Here’s the picture of my flat that didn’t seem to load in my last post…sorry about that! Technology can be a challenge here! And, here’s a picture of my flat with snow falling! It has been extremely cold and windy lately. There’s no insulation in the houses so if it’s cold outside, it’s cold inside. I have one little portable electric heater that I keep on in my bedroom. The rest of the house is cold…just think about that for a moment! :)
The past month has been different, lonely, boring, challenging, and exhilarating. I suspect that this is just a sample of what my life will be like for the next two years. Ups and downs abound.
One Saturday Jessica (the nurse who works at the clinic where I work and live), wanted to cook donkey on a fire in a black wrought iron pot so I contributed to the purchase of wood and with some of the spices. It was an all day affair. I cooked some chicken in my oven with chicken spices because I needed to cook the chicken and because I was not sure I wanted to eat donkey although I’ve already had it once at my host families house in Okahandja. I did eat a bit of it and it was ok although I prefer to eat chicken. Many Namibians don’t eat chicken and consider it not meat and believe me, this is a meat eating country! Another thing I have gotten used to is always being a bit hungry. Getting groceries is a difficult proposition so I’ve only been to the store once since I moved to Aus. Makes for interesting food choices! There is a butchery here but everything is so expensive, I haven’t utilized it much. And, there is no bank in Aus, so getting money can be another issue. I’m not complaining, just trying to explain what it is like to live here.
A positive thing that has happened is that the lady at the Namib Garage, Elise, invited me to a meeting one night at Steve and Karin’s (her son and daughter-in-law) house. I went to the meeting and met some lovely people who really care about Aus. They try to implement change on a continual basis. They feed the pensioners (the old people), they feed the children, they clothe the children, they hire the workers, they help when asked in so many ways I can’t even list. I feel like this is the first time I’ve been in touch with the people who can help me help this community! Karin and I instantly bonded and I feel like we will be good friends. She has offered to let me shower (hot water!!) at her house, she wants me to help feed the pensioners, and she even offered to let me eat lunch with them every weekday at the Garage. She worries I don’t have enough food. And, she’s really worried about my not having hot water and about having to hike when I go somewhere. It’s good to have someone here who cares. Here’s a picture of Karin and Steve and their two dogs. There’s also a picture of Koeloe, their pet turkey!
I spent an afternoon with one of the farmers I met on outreach and his wife. They are a lovely couple who have been here for most of their lives and have had workers on their farm who have been with them for years. They talked about their biggest challenge with the workers is when the workers are taken to town. They take all their money and use it on alcohol. They don’t understand how to have one or two drinks, they drink until all their money is gone and then usually end up in fights. Their farm is 160km from Aus, the closest town, so the workers do not have the opportunity to do this very often but when they do, it usually ends this way.
My greatest challenge at site is that my site counterpart was under the misconception that I was her employee for 40 hours a week. It was clear fairly quickly that she wanted control over all of my projects and time. Once I realized that this was going to be a major issue, I phoned my PC Supervisor and told her about the situation. There are other factors involved that I will elaborate on at another time (and some I won’t include), but the most immediate struggle centered around my site counterpart wanting control over my every move. Those of you who know me well, know that I am a very independent person who likes to have the freedom to explore options and in this small community, I needed to have the freedom to see what community members believe would help. The good news is that my PC Supervisor drove to my site (a 700km trip each way) to have a meeting with my site counterpart. It was a productive meeting in that my site counterpart got the message that she is not in charge of me 40 hours a week. We agreed on a schedule where I would be at the clinic working with TB patients every morning for a few hours and then I will do some health education one afternoon and home visits another afternoon. We will see how this all pans out and if my site counterpart can’t get on board with this, I will find alternate living arrangements (I already have an offer) so I could have more freedom to help the people in this beautiful settlement. Since the meeting my site counterpart has been out of town and on “outreach” again.
The past few weeks have been so challenging that I have considered throwing in the towel on a number of occasions. I’ve even talked with my family members and a few friends about it but, and this is a big BUT, I have not really had the opportunity to get to work yet AND I really want to help the people of Namibia. I think I can make a difference, particularly with some of the children so I’m dealing with my site counterpart as well as possible and trying to trudge through these adjustment stages. Two of my favorite PCV’s who went through training with me have ET’d (Early Terminated) and it’s sad to see them go but also helps me realize that if I do throw in the towel, I'll be alright. I want to be sure I've given it my all and so far, I'm just getting started.
Last week, I helped do TB educational training for workers in several businesses. Here is a picture from those sessions. We did these trainings because there is a new case of TB in the community and we wanted to share more information about the disease so they would know what to do and how to proceed if they suspect they or someone they know has TB.
This week is outreach again. It was fun (although very long) days seeing people I’ve seen before. Here are some pictures.
I'm having difficulty loading pictures, I've got a lot more but will try to get them up at a later date. Thanks for reading!
Thank you for the cards, mail and packages! It seems to arrive in Aus a bit faster than it did to Windhoek. It absolutely makes my day to see something in my mailbox and know people care….please send more!!! Allison Daniel, PO Box 13, Aus, Namibia 9000
“Just remember there is someone out there who is more than happy with less than what you have.” – Unknown