One year slump? Plus, 5 things to experience in Aus!

I apologize that it’s taken me so long to put up another post. The reality is I’ve had a large case of the “one year slump”.  It stems from being away from site more than it does the “one year mark”. My last blog post was about helping train new volunteers and then my trip around Namibia with my daughter…those were both “highs”. 

When I returned to site there was a two week National Campaign to immunize people 9 months to 39 years old with the Measles and Rubella Vaccine. I spent the first week in the “location” at the primary school assisting the nurse while she gave shots, giving out “shot certificates” and putting permanent marks on the left pinky of everyone who received a shot. The second week, we went out to the farms. This entails LONG bakkie (pick up truck) rides over rough terrain to reach the workers on various farms. To give you a sense of what this feels like, imagine getting in a pick up truck at 6 or 7 am, riding for at least 2 hours before you reach the first farm. Getting out of the truck, educating the workers who have gathered around about the MR injection, administering the injection, giving out certificates, marking pinkies and then getting back in the bakkie to ride another hour or so before we reach another farm only to do it all over again. We are not traveling on paved roads, and sometimes we are not even sure we are on the right path and have to turn around to search for the right path. Several of the farms have paths that only 4 wheel drives can maneuver because of all of the rocks. It makes for very long days but luckily the nurse, the HIV Counselor, and the driver are fun people to hang out with so there’s lots of conversation and music to help the time pass. We had a flat tire one day and spent the better part of the afternoon dealing with that. We were on a farm looking for one guy who needed the vaccine and while we were trying to maneuver the broken piece to lower the spare tire, the nurse started walking down the dirt path.  She came back an hour later with the guy we’d been looking for. He got his shot, we changed the tire and headed on our merry way.

I then went home for a two week visit for some much needed time with family and friends.  One of my best friends in the world had by-pass surgery so I could offer some assistance with after surgery care as well. I enjoyed seeing those I got to see, but look forward to seeing everyone else next summer! 

After returning to Namibia I spent 10 days with another new group of trainees (this time Education Volunteers) to help them begin to get acclimated to this beautiful country and its many tribes and cultures. Peace Corps Namibia always has a few volunteers who spend time with the new trainees just to make them feel at ease as they are getting familiar with this country. It’s a great experience and I feel lucky and honored to have had the opportunity to do it twice while here. The next new group will come in April, 2017 so it will be someone else’s turn. I should be heading home in May, 2017 because my niece will be getting married at the end of May and I must be home for that! 

I don’t know if I’ve already shared that I’m part of a group here called VSN (Volunteer Support Network- Peace Corps loves acronyms!). We are a group of elected individuals who are responsible for supporting volunteers as they go through their service.  We are not counselors or mental health professionals, we actively listen and help them discover their own thoughts and ideas for resolving situations. It has been one of my favorite parts of being a volunteer here and is the reason I’ve been able to get to know so many volunteers all over this country even though there are only a few of us in the south. I’ve spent the better part of my career listening to young people…this isn’t much different!

 

Change tracks….

The other day someone asked me what five things would I show people when they visit Aus. 

Here’s the list I came up with….

1. The horses of Aus…a must see. They run wild, are beautiful and play when the weather is cool.

2. Eagles Nest at Klein-Aus Vista…These are chalets built into the side of boulders…fascinating and beautiful.  All designed and built by the owners of the resort!

3. The location (where the poor people live) and how warm and welcoming the people are.

4. The biking/hiking trails through the mountains finishing off with a “sundowner” which is a drink while you watch the sun set. The sunsets here are absolutely beautiful, I haven’t been able to capture an image that even begins to show you how gorgeous they are. And then, the night sky is something to behold. NO ambient light so the stars sparkle and shine!

5. We’d have to attend a braai (cookout), it’s just part of the culture here…you are not in Namibia if you haven’t attended a braai!

 An indoor "Braai" pit at my friend's house (Karin and Steve).

An indoor "Braai" pit at my friend's house (Karin and Steve).

Thanks for reading!  I’m starting another blog challenge so hopefully it won’t take so long to see a new post!

And….I’m going to start looking for a job before long. Any ideas or possibilities are more than welcome!

Allison

“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. it means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” – Unknown