Swearing In and a week on site

On Thursday, June 18, 2015 the 31 of us who flew to Namibia together were sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers. It was an emotional day because we have worked so hard, made strong friendships and within an hour of swearing in, some of our group headed to their new towns/cities/villages for their two years of service. Others of us have so far to travel that we had to wait until the following day to leave.  It is dangerous to travel at night in Namibia because of the animals on the road. 

 

The ceremony itself was very nice. I got a bit teary every now and then mostly because we have worked so hard and have had stayed so incredibly busy that knowing our support group was scattering into the wind is a bit daunting. I will miss this great group of people and I am thankful our paths have crossed. 

On Friday, June 19th my ride came to take me to Aus. It was a long day and we arrived just as it was getting dark. My flat is a nice 2 bedroom, 2 toilet rooms, 1 tub/sink room, a hall closet, and a kitchen with room for the round table already in place. There is also a wardrobe in my room so I can hang some clothes…what a treat!  I have electricity and water, although no hot water.  There is a hot water tank but it’s not working. There is a requisition in to fix it, but it might take a while. Here’s a pic of my house.

 

Saturday I walked around this beautiful quaint little town with the nurse in charge of the clinic. She showed me the PO and the one gas station/few groceries store and the other small grocery store. Neither store carry very much at all and what they do have is a bit expensive. Mostly there’s not much inventory. There is also a meat store that is supposed to be pretty good. One of the best sellers of meat here is called Biltong. It’s dried meat and everything I’ve had so far has been fabulous. 

 

Sunday I took a walk to get the lay of the land. I introduced myself to a police woman and she invited me to her home when she got off work so I went with her. She lives in the location. The location is where the majority of the poor live. Once I was at her house, I met a few children and before I knew it I was walking around the location with a group of kids. They showed me where the school is, where their houses are and basically where everything is located. Their houses are mostly made of tin with no windows at all. It must get stifling hot in the summer in those houses. The 10 yo girl, Matilda, and the 7 yo girl, Elizabeth, took me under their wings and became my new best buds. After the tour, we went back to where the police officer lives and we played ball in her yard. There is a shebeen (a bar run by a local) right next to her house so there were lots of men milling around. One old man grabbed my hands and said hello, then tried to kiss me on the lips…he was so drunk. When I left, the kids walked me back to the clinic and they wanted to see my house. I did not want them to see how large it is for just me by Namibian standards so I got them to help me clean up some trash on the clinic grounds and then sent them on their way.  

 

On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday I went on “outreach” with the nurses. We left early in the morning and rode for hours before getting to the first farms. I met some really interesting people, saw how the farmers and the farm hands live and also saw some wonderful scenery. Namibia is an incredibly beautiful country. Here are some pics from the days.

Outreach truck

Outreach truck

Rhino

Rhino

A lodge that will open next July or August. They've been building it for 15 years. 

A lodge that will open next July or August. They've been building it for 15 years. 

 

On Wednesday, I took medical transport to Keetmanshoop to do my shopping. I needed groceries and some basic things like a broom. It takes about 2 hours to get to K so it was a whole days journey. Ran over to the the nurses quarters at the hospital in hopes of seeing 2 volunteers there. Got to see Katie and that was a breath of fresh air! Missed Catherine but I’ll catch her next time.

On Friday, I hung out at the clinic and also found a tutor for Afrikaans. We will start on Monday. I’m really excited I found her because she is really interested in helping me have conversations in Afrikaans. Lets get this going!

Today is my birthday (57) and for those of you who know me well, you know it is one of the most important days of the year so being so far away from home has been challenging but I went to the corner gas station/market and bought cake flour and made myself a bday cake last night. I’m going to celebrate today with Jessica (one of the nurses) and Anneline (my new tutor). I also treated myself to time at the hotel paying $10 nam dollars per half hour for internet. I have ordered a netman from the post office that should arrive on Thursday so will have better access once I get that all set up. I also washed my hair today (and it’s been a while…yuck) so I feel better. With no hot water and the temps so cold I haven’t been willing to submerge my head so I’ve been wearing it up and using dry shampoo!  Again…yuck!  

cake

cake

Thanks for all the b’day messages via fb or whatsapp. It’s nice to know I’m being thought about and it has helped tremendously!!

For now, thanks for reading…let me know what you like and don’t like. 

Oh...my new address......PO Box 13, Aus, Namibia 9000.  Please send me mail!  PIcs, cards, anything! Thanks!

“We learn something from everyone who passes through our lives.. Some lessons are painful, some are painless.. but, all are priceless.” – Unknown