My First Namibian Celebration

Ever since we’ve gotten here, we’ve spent almost all of our time either in the compund that we sleep in, or the training center.  Meaning that we mostly interact with Peace Corps staff or volunteers, and we don’t know our way around the city… so it was particularily interesting when I got stranded at a Namibian festival today, outside the city with  no transportation.
 
Story: August 26th is a very special holiday for Namibians (celebrating 1: the Namibian effort against the Germans, and 2: the reburial of a Herero leader/chief), so we took our first venture out into the real world. Our teachers/leaders drove us to a festival where the Herero were celebrating, about a mile away from the compound.
 
The festival was really cool. There was a holy man blessing his people by spitting water at them, and roasted goat heads (or “smileys” becasue when they cook, their mouths contort so that they’re smiling), but most families were jut congregating around tents and cooking food and socializing. Since 40 Americans attract a lot of attention, my friend Sam and I decided to split off and sit with one of the families and have some lamb and chicken. I learned my first word in Ochiherero: “ombira,” meaning beer.
 
A half hour later, Sam and I left the tent, looked around and realized that we were all alone! After twenty minutes of searching for everyone, we finally had to concede that we were abandoned at the festival.  It was interesting trying to find our way back through the bush. thank goodness there happens to be a tower by the training center, and we were able to walk back by ourselves. The climax came when we arrived back at home, sweaty and tired and NOBODY had realized that we were lost. I guess its every man for himself out here…
 
SOME PICTURES!
 

The tents that the Herero stay in at the festival

 

A Traditional Herero outfit

 

SMILEYS!

 
 
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If i could take a piture of myself right now, it would be of me holding up a carrot cake to my face, with a huge grin on my face.  I just stumbled up on an internet cafe run by Americans with AMERICAN desserts! um, this is a really big deal, seeing as this is a very small town. made of dust.

Other news: I arrived safe and sound in namibia! I am staying in a training center with my 37 other volunteer friends. We have hot showers and balanced meals. the most comfortable beds. also, there are 7 people living in my room, and we all have mosquito nets so it looks like a white palace.

i have learned that namibia is the safest country to volunteer in Africa. Only four PC volunteers have died here in 20 years – and all from car accidents. The only way to get around the cuntry is by hitchiking, which is a little weird, but I’m excited to try it.

Games to play while waiting for a car to drive by:

  • throw-rock-as-far-as-possible
  • throw-small-rock-as-close-to-larger-rock-as-possible
  • throw-rock-at-sign
  • kick-rock
  • break-bottle

so thats that

we’ve had a lot of meetings so far, but also a lot of free time which is great. This is only going to last for two more days though, because on monday we get our language assignments and start studying NON STOP. some people say training is the worst/hardest part of the Peace Corps. I’m getting my language assisnment on Monday, and I move into my host family home on Thursday! I cant wait, though im getting pretty comfortable with my current lifestyle of laying in the sun, hanging out with my friends, and reading.


It’s Official

I just had my last hot shower in these United States of America… so that means I’m officially going to the Peace Corps!!! Thank you Holiday Inn.

Also, yesterday was day #1. We just did the usual: ice breakers, get-to-know-you games, awkward silences, a lot of clapping. But everyone seems really nice and excited about what we’re about to be doing. There are 39 people in my group.

Some new things I learned about Namibia:

  • it has a large rhino population
  • namibia hosts the largest sand dunes in the world
  • don’t try and take pictures of black mambas (which, incidentally, are poisonous ambush predators that can slither up to 12 miles per hour)
  • nobody eats vegetables
  • theres a huge cheetah conservation effort going on
  • the namibian rugby team is the second best in africa, after South Africa
  • the population of namibia is smaller than the population of Houston
  • in addition to grubs, giant millipedes are a namibian specialty, yummm
Saying goodbye to my family and my friends was really hard. but every time I get sad, I remind myself that I have wanted this for 5 years, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be right now. I really really really am excited about the Peace Corps. AND yesterday I successfully completed Lesson Number One of Dealing-With-Cockroaches, at Missy’s apartment. I felt like I was already in Africa:
This afternoon, I will be beginning my 36 hour journey, so the next time I write, ill be in NAMIBIA!

Savoring my last dinner at home!!

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 These are my friends that are “helping” me pack.


Slimy, Yet Satisfying

 

Apparently a common food in Namibia is grub. I am not excited about this. But if Simba can do it, so can I


All Grown Up?

Dead Boppy

The past two days I mourned the death of my childhood. First I watched Peter Pan, and then I cut Boppy in half.

Just to give you an idea of how long this took me: Lauren ate her Boppy when she was six.