Monday, January 25, 2010

Under my skin

I peeled off a dried blister from the bottom of my foot today-to discover that the pocket was filled with sand. I think it's safe to say that Namibia has gotten under my skin. :)

...please forgive me; I needed an outlet as puns just don't translate well here.

Please let me redeem myself with the most precious picture of two boys that I spent my weekend with: Seven and Ju.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bags n All


My second bag has arrived!!!! Yaaaaaaay....! Of course both bags had to arrive in perfect Namibian fashion: things take time, but in the end it all manages to somehow work out. Waiting a week for my first bag, and two weeks for my second did cost me a fair amount in phone calls, frustration and time, but eventually, both bags DID make it here-whole and in tact! The final lost- and now found- bag had all of my gifts for learners, incentive prizes and classroom material. I was so desperate for it to be recovered. I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders now that everything that was meant to join me is now here!

All in all the start of my second year here has gone well. The beginning of the year is both more and less frustrating this year compared to last year. It's less so because I know basically what to expect...but it's also been more frustrating for the same reason- I'm more able now to see so many ways in which the process of starting the school year could be expedited. It has been so good seeing the kids. However, I find that some of them have been pushing the boundaries on testing my patience and limits more this year. They feel safe enough to see how far they can take things. I was lenient and maybe a little too friendly last year, so right now I am working at keeping a fun relationship with them but also trying to nip attitude and behaviour in the bud.

We had our “opening ceremony” at school yesterday, in which I was “nominated” (coerced) into being the Master of Ceremonies. Nothing is ever short and sweet here, so the assembly was a solid 6 hours. Imagine how restless, exhausted and bored 650 kids, aged 12-25 would be after a couple of hours sitting and listening, let alone 6! Add to that the heat, cramped room, and terribly redundant and mundane speakers and was a long day.

I'm looking forward to the weekend. I'm going to visit Rachel- another extending volunteer- in her village of Ogongo where we're going to have a braii (bbq) of game meat freshly hunted from the lands at the Ogongo Agricultural College- Springbok, Kuudu and maybe some Oryx! I can't wait for the delicious, lean meat that we're going to do up with maize and sweet potato! A great topper to a fabulous and exhausting first couple of weeks back in Northern Namibia!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Shopping Splendors

Going shopping in Oshakati is always hit and miss. Items that have been a constant on store shelves will suddenly and inexplicably no longer be available for months on end. Likewise, items that have never been previously accessible suddenly appear. It adds an element of surprise and excitement to my occasional weekend trips into town. And on a rare and splendid occasion you stumble upon gems that are far too fabulous to even consider passing up.

Yes, that is a pint of beer hat, a noise-maker and a rugby ball. ALL for under $10!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My First Day of School

2:30, 3:30, 5:00 (am) – Wake up, unable to sleep. Jet-lagged.

5:00 – Get out of bed and start getting ready for the day.

7:00 – Arrive at school. No one is there.

7:40-8:30 – Teachers start to arrive.

9:00 – Principal's briefing to the teachers.

9:30-5:00 – Collecting school fees from learners and parents. No time for breaks or food.

[Greeted new learners and my learners from last year. So excited to see all of them again!]

[Light rain from 12-3 ; torrential downpour off and on from 3-5...]

5:10 – Walk home barefoot through flooded school ground in ankle-deep water.

5:12 – Get home.

5:14 – Kill 2 cockroaches

5:20 – Make dinner

6:00 – Call Windhoek airport regarding lost luggage. One of two bags has been retrieved.

7:00 – Watch Ratatouille, blog, wash dinner dishes, sweep up and throw out dead cockroaches.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Joys of Travelling

I'm currently sitting in the Johannesburg airport, 37 hours into my journey back to Namibia. My first connector in Calgary to London was delayed 2 hours. I was very very lucky to have had my seat upgraded to "middle class" which was glorious and comfortable. Unfortunately it made my next 10-hour leg out of London back in the gallows of the plane seem much tighter and less pleasant than I remember.. Heathrow airport was nothing short of chaotic, with flights being cancelled and indefinitely delayed left right and centre due to snow and cold weather conditions. Two flights to Johannesburg prior to mine had been cancelled and ours was nearly cancelled after being delayed over 4 hours. 5 minutes before the flight was to be altogether cancelled the pilot made the executive decision to fly on without the luggage. I can't decide if I was relieved to get off the ground, or panicked at the realisation that retrieving my luggage later would be an undoubtedly frustrating process. In Johannesburg they wanted to restrict my carry on luggage and I had to speak to 2 people before having a chance to speak to management and have an exception made to allow me to bring all of my belongings. I'm told it will be 2-3 days before my luggage reaches me in Namibia. The good news is that I should be in Windhoek in approximately 4 hours (knock on wood) and should (again, knocking) have a ride to meet me. But that remains to be seen. To top it all off, I both look and smell like someone who has been travelling in the same clothes for almost 2 days. Staying optimistic! If it were easy, where would all the fun be?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Big Thanks to All for Year 2

Tomorrow I leave the frozen north to return to the much less frozen north of Namibia. I've had the most amazing month back home - despite the fact that it flew by in a blur - and want to thank everyone, family and friends, for all of the love and support that I received. My fundraiser in early December was a huge success! Due solely to your support I have been able to afford a second year of volunteering in Namibia. I was also able to purchase a class set of novels for my English classes, over 50 new books for the school library, school supplies and incentive prizes for my learners, teaching materials and classroom decor. I could not have done any of this without your generosity and overwhelming support. I can't even begin to express my gratitude.

2010 promises to be a year of new challenges, adventures and excitement and as sad as I am to be leaving my home here in Canada, I am equally excited to return to my home in Okahao. I promise to make an honest effort in relaying my experiences via blog regularly. If along the way you have questions, concerns, ideas or comments (or just want to say hi! :) please please feel free! My email contact and address are posted on my blog site.

All the very best in the New Year. Cheer Canada on for me as we rake in the Gold at the Olympics!

With much thanks and lots of love,