kudu) and so we always have game meat on the menu, we also bake the bread ourselves and when it has rained well and the grass is good and we can milk the cows, we also “make cheese”. The vegetable garden is regularly plundered by baboons (monkeys) and porcupines. Now I have given up and prefer to buy the vegetables. I have chickens, ducks, geese, macaques, pigeons and lots of birds. So chicken and eggs are always taken care of. On a farm, ours is 650 ha - in comparison Jaun is 5530 ha - you always have a lot to do. The cattle have to be counted because poaching is a big problem here. The water pipe has to be checked, we have 3 boreholes on the farm, each 150 meters deep, and the water is pumped into the high basin with wind motors. When there is no wind, we always have to save - from November to June, in the local winter (June to September) it blows all day and we have no shortage of water. I have a fairly large garden with a swimming pool. When the "Jaunerinvasion" visited us in December 1998, our garden looked like an advertisement from Club Med.

Sometimes you have trouble with the wild animals, so in April we had a zebra snake - one of the most poisonous in Namibia and there is no antidote - in the bedroom. It was a wild hunt, in the end we "executed" her from the outside with the rifle. Cross spiders have sneaked into the house and a wild baboon terrorized us for 3 days. But you get used to everything. I can also handle the rifle and use it to defend myself.

Our farm is 35 km outside of Windhoek, almost in the mountains. Our closest neighbors live 10 km away. Windhoek is the capital and has around 100,000 inhabitants.

We have had permanent electricity for a year. Cooking was and is with gas, the refrigerator was running on paraffin and in the evening candles were lit. Now we have solar power and it's still almost a miracle. Due to the electricity we also have a TV with a satellite dish. Now we can receive German television programs. In the beginning we looked at every piece of crap, but now it only rarely works. I read a lot and there are also two German bookshops in Windhoek, so I never need reading material.

So that I don't completely lose contact with Switzerland, I have it echo, who subscribes to Schweizer Illustrierte und Facts. My best friend is also from Switzerland and is married to a farmer who is about 80 km away from us. We meet once a week for the "duorfe".

It's winter right now and it's cold by our standards. At night we have about 4 degrees, during the day about 22 degrees. There is a constant wind. In summer we have temperatures of 20 degrees at night and around 35 - 40 degrees during the day. We already had snow here in June 1994.

What I miss most is the cheese, you simply can't eat this one here, although Winni always says I'll take my place. Unfortunately, there is no good chocolate here either, but since I have a lot of visitors from Switzerland who have chocolate in my luggage, I have no withdrawal symptoms yet. So when my siblings visit me, they always have cheese, chocolate, rice pudding, ground hazelnuts and vanilla stalks with them - things that are not available here. I get regular visits from my family - Valentin is almost a local here. A few Jauners have already dared to come here. Otherwise I don't really miss anything.

We didn't really have any major problems here with racism. Our President sometimes railed against the whites, but that was not taken very seriously. The whites and blacks live together quite well here. Since Namibia has only 1 million inhabitants and everything is very far apart, there has never been such unrest here as in South Africa. There were never these “whites only” signs here. Independence was peaceful and not much has changed. Everything is going a little slower but by and large the country is doing pretty well. We don't (yet) have the problems with which the neighboring states are annoyed. Politically and economically, Namibia is doing quite well. Namibia lives mainly from livestock farming, fishing, mineral resources (uranium, copper, diamonds) and tourism.

I could still write page by page, but we don't want to make an Echo special edition. Anyone who is interested in Namibia is welcome to visit us, we have a lot of space and we like to have visitors (especially if they can jass, the Namibians simply cannot do that).

I would like Regina Rauber to continue at Mattli. She certainly knows a lot about the past.

 Fabienne, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your detailed report. I would have loved to come to you personally to get to know you and your new home!


Instead of the usual interview, Fabienne was kind enough to send your report in writing. Hence the slightly modified representation of the relay.