Official Peace Corps Volunteer
Thanks so much for the holiday wishes and e-cards. I am just getting to a computer now thanks to the lighting that blew out my modem in my school computer...so I probably won't get regular email access again until sometime in February when I can visit schoolnet (the company that services school computer labs in Namibia).
But other than that, everything is well. I have officially moved into my new home in Omuthiya, Namibia. My permanent home is much more modern then my CBT family was. The family that I am living with actually lives in Windhoek (the capital city) and I am staying in their vacation home. So now they are here for the Christmas vacation which is great. They are fluent in English and are just as city as I am. It was so funny when they met me because they thought that since I was from America I would look like Beyonce with the full weave and yellow skin. I think it was anti-climatic when I looked like any other Namibian on the block.
Most days on the homestead is spent watching TV. In Namibia, a television is a status symbol so you want to have it on all-day and as loud as you can so everyone can hear that you have a TV. This would be okay if my room was not next to the TV room but most days I am right along with them watching NBC (Namibian Broadcasting Channel...there is only one channel). My favorite shows are the "soapies" which are the South African soap operas. They are so trashy and good at the same time....like a good Zane novel. My favorite is "Generations". They have an all-black cast and they switch between English and traditional dialects (they have English subtitles).
Other than that my day is pretty routine. Each morning I get up at 7:00am and go for a walk to the water tower. Not because I need water but because I like to walk in the morning. I walk about 4 kilometers to the grooving music of Erikah Badu (shout out to my girl Mia). Then when I come back I greet everyone because in the morning I sneak out so I am not asked by everyone - where I am going (oto ningi peni?) Then I eat my breakfast of bread and tea. After I go and hand wash my clothes and hang them on the line. My family finds this the most amusing thing...because I don't make the "swish swish" sound that they make. To be honest, I just put my clothes in the water, swish it around with my hand for about a minute and then rinse. It is just too hot to put too much effort into it, especially since it will just collect sand later. Then I bathe and get dressed. By this time around 10, our neighboe Benjamin comes around. He lives across the field. He picks me up and them we walk over to the community library to play chess. I never really liked chess in the US but now I love it...we are probably equal in skill so it is always a challenge. We play until about 4 then I walk home to cook since I don't have electricity in my kitchen and need to cook before the sun goes down.
For Christmas I went to my family's other farm...(I swear that my family is loaded). My tate came to me and said that we were going to spend Christmas in the "bush". I was like "Aren't we already in the bush". Then he laughs and says that we are going to the real bush where we will live in traditional huts and kill animals to eat. At that moment, I thought "this is getting a little too real for me". But being the good sport, I said that I would go. So on Christmas day, my host family and it seemed like everyone else from the community got into 2 flat bed trucks and headed into the forest. Sitting in the back of a "bakkie" or pick-up truck we travelled for 2 hours on bumpy dirt roads under the blaring heat. Again I thought "this is getting a little too real for me". Then we arrived and I realized what he meant. In Omuthiya, we had electricity, water and best of all a tv. But here all there was some huts and a tin hatch to cook under. We unloaded the trucks and the women began preparing the meal. They told me that they were going to kill a goat to celebrate Xmas. Now I don't know about you, but when I want meat, I just go to the Stop and Shop to get it. But in Namibia, if you want meat, you have to either shoot it or catch it. When I saw them capture then slaughter the goat..."it became a little too real for me" and I started to be sick...I had to sit down and prepare the potato salad.
We ate about 8 pm that night (they apoligized to me for the late dinner but then I explained to them that in our family, Aunt Zelda and the crew also ate late too) After we all played Uno and then went to bed. That night I shared a double size bed with 3 other grown women in stick hut with snakes and other wildlife surrounding me....lets just say that it was not the most comfortable sleep I ever had. The next morning, I went with the traditional healer to the forest to collect some herbs. There she was telling me about the witches in Namibia putting hexes on people and if I ever had one put on my me, I should call her...I am watching everyone now.
So Christmas was interesting and now I am spending New Years with some Peace Corps friends. We are heading up to Epupa Falls...I think...the adventures never end.
Have a wonderful New Years!