Returning From Okaku, Namibia
How are you all? I am great! I just returned from my community based training in Okaku where I have learned to:
1- Live without electricity (which I found surprisingly easy once I learned to rise and sleep with the sun)
2- Live without a shower (I did develop a continuous rash on my arms...but I think it is because I did not wash the soap off good)
3- Learn to live in a house where people are speaking another language (I learned to smile and say "OK" (Eewa) a lot)
4- Tell the difference between store bought chicken and "Owambo" chicken (the owambo chicken was just killed that afternoon and tasted too much like chicken for me. And it was also tougher)
5- Walk through 1 foot of sand without burning my feet (I do have to admit that I my feet are ALWAYS ashy...because the vasoline makes the sand stick to your feet)
And the most important one...living without air conditioning in the middle of an African summer...for some reason the heat only bothers me sometimes..most times I just try to sleep during the hottest times of the day.
But living on the farm with the Amwele family has been the highlight of my time here:
Each morning they would wake me up at 6:30 by knocking on the door and ask if I was sleeping (Ku kwatha?) . Oh course not! the rooster woke me up about 5:00am..but I still say "Ila mo!" (which means "come inside") And they tell me that my water is ready for my basin bath.
I rise from my mosquito net (which feels like a veil) and grab my basin and my new basket of toiletries. When I leave my room, I open the door and put down my sheet which prevents others from seeing inside and also the bugs from flying inside. This is the time when I must greet everyone. In Owambo culture, most of the day is spent greeting other people. And you just can't greet everyone at once, OH NO! You MUST greet everyone individually...first the eldest (kuku) then meme & tate, and because I am considered a meme in this culture (I was told because of my size I am thought of as rich, which gives me meme status), I have to wait for each of the children to greet me. By this time, the water has gotten a bit colder and the dog has drunk half of it :) So I enter into the bathing area which is really just a cement block room. I don't know where it comes from, but there is always a strong scent of urine in the bathing area. I am not sure if I am suppose to pee in there too, I never asked. So I bath from the bucket of water, pouring it into my basin, lathering up and then pouring the basin over me when I am done. I also brush my teeth there.
So I leave, and again I must be greeted by everyone that did not greet me the first time because you cannot pass anyone by without greeting them. And I go back to my room and dress for the day. When I am finished, I go to the eating area to eat my breakfast of two pieces of wheat bread and tea. I have eaten this same breakfast for the last 3 weeks. Then, meme brings my lunch and I walk about a kilimeter to the school.
However, last weekend I was flown down to Windhoek (the plane ride was 1.5 hours) to see a specialist about my ankle. Peace Corps wanted to make sure everything was healed up. When I arrived in the capital city, the first thing I noticed was that it was so much cooler than in the North. I actually had to wear my sweater at night whereas in the North, I am burning up most times. They had a driver pick me up and we jumped into this diplomatic SUV. I was stayed at the medical office apartments which was furnished with a fully furnished kitchen, a deep bathtub, a big screen tv and two full size beds. I was so surprised that it was so nice. I have to get sick more often!!
I flew in on Sunday morning but all the shops are closed on Sunday so I just walked around the city and eventually found a bookstore. I bought so many books because you cannot find books in the North. Then I came home and watched TV for the rest of the day. The next day my driver (whose name was David) picked me up in my Hummer and we went to the hospital for x-rays then to the foot specialist. But after we took a detour and went shoe shopping in the city. Since we were in a diplomatic vehicle, we could park anywhere and everyone was looking. I felt like a celebrity.
On Tuesday, I scheduled an appointment with this German spa for a pedicure before my flight. (I can't help being the princess..besides when would be the next time I could go...I live in the BUSH) So David and I jumped into the SUV and went to the spa. It was so beautiful there and so relaxing. So after David took me to the airport and I came home to my mudhut in the sky.
So I have to go now since the computer room is closing..but I will be back tomorrow to relay some more stories of Namibia.
Hope all is well!