21 June, 2015

I'm baa-aaaaaack!

Hey world. Good to see you again. It’s been too too long, nay? (That’s Namibian for “right?”).

Well, what to say, what to say. I guess my last blog post was sometime in March….oops! So let me bring you up to date…


I finished off my 2 years as a PCV in the northern village in Namibia!! So, why, you ask, have I not written? Well, to be honest, I didn’t feel there was much to say…
I continued to have my Health Club at the school, which, pretty much was successful. We discussed cancer, disease prevention, TB, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, cuts&bruises, germs, and alcohol abuse.

I continued to work on my Court Project. I know I haven’t written much about this because, well, I won’t know until September if this is actually going to happen. So, I guess I don’t want to jinx it. But when I get the word that it’s a “GO!”, I promise I will be updating you!


So, you ask, where am I now?? Well, I’ve decided to stay a third year, here in Namibia. Generally, for the third year, we are allowed to either remain in our sites where we have been the last 2 years, or choose a different project. I decided to go for the latter. I wanted a different challenge.

But why stay??? Well, here are a few of my reasons:

  1. I want to finish this Court Project, and the chances of this happening are very good. BUT this would not occur until early January 2016.
  2. If I’m going to finish up this project, I might as well stay a full 3rd year to try something different
  3. I have not finished learning. I’ve decided to make my next career in International Development/Health. Having 3 years of international work can only be a good thing, and I guess I feel like I’m back in school…so I might as well learn here, internationally, instead of back in the States.
  4. Since I want to change my career, there is a high probability that I’ll have to go back to grad school. And they won’t accept my GRE scores from 15 years ago! So, I need to study and take them again. Again, I might as well study and take them here, in Namibia, while I’m gaining more experience.
  5. I realized that I needed to feel as if I had a satisfying service experience. I know that I wasn’t going to change the world, and although my last 2 years have been very educational and challenging, and I don’t regret anything, the fact is that I struggled, daily, to get projects accomplished or even begun. I’m hoping this third year will provide me the opportunity to really accomplish something.



And so, after a quick, month-long visit back in the States to see friends and family (which I terribly needed!), I am back in Nam for the year!! I’m staying in a different part of the country, in a town called Usakos (which means “grab the heal” in Damara or KKG). I am attempting to learn 2 new languages – Afrikaans (mainly) and Khoekhoegowab – one of the “click” languages of Namibia. Wish me luck! Usakos is located about an hour and a half from Swakopmund, the big coastal town (LOVE being so close to the ocean!), which is also my shopping town.  This means I need to go there to buy most things, but can still come back in one day (we do have a few small shops with the basics, but if I need more, I can go to Swakopmund, or even Karibib – which is about 30 minutes away).  And I’m about 3 hours from Windhoek, the capital. This is a nice change from the 8 hours away that I was while staying in the north! It’s definitely going to be a little different this year – as I’m now in a town, versus a village, and am with a different tribe – mainly the Nama tribe (though there are Damaras and Owambos here as well). Namas are mainly from the south of Namibia, but most of the people I’m surrounding by have moved here from the south, and are Nama.


Oh, and I’m working at an orphanage! I’m putting together a facebook page for this organization, so as soon as I get it up and running, I’ll make sure to share the link with you. This will give you a better idea of what we do. Currently, there are 24 kids, and they range in age from 3-20. Most of them are here because their homelife is unsafe. One of our goals is to eventually create programs to help empower and rehab the families, so these kids can return to their homes. They do actually visit the families on holidays and weekends sometimes, but are unable to stay there permanently, at least for now.


Here's video of a few of the children singing, as they welcomed me in my first day:




I live in a 2-room flat! I have electricity, a huge bed, a shower, hot water, a small fridge, and 2 hot plates!! Definitely a change from the hut and village life. I feel very lucky to have these things this year.  It also gives me my own space – to workout, relax, read, study, blog and work. I love it! Oh, and I live in a 3G area! Such a difference from last year!
Here are a few pics:









Every morning (M-F), I go to our main office, which is about a 20 minute walk away. But they have a driver, who takes the kids to school, and myself and the Head Housemother to the office. I’m sure there will be days I walk – it’s a pretty area…..here’s a pic:



My main job is to create educational, fun programs for the children, especially on weekends (Saturdays, mainly) and holidays. The kids remain here all the time, and sometimes, it feels like “jail” to them. And the mothers/caregivers need new ideas. So this is where I come in. Also, I will be helping my director find other forms of sponsorship. We have funding, at the moment, from a group in the Netherlands, but this money only covers the salaries of the staff, food and utilities at the Centre, and other operational costs. It does not cover the cost of programs, outside activities, or other entertainment, such as a new playground. I will be putting feelers out to seek sponsorship within the coming months, but if you, or anyone you know, would be interested in this sort of donation (on an annual basis, not just a one-time donation) please reach out to me!

Well, that’s about it for now….I promise to be better this year at blogging :)
Thank you to all of you who read this! It means the world to me, and I hope I am able to communicate effectively what it’s truly like over here, in Namibia. Again, I highly recommend everyone to travel as much as they can – even to a developing country! And if you’re able, join the Peace Corps!!

Here are some slideshows, to help bring you all up-to-date….

My group’s Shitoga Party, to celebrate the end of our 2 years! (Shitange, which is what the material is called, + Toga = Shitoga!):


A few pics of the town of Usakos:



The CEC (Children’s Education Centre):



Taking the kids hiking this past Saturday:



Oh, and here are a few pictures from the village…with my little Nikon V1, I was able to somewhat get a picture of the Namibia sky :)





Peace & Love,
Johanna


2 comments:

  1. Enjoy your next step, I'm very interested to hear how your new activities go.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Hope all is well with you...

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