21 December, 2013

Happy Holidays!!

I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday, 
Merry Christmas and Happy Happy New Year!!

I'm about to spend my Christmas and New Year's volunteering with animals at 
N/a'an ku se (click the name for the website) for the next 2 weeks!!
I can't wait to share the pictures and tell the stories...

I hope everyone has safe travels and enjoy your time with friends and family.
Oh, and make your New Year's Resolution to come visit me in the village..... :)

Love and miss you all!
~ Ndapadula


And look who I saw in the Wernhill Mall in Windhoek....
Actually, after chatting with Santa, here, very quickly, I came to find out he used to be a language trainer for the PC many years ago. Small world!




p.s. Look for a blog post very soon - all about Owambo (northern Namibian) traditional food....with video included :)

06 December, 2013

I found my groove...

So the last few months, as I had said previously, have been up and down. But I guess that is normal, here in the Peace Corps. Well, apparently, it happens a LOT. But hopefully the up times begin to out-weigh the down times.

I'll start with the funk, down time I was having....
I had been waiting months for a meeting with my clinic committee. The meeting was supposed to be about the details of the garden they wanted me to start. I had to meet with them, discuss the details and such, in order to begin the process of writing the grant. This didn't seem to be happening any time soon - between my supervisor being extremely busy (being the only Registered Nurse in the clinic, and one other nurse to help), and the committee members either being busy with school, work, or other meetings, and well, things just were moving slow....

I hurt my foot. It wasn't a major injury. I really have no idea how it happened. Maybe from jumping around and exercising in my hut, on the hard cement floor? Well, however it happened, I just started limping one day. The pain was smack dab in the middle of my foot. Now, I have a background in sports medicine. But honestly, I really didn't know what it was. After about 2 weeks of this stiffness, pain and limping through the beachy sand (in the middle of the day in the African heat), I decided to contact my PC doc. I went to the nearby town, to use the a Namibian doctor who is contracted out with the PC. She didn't think it was anything big. I was wanting to rule out a stress fracture. I've heard that in the PC, strange medical problems happen. And this wasn't anything big - just odd. I had never hurt my foot before. Maybe it was from constantly walking thru the beach sand. Who knows. Anyway, the xray looked fine. So I went on anti-inflammatories and tried to rest it. But there were days when I'd come home from work early, just to put my foot up, and not have to walk in the sand. Slowly, the foot has healed. It must have been just a strange strain. But the frustration of this, did not help the funk...

The heat. I lose appetite in this heat. My only privacy, I felt, was in my hut, after work. But there is now air flow in the hut. So, I can just sit there or lie on my bed, and sweat. I would bathe, which felt amazing, but then would immediately start sweating again. Walking home in the afternoon from work was the worst. Here in Namibia, at least in my village, everyone seems to take a "siesta" from about 2-5. People just relax under a tree, take a nap, etc. I never totally appreciated the shade, as I do here in Namibia. But that walk home - wow. Sometimes, there's no wind at all. And hardly any shade. I have become used to this, but at the time, it wasn't helping my state of mind.....

School was getting close to ending their academic year. It'll begin back up in early January. But exams were going to start in a month, and it seemed when I would go to the school for my AIDS Awareness Club, either no one would show up, or the teacher would leave the school at the end of the day. I had a talk with my supervisor about this, and beginning in January, I'll plan on going - with or without the teacher. He's a wonderful teacher, and has helped me a lot. It's just that sometimes, other things became the priority....

So, due to the lack of work, I went through the thoughts of "What am I doing here?" "Why am I needed?" "Am I just putting off my life - as in marriage, family, etc, or the next step in my career - even more by joining the PC for 2 years?" I'm sure these are typical questions a volunteer asks him/herself. But this was all happening at the same time...

But never once did I even consider the thought of leaving.....

I was just looking forward to getting my motivation back during our second  ReConnect workshop - Permagarden! I know I've talked about this alot, and will have to write up a completely different blog post to explain the workshop, but it was wonderful! I got in there, asked questions, dug in the dirt, got dirty, and loved every minute of it! And I brought my counterpart, Daniel, along as well. I was hoping he would learn something as well, and then the 2 of us could go back to the village and begin using this great technique to help the community members start their own garden!

Thanks to Peter Jensen, who is our Permagarden guru, I got my groove back. I found my motivation to keep going. I found work I could do! See, as a health volunteer, many times we have to be self-starters and creative, and find our own work. We don't have a set schedule. This can be good. And this can be bad. 

Also, as soon as I got back from the workshop, my friend Adam, a business volunteer nearby, talked to me about wanting to do something to help the pregnant women outside the local hospital. We call this area outside this hospital, "Tent City." Most of the people staying here are pregnant women, waiting till it's time to give birth. Many walk long distances to get here, and so, I believe, they come here - just to be here when their babies' times come. Many can't afford to stay in the hospital. Many are coming from Angola. I'm still learning a lot about this. So, we came up with the idea of having a meeting with the Regional Director, to discuss what we might be able to do....

Tent City
Also, on top of these things, I've been doing a lot of work with the HIV Committee, here at Peace Corps Namibia. We are re-organizing things, and hopefully adding many other exciting events, projects, etc. But more on that later, when we get further along...

So, as you can see, I found my groove! I have lots of irons in the fire, and am hoping to get lots accomplished. I have been visiting other PCVs this week, in Kavango, after 2 wonderful Thanksgiving celebrations with my fellow PCVs. I've had meetings this week, as well, up in Kavango - to hopefully have the HIV Committee collaborate with some of their projects up here. I have 2 weeks back in the village, and then I'm away for 3 weeks - 2 to volunteer with the animals, and then committee meetings in Windhoek. So, I'll be busy, busy, busy! And I've realized that I love being busy. When I'm not, I don't do anything....lol. But I guess that's the same for many people!

Well, here are a few pics from my trip to Kavango....


Beautiful, green Kavango! 

some of the education PCVs in the area were painting the local school


Walking 7k from Amy's village, to get to the tar road, so I can get a ride to Divundu! It was really hot this day....plus, I was carrying my big hiking pack...definitely some good exercise....



my PCV friend, Emily, lives in this village

America, Amy's family's puppy

Amy's hut - made of sticks and clay - a little different from mine in Owamboland

panoramic view of Amy's hut and private area the family made for her

At the Nunda River Lodge - my office for the day!


the closest I could get to the hippos!

And below, if you click on the picture, you can see my facebook album with a few pictures from my clinic. You should be able to see these pictures, even if you don't have a facebook profile...





And in honor of the great Nelson Mandela....
May he rest in peace...