Two Awesome Things

I’ve been meaning to post two things for forever!

First: A hilarious video from Swearing In Day. I think it’s a reference to a gazelle mating dance?

Second: This is where I am! Google Earth is the best


and if you want to see more of the surrounding area (not that there’s anything to see but huts and goats), here’s the Google Maps link,19.754237&z=15&t=h&hl=en


Dogs and Pens

First of all… I got a puppy!!! His name is Kovu. I’m co-raising him with my brother Kankala. So now in addition to Kankala being my brother and best friend at site, he is now my husband. Don’t worry, we’re working hard to maintain a “united front” with our child, but we still have daily competitions to determine who Kovu likes better. Anyway – Kovu is adorable and playful and loving… He is only three weeks old but already knows how to sit (we’re working on “stay” now). He’s also kind of a wimp so we’re trying to man him up through regular battles with the chickens.

A Story About Pens: This week the kids (grades 5-9) are taking their final exams. Naturally it’s a high stress time because if they fail even one class, they’re held back. I became aware that some of the kids were especially stressed because they didn’t have pens –  their school doesn’t provide them, nor do they have any money to buy their own. Obviously as a their education volunteer I couldn’t let them go to their finals without anything to write with, so I went to town to buy pens. I thought I’d just distribute them to the kids who didn’t have any. That sounds logical, right? Well … word got out that I had pens. That day I came out of my room and there were about 50 kids surrounding me, yelling, pushing each other, screaming insults at each other, etc. All in competition for my limited supply. I felt like a bread line distributor in 1930.  I ended up having to line the kids up by grade on the other side of a fence (I was afraid for my life) so I could hand them out. Looking back, I’m sure it was an amusing scene. But at the time I was so frustrated! As soon as I realized how valued the pens were, I thought they’d show appreciation for the fact that I bought them, but NOT ONE kid said “thank you”; instead they were wining if they got blue instead of black. And then everyone who wasn’t taking exams (thus didn’t get a pen) was either shouting or glaring at me. I think someone even said, “fuck you” to me, but it sounded like “faaackey” so I wasn’t sure.  So I told them they were being ungrateful and immature, but then negated my point by storming off and slamming my door. #livingwithtoomanychildren #regressing

And here are some pictures from this week:

watering the veggies, woot!


My Run-In With the Namibian Black Market



Here’s the story. I borrowed a flash drive from a fellow teacher (So I could copy Lion King 2, duh)… I stuck it in my pocket, went to town, and lost it. No idea how it happened (but it’s me, so #notshocking) but I came back home and it was nowhere to be found.

The next day, my host brother asked if he could upload music from a USB to my computer. And the USB he handed me was THE EXACT SAME ONE I LOST IN TOWN THE DAY BEFORE. How did he get it, you ask?

After some intense investigation, here’s the story that unraveled… Somehow two random men got a hold of it (in town) without me realizing, and then took it to a dealer and sold it to him for a hundred dollars. The guy they sold it to, Matheus, happened to be a friend of a friend of my host brother. Coincidentally, Matheus met up with my brother that evening, who heard the music that was being played on it, and asked if he could borrow it. So my brother brought it back to our house, gave it to me, thus the USB came full circle.

At this point, I thought I’d simply explain to Matheus that, even though he paid a hundred dollars for the USB, it still wasn’t his, as it was stolen and obtained illegally. So I refused to give it back. Well… silly me! I don’t know why I was making demands to someone who I already knew was dealing illegal electronics. But my lesson was learned as soon as I got threatened with the classic: “You don’t know who I am and what I am capable of.” I wanted to ask him, but I decided not to tempt fate. And now I’m a lot more bad ass, but a hundred dollars poorer. And to top it all if with a flourish of irony, the next day I put the USB in my pocket (again) and lost it on the way to school.

I’m In the Peace Corps?

I had this really crazy moment this morning when I remembered that I’m actually in the Peace Corps…so weird!

My first memory of wanting to join was senior year of high school. At that point it was just a fresh idea. You know when you have a new thought, and it’s so random that it just kind of hovers for a while without taking a definite shape… And you just kind of let it sit there without thinking about it or working out the details? And then maybe you go to sleep and the next day you wake up all excited but you can’t figure out why? And then you remember your idea and you go to tell someone – and you kind of ramble for a while… But to them it’s just too out-of-the-blue to take seriously; plus they’re only half listening because they have to go to a real estate meeting? And they don’t really believe you’re actually going to go through with it but you just KNOW in your heart that you will?

So then you just don’t talk about it until three years later when you tell everyone you are applying. And they’re like “Ummm, are you sure you want to do that?” And you’re like, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING I HAVEN’T EVEN CONSIDERED ANYTHING ELSE.

Okay that’s what happened to me with the Peace Corps. And now, a year after that, I’m here? I just remember second semester when I was so stressed about graduating and growing up; everyone was looking for nice consulting jobs in DC and I even thought about following suit. I mean two years in a remote African village without Chipotle? What was I thinking! But it’s actually really cool because now that I’m here, I sometimes forget that I’m “in the Peace Corps”… it just seems like this is my life. I’ve had so many ups and downs since I got here (dare I admit that they’re mostly downs?). But I’m officially happy – and comfortable with the fact that I’ll be here for two years. You can put that on the record. I’m even getting a puppy! And a kitten. I just can’t help myself. So in conclusion… will someone send me some Chipotle?

Some Pictures

Thay almost cried when I asked them if they wanted to see my magazines

... This is when we had to chase/wrestle goats to inject their butts with mosquito repellent

They claim that I "don't do laundry right", so every time I try, they take over

The Second Most Traumatic Death I’ve Seen Here

(I can’t tell you about the first, as I’m still getting nightmares 2 weeks later).

But anyway… On Thursday, I was ever-so-jollily snapping pictures of two chicks “swimming” in the laundry water.

See, aren't they so cute??

…It took me more than five minutes to remember that chickens don’t swim. Especially baby ones. And that was even after one of them was floating on its back, and I attributed it to “lounging”.

So at that point I took them out as fast as I could… but then I had to listen to one of then squeaking for 15 minutes outside my door before survival of the fittest kicked in… Its brother ran away happily, and then I had a dead baby chicken on my doorstep.


Corporal Punishment

…Was an accepted practice in Namibian schools during the colonial period. Today, even though it’s illegal, it’s still common. We spent a lot of time in training learning about how to cope with it; not intervening directly, not reporting it to the ministry, not crying hysterically when we see it, and how to address discipline with students who only respond to physical pain, and therefore couldn’t give two shits if you gave them a detention, etc.

So you can imagine my excitement when my principal informed me on my first day, that: “beating the students is strictly forbidden at my school”. (!!!!!!) Only, today I discovered that, even though the teachers don’t hit the kids, they have come up other, more creative ways to force them to study. Here’s a good one! If a student fails a test, they have to pick up their desk, and kneel on the stone floor while holding it above the ground. Isn’t that so fun!! I love being a teacher in Nam.