so let me give you a visual: imagine seeing the outline of the map of namibia (in yarn with large rocks to hold it down) displayed outside, in the sand i might add, right outside our training center. then imagine that the next 2 years of your life are purely determined by the arbitrary decision of where to place us on that very map. well thats exactly what happened today. at the end of a long day of training, the anticipation that has dominated our every thought of the day (and the last month for that matter) dissipated into reality. one by one we stood on the imaginary map, on a site that right now is no more than a name, but will soon become part of our core. ok, well how was that for a lead up? you probably just skipped ahead because, like many of us, you just couldn't resist the temptation of knowing where ill be spending the next 2 years of my life!
As i mentioned before (im checking to make sure that you're actually following this blog religiously!) I will be serving in the Kavango region--a region plagued with issues that much of Namibia fails to grasp. The highest number of orphans due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic live here, the largest population of "severely poor" [my disdain for such a label is well documented] Namibians live here, the largest percentage of school age children with no shoes and inadequate outfits live here, and soon so will I along with 7 others! Soon to be the kavango family and Im so excited to have this experience with them all and mostly go rafting at Victoria Falls! To be exact, I will be teaching 9th grade math and english at Ndiyona Combined School in (ya guessed it!) Ndiyona which is situated 100km east of Rundu (the capital of the region) and along the Trans Caprivi Highway and the Kavango River and less than an hour from Botswana and Angola. After meeting with the interim principal, he outlined objectives of our education project in Ndiyona and among them include the following: raising math standards in a school with bottom math scores, establish programs for the OVC (orphans and vulnerable children) population which constitutes of half of the school, increase English speaking ability, boost student confidence and critical thinking skills, and promote HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programs.
But heres what makes me feel kinda cool and popular [2 extremely important attributes to acquire] I will be living in a homestead [meaning I will live on the same property as a family but in my own separate house] with the village chief…like cmon, talk about village connections! So you're probably picturing this magnificent house, well actually im in the PC so you're probs not…anyway--heres the description that I have of my living arrangements "thatched hut with cement floor, with reefs as a wall." Ill be visiting the site at the end of the week so ill give you a more accurate visual, promise! [and sorry diana, but no, i don't have the privilege of having in a pool in my back yard :) ]
Well if you ask me, and you don't really have a choice now do ya?, I feel ready for village life. Lets talk about this past Saturday as an example. So we had a cookout with our homestead families--and they all made local dishes from all over namib. Since we were pretty hungry, Vegas and I fed each other some grilled worms and I managed to swallow them (ok yeah I gagged a bit, but whats a man to do?!) So while playing ninja with the local kids certainly occupied much of my time that day (thanks dreebs btw!) I thought "hey, why not just kill a chicken?" So Renee and I, eager as children ready to kill a chicken (sorry couldn't think of any other example!) and we did just that. several saws of the pocket knife and viola!--just like that a chicken that we were minutes before chasing around the compound became raw meat! and for our main course you ask?? goat's brain, cow stomach, tongue, and probably some other things that ought to be censored on the internet. then i cooked some lamb on a fire that i started!! i feel like im officially a man now
Sometimes its hard to describe to non-pcvs about the inherent familial ties we all have based purely on the fact that were pcvs…but heres a go at it! So I was sitting on the couch holding my baby host sister, watching another epsiode of "1000 ways to die" with the fam and my phone rang. it was julie hyman--a fellow pcv in the north who graduated from gw a year ago--well we've never met but were obviously best friends, cause thats how things work around here. anyway she was stopped at the local gas station along with another pcv on their way to windhoek, and she told me to run so we could meet. and i did just that. Other than that, our group-- NAM 34--always finds a way to exceed expectations. from chris' podcasts, to speculating about vegas' love life, to singing the namib national anthem in the combi, playin' shoulder games, discussing FOMO issues with syd, or leading a tate gwetu song and dance yet again--yeah, its these moments that make training what it is and leaving for site (though not for a month) that much more bitter sweet.
So in preparation for being a teacher (that is why Im here after all!) we spent this whole week observing namibian schools. (i go by mr. franc now by the way!) one problem that we noticed and are sure to be faced with as teachers is that teachers often don't show up for school unannounced so as a trainee and with little to work with one afternoon I did what always seems to captivate a class here: let the class ask me about America! So the first question was, "so how is america?" uhhh fine…a lot of debt? not quite sure how to answer that question, I asked them what they thought of america and told them that id dispel some stereotypes. So what exactly did I have to dispel you ask? here it goes: no were not all rich, yes there is more than one airport in the US, no I don't know Rihanna and im not related to kim kardashian (though now that they mention it, i do kinda see the resemblance!), no north korea is not a beacon of liberty, and yes I've seen black people before coming to Namibia.
ok well id love to divulge some more insight into my life but my lil bro is litrally tugging at my arms trying to get me to blow some bubbles for him. and id take my time but he just grabbed our puppy by its tail (again) and threw it out the door, so well long story short, i ought to head out. im headed off to my site visit tomorrow morning with my kavango crew. looking forward to providing you with a detailed description of what my life may look like for the next 2 years.
so until then, peace and love