Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I spent this past weekend in Ogongo, a village just 'that side', where my friend Rachel teaches at Ogongo Combined School. We had planned for a girls' night of baking, homemade pizza, facemasks, pedicures and scary movies. As is often the case, it did not work out exactly as planned. Not all the women showed up, but they were instead replaced by Jory, a lecturer at the Ogongo UNAM Agricultural Campus, and Joseph, Rachel's hilariously excitable Rasta(ish) roommate and colleague.

We rented a movie (for the first time since we've been here...the things you discover!) which we thought was Friday the 13th, but turned out to be a [terrible] modern sequel to the saga. Pizza and baking was a success, but we replaced the pedicures and facemasks with a game of Catchphrase - an electronic game where you are given a phrase/name/thing in English and have to explain it to your teammates without using key words. It was a lot tougher with non-native English speakers than Rachel and I could have anticipated.

The next morning I was supposed to return to Okahao, but was instead roped into helping friends of ours move houses at the University campus. The only problem was the dvd - it was only a one-night rental and it had to be returned to Oshakati that day. No problem. We were told that there was a university bus going to Oshakati that afternoon and we could send it with them. Unfortunately, when we tried to hail the bus driver as he was leaving the gate, he drove right past us without stopping. "He gets like that when he's drunk" was the explanation Imms gave us for his behaviour. [Note to self: don't catch a ride with the UNAM bus in the afternoon] However, there was a car following the bus. The driver stopped and we handed him the dvd and asked if, in passing through Oshakati, he could drop the dvd at the rental shop. He agreed and off he went. To us this request seemed perfectly normal, and we didn't give the dvd another thought.

However, upon reflection later that night, Rachel and I realised that we probably couldn't get away with this back home. In North America could/would you stop a stranger to get them to return a dvd for you, with no assurance that the task would actually be done? Most likely not. Conversely, what would you do if someone flagged you down and asked you to return a dvd for them? Regardless of whether or not you would do it, you would think the person was a nut for asking. Why? I feel like it is situations such as this that will cause me the most grief back home/ get me the most wtf?! looks when I ask someone to run across the street to mail a letter for me, or volunteer to do a task for a stranger. I'm going to miss the helpful spirit of Namibia.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking as the receiver of a lot of wtf?! looks, take great joy from the moments of puzzlement, especially if they stem from a random act of kindness.