This past week was spent in training every day beginning with two hours of language being taught by the dearest, sweetest teacher in the world! Auntie Martha is kind, patient and she obviously loves teaching Afrikaans to our group of six. There are five other trainees learning Afrikaans but they have another teacher. Martha's first language is KKG which is a “click” language but she loves teaching Afrikaans better. Her English is wonderful too; I’ll have to ask her how many languages she knows. Auntie Martha has 5 children, two of whom are still alive. She’s 13 years older than I am and doesn't have a wrinkle on her face…lucky! Here’s a picture of Auntie Martha with some of us who are learning Afrikaans.
Kevin, Catherine, Megs, Me, Auntie Martha, Allie, Stephanie, Tony
The weather is getting cooler, in the 50’s at night and low 80’s in the day. It is dry here so unless you are in the direct sun it doesn’t feel hot. They are having a large mosquito population this year so we are using sunscreen and mosquito repellent. I have a mosquito net over my bed as well. So far I’ve only gotten a few bites, thankfully.
My days start at 6:20, when I get up to shower (yes, I have a shower AND hot water!…at least for now), eat a bit of breakfast because I have to take anti-malaria drugs after food, then I walk to the training center. (It’s probably about a mile and a half from my house) On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we start at 7:30 because we start with song. We are learning quite a few different Namibian songs, in different languages. Some of the songs I’m not even sure what language they are in! At that point we have language classes and then take a break (called tea). We have all different kinds of classes after that but typically we split up into the two groups (CED-which is business, and CHHAP-which is health) I’m in the CHHAP sector so I’m learning quite a bit about AIDS/HIV.
One day this week we went to the local hospital and had a tour by one of the doctors. They only have 4 doctors and 30 nurses. They have a TB ward, a Pediatric ward, a Mens Ward, a Women’s ward, a one room ER, and a Maternity ward. They have a very up to date ultrasound machine! The Dr. who showed us around told us they have not had one death in the Maternity ward in the three years he has been at this hospital. That is amazing! In the pediatric ward there were 2 little children who were there for malnutrition and the mom’s were sitting beside them comforting them the whole time we were there. The love and concern on their faces was evident. Having seen hospitals in other developing countries prepared me for what I saw, but some of the other trainee’s really struggled with the realities.
Today, Saturday, May 2nd, the Herero Tribe was having their coronation so a bunch of us went over to watch some of it. There were lots of beautifully dressed women (and men) and lots of pomp and circumstance (dances, marches, speeches) for the Coronation of the new Leader of the Herero Tribe. If you are interested in knowing more, do a bit of research about how the German’s tried to kill every single Herero in the early 1900’s in Namibia. They came pretty close to accomplishing their goal, but the Herero have fought hard to re-populate and there is great pride in their culture. They have overcome many odds to get where they are today! Below is a picture of two of the Herero women. The hats represent the horns of the cattle they breed.
I’m good, mentally and physically. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing…I know this. I do miss everyone!
I’ll end with an Eleanor Roosevelt quote: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”