I THINK I'M GOING TO BE ALRIGHT
My Pre-service Training group (PST 42) and I got to Namibia late August 9th after a gruesome 18- hour long plane ride from JFK Airport to Johannesburg, South Africa then from Johannesburg to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.
After another 2 hours driving from Windhoek to Okahandja, we finally reached our destination, the Kukeri Hostel.
We received a WARM welcome from our Peace Corps Trainers that night and I felt at home instantaneously. As we walked through the gates of the hostel, the trainers sang traditional Namibian songs. Their voices sparked the last bit of energy I thought was gone because of the lengthy journey here.
I was grinning from ear to ear. I fell in love with the singing, the country and the fact that my two years in Namibia was just beginning.
GOD IS SOO GOOD He had Wifi waiting for me in our hostel. I came to Namibia thinking I would be far far away from any form of communication to the world outside Namibia. Im happy to report that it doesn’t even feel like I'm 8,000 miles away from home. I'm talking to my New York family everyday and eating great food. It just feels like I'm in a summer camp called "Camp Peace Corps" where the goal is to make newbies feel at home as much as possible. But my question is, for how long?
The plan is to stay at the hostel and attend training classes for two weeks. Our tools for success: a yellow binder with specific instructions on how to integrate into Namibian culture, a Peace Corps Handbook, evaluation forms, contact numbers of Peace Corps staff, among other documents. We also received a medical kit filled with everything we might need to nurse ourselves back to health if we so happen to get anything from the common cold to a broken leg.
At this time, I'm feeling very optimistic about how I will use my time here and how I could possibly impact the lives of Namibians.
Bye Kukeri, Hello New Mom and Dad
Our two weeks of pampering and overindulging have unfortunately come to a complete halt. All 53 of us left our beloved hostel and moved into various host family communities. Imagine waiting to be adopted. That was the feeling the majority of us had while sitting outside Kukeri with ALL of our luggage hoping our “new parents” wouldn’t abandon us last minute.
At around 5pm, a blue car pulled up the hostel gates and I saw my new host dad step out. I don't know why, but I was almost uncontrollably happy. Again, I found myself grinning from ear to ear.
Meet my new host family, The Sterydoms. Wandie, my new host Mom, Lleyn, my Dad and my two younger siblings Gabbie and Waylin.
I honestly really had nothing to worry about, my host family ended up being great. My parents spoke Afrikaans which was the language given to me by Peace Corps staff. Almost every night, I came to them with questions about pronunciation and spelling. Their was only an eight minute walk to our training center, close to multiple grocery stores, the bank and the post office. And get this: WIFI! My host family's house had WIFI! Really the only thing missing is a Chipotle in Okahandja.
This is kalkfeld
Its been only two weeks and Peace Corps has uprooted us once again to our CBT sites. CBT stands for "Community Based Training" and this is where we will get an actual taste of what real Namibia is like. When we arrived, my good friend Madi asked our driver Jurgens, "Why we are slowing down?" It was hilarious at the time, but she was spot on.
The plan was to practice and make use of our skills in either the combined (G.K. Wahl) school or the primary school (Kalkfeld Primary) within the community. Each week we were given tasks:
Week 1: Observe classes
Week 2: Co-teach and co - lesson plan with full-time teachers
Week 3: Co- teach and begin individual lesson planning
Week 4: Teach alone and lesson plan alone
Following these tasks, would better prepare us for the Namibian education system.
In our homestays, we are supposed to learn more about the Namibian lifestyle and Namibian culture.
Let's just say I'm interested in finding out about myself while living in the village...stay tuned.
The Turn Up in OtjiWarongo
Its been a HARD two weeks here in Kalkfeld. This very, very small village is making most of us in the group want to ET (Early Termination). I mean, you haven’t seen a village quite like this. The only place to shop is a 40 minute walk to the gas station. There is only one road and a tiny population. This is the complete opposite of where I come from. New York City, the city that never sleeps, boasting a spectacular 8.4 million people, would devour a village like Kalkfeld. Surprisingly, with all the issues all of us here face, (Remember the timetable I laid out in the previous post, yea, no one is following that) we are looking forward to one thing: Otjiwarongo. It’s a beautiful urban city one hour away from Kalkfeld. It has multiple stores for your shopping pleasure. Even better: We are here for the weekend. It’s two day vacation from the village. Some other language groups (for example, those learning KKG) will be staying with our group in a hotel. This hotel is located right next to a college with a FULL BAR and a SWIMMING POOL on the premises. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m staying in Otjiwarongo forever.
The last day in Kalkfeld
I did it. I actually survived a FULL month at CBT in a VILLAGE. (Well, I sort of did. My weekly trips to Windhoek for medical made this experience a bit more tolerable). All eleven of us (WE MISS YOU SHANNON) have packed our bags and are heading back home to Okahandja; back to our host families and back to where things made sense. Despite all the challenges I faced, I feel as though I am prepared for what lies ahead after I actually become a Volunteer. The saying does go “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” so I’ll just remember Kalkfeld as a lesson learned.
On that note, I would like to thank my host mother, Salfine, for opening her home to me and making sure I was comfortable. I would like to thank my host sister, Jentery, for going on all those Fanta runs for me.
Back at it
All 50 of us are reunited in Okahandja and I missed my cliques so much. Peace Corps Namibia planned a few events for us to enjoy ourselves up until swearing- in day which is on October 15. We went on trips to the Mauera Mall in Windhoek and to a Namibian Resort in Okahandja. The resort had three different types of pools and a restaurant with good food. All of us were able to buy a couple necessities at the mall for a full eight hours. Heaven. I, myself, might of went a little overboard, but when don’t I do that? I bought a blow dryer, a journal, and of course, more makeup. This was a good stress reliever. I think I’m ready to become a Peace Corps Volunteer.
This is it: Site announcements and LANGUAGE exams
The day is here! We all now know where our permanent sites will be! *Drum roll please* I, Angela Sabblah, will be in…. DUINEVELD, a small farm 2 hours away from the capital, three hours away from Okahandja and one hour away from Rehoboth (my shopping town). I’m in a region called Hardap which is located in the southern part of Namibia. The name of my new school is called Anna Maasdorp Combined School and I will be teaching grades 6, 7, 8, and 9 English starting in January. The way PC Namibia staff decided to break the news was actually pretty cute. They made a map of Namibia in the back of our training center, blindfolded us, and walked us over to the names of our new homes on the map. We were then given envelopes filled with information such as our supervisor’s and principal’s name, a description of our living quarters, and other important tid bits. From reading my packet, even though I’m on a farm and in a small community, my place will be modern with a toilet, shower (no bucket bathing for me), my own room with burglar bars, and electricity. It’s not exactly what I wanted, but a smaller community could be better for me. To be completely honest, as long as my place has a toilet INSIDE my house, I’m fine.
We also took our LPIs (just an acronym for our language exams) and I actually passed. I will be eternally grateful to Cee, Tanner, Anna, Madi, Chris, Leah, Shannon, Tommy and our instructor Auntie Martha for helping me with studying and offering their support and wise words. Those Cokes are on their way.
swearing-in day and departure to site
The day everyone has been waiting for is finally here: Group 42’s Swearing- In Ceremony. After 10 weeks of intense, eye-opening training, we finally got to dress up in traditional wear and celebrate officially becoming Peace Corps Volunteers. The ceremony was at our favorite place, the Kukeri Hostel in Okahandja. In attendance were our host families (well, some of them), PC Namibia staff, the Country Director Carl Swartz and United States Ambassador to Namibia Thomas F. Daughton. It was a two hour ceremony were we took an oath which states that we, as Ambassadors of America, should look to work with our Namibian counterparts in improving the society by offering our services and engaging in cross- cultural exchanges for two full years. My parents in New York would be proud of me. Hell, I’m proud of me. This is only the beginning and I am looking forward to seeing my new home in Duineveld.
This event, I must say, is bittersweet because not only am I becoming a PCV, I’m leaving my friends (again) and heading to site with my supervisor IMMEDIATELY after the ceremony. Those who are closer to Okahandja will have to depart the same day to avoid nighttime traveling. Those who are going further (for example, the north of Namibia) will leave the next day.
Im feeling nervous and excited all at once. However, I’m looking forward to building new relationships with the teachers and learners at Anna Maasdorp School.
I should have known this would hit me like a ton of bricks. I am HOMESICK. Severely. It’s funny because I came here hating New York and its over population, but now I miss it. I miss the unreliable MTA (NY’s public transportation system). I miss yellow cabs. I miss Chipotle! Most of all, I miss my family and friends. I’ve never been this far from home, for this long and I know holidays are going to be HARD. Halloween, Thanksgiving, X-Mas and my father’s 60th birthday are coming and I’m 8,000 miles away from all the fun. *sighs* ET-ing sounds good right about now.
Welcome to duineveld
I’m officially here at my site. Of course, being the new girl, everyone was staring at me, but I understand that (I just hope it stops soon). There are only about 233 learners at the school. Anna Maasdorp Combined is like a boarding school: the learners live in a hostel a few feet away from the teachers and the school. Immediately I arrived a few girls sang their school songs (natives really like singing in this country), welcoming me. I went on a tour of the hostel afterwards and was shown were I will stay over the course of few days. Yet again, I have a host family- my third one. I won’t stay with them for long, just for a few days, then I will hopefully be on my own. I’m looking forward to making my own food, traveling and overall, focusing on me for the next two years.
My family, The Feres’, seem nice. I now have 2 brothers (Bronwin and Rico), 2 sisters (Sarah Lee and Marinne), a mother and a father. Their home is absolutely beautiful. Mr. Feres has a plot with 3 gardens, lemon trees, 2 pools, about 12 dogs, a farm with goats and sheep and a few workers. The house is huge also; my bedroom had 2 beds…2. My new dad is the type who works with his hands and is always working on a projects. He told me his plan for the next few years which is to use the water to create his own water supply company and deliver clean, drinking water to the people of Duineveld.
I think I can get used to this place.
First day of school
Today, I met most of the learners at Anna Massdorp Combined School. The premises is neat, clean and very blue. I, again, was serenaded by the school chorus during morning assembly and I made a short speech to the group of 233 students introducing myself and my purpose here. They seemed happy with the fact that they now have an English teacher from America and it felt good that they appreciated the little Afrikaans that I know. I met the teachers and some of the staff also. Everyone seems cool. But the person I’m really happy about meeting is another volunteer- his name is Micheal Oko and he is a Nigerian volunteer. He’s been in Duineveld for 8 months now and has graciously dropped some knowledge about this farm. I’m just grateful there is another volunteer here who I can chat with and understands the trials and tribulations of being a volunteer in a developing country. I'm happy to meet another West African in all honesty.
It's the little things
So I’ve been on this farm for a few days now and here’s what’s been going on: I moved out of my host family’s house and into a teacher’s flat so I have my own room now. I went to my shopping town and bought a few things to furnish my new residence: curtains, a rug, etc. Of course, I bought ALL the bug spray. These insects on this farm DON’T. PLAY. I’m still a little homesick, but it’s getting easier. I’m missing the luxuries I used to take for granted like public transport, nearby restaurants and stores. But, it’s the little things that I use to try and keep me going. For example, anytime I have to chance to cook for myself, I do it. Anytime I’m able to talk to my people back in NY, I do it. Visiting other PCVs near me works too. Just this past weekend, I went to Rehoboth where another volunteer lives. I’m a little jealous because he’s close to a mall AND he takes taxis everywhere; just like I did in New York City. I’m also looking forward to the All Volunteer Conference and Reconnect in Windhoek so I can see everyone again. It will be a nice break from “Farmville”.
My First Christmas in Namibia
Reconnect and All Vol was...something. I was looking forward to both conferences so much and guess what happened? I got sick..terribly sick (if you visit Namibia, don't eat sushi at the Grove Mall in Windhoek...just a word of advice). On the bright side, I met other Volunteers other than those in my group and got a lot of information on how I can make my two years here in Namibia a productive one. After the conferences, however, I hadn't been at my site for the whole month of December. Luckily, I got the chance to visit the northern part of Namibia for a couple days with my new Meme and two fabulous Volunteers from another group.
As a Trainee, you attend A LOT of info sessions that will teach more about your host country's culture and customs, integration techniques, rules and regulations, and so on, but there was this one special session I find myself mentally coming back to:
One of PC Namibia's staff members created a PowerPoint presentation which included a chart on the fluctuation of a typical Volunteer's emotional well-being during their two years of service.
According to the chart, for first three months, a Volunteer is optimistic and overly- excited about venturing into unfamiliar territory. Here's exactly how I was feeling during month two of PST: "Why would anyone leave this amazing place?! Namibia is incredible! I'm so happy to be here and meet all these new people and I'm confident that I'll complete my two years here!" Cheesy right? I know, but that was it. As our presenter went on discussing what happens after month three, it still didn't hit me that I would eventually feel homesick, depressed, lonely and constantly ask myself why I would choose to do a job such as Peace Corps.
Well, its way past month three and I am definitely at the decline on that chart. Things aren't so perky right mainly because Im fending for myself way more than I was during PST. I'm on a emotional roller coaster and Ive thought about leaving Namibia and quitting PC about umpteen times already.
Now Christmas is here: I'm not with my niece for here first holiday and I won't be there for her 2nd birthday. I'm not with my dad on his 60th birthday. All these milestones and memorable occasions I wont be there for...but you know what? I've slowly come to the conclusion that the PST chart on emotional well-being does have a hump I will eventually go over and (thanks to family and friends back in NY) that I'll make new lasting memories when I come back home in two years.
a Hard Lesson in Patience
To be completely honest, I have no patience. For anything. (Note to Future PCVs: You need it). Being from an extremely fast- paced city that never sleeps, I expected so much more to happen during school after the month off.
I imagined well-behaved children in my class who were eager to learn English. In my head, they all came prepared with their pens, backpacks, rulers and notebooks. By this time, I would have all the tools necessary to teach efficiently and effectively.
Now, once I woke up from this dream, I quickly realized that this would not be the case - for about 3 more weeks. Our school was still in the process of registering new children, cleaning the classrooms, hiring new staff, paying school fees and ordering school supplies. My students didnt even have their notebooks to write in from the Ministry of Education for about 2 weeks.
I wasn't ready for time to stand still like that. Being that us Volunteers weren't teaching for 4 months before school started again, I was looking forward to actually occupying my time with constructive work. This is where having patience comes in. Once the harsh reality of how the Namibian school system works set in, I got mad. I was angry that I couldn't do all the things I came here to do as quickly as I thought I would. I was tired of (from my eurocentric point of view) wasting time, but over a certain period, I calmed down: I went with the flow and eventually, the ball started rolling.
In NY, I wouldn't dare do that. I'm the type of person to plan every minute of her life out.
BUT, Im in Namibia now.
Now I truly understand the meaning of "when in Roman, do as Romans do."
Best Day ever
After months of waiting for my own, I finally received a stove on February 2, 2016. As a Volunteer, there are only a few things you can look forward to everyday and for me, it's cooking. Making food that reminds me of my dad and I preparing new recipes in our kitchen in Queens gives me solace in an incredibly harsh environment.
Something else us Volunteers love: getting mail. I received my long- awaited package from my sister in Hawaii. I couldn't stop smiling once I opened it. She got me a new Hydro Flask, a Hawaiian Lei, an external speaker for my laptop and Sony headphones (I know, I'm spoiled). Having days like this, gives me the confidence to finish this tour.
The Birthday post
So today's the day: my Golden Birthday. I woke up low-key dreading this day mainly because I'm not celebrating this day by being mischievous in NYC, but things quickly took a turn for the better when I was serenaded by the teachers and students at my school. Originally, my plan was to tell just a few people about my birthday and not make a big deal about it. My first birthday away from home, I imagined, would be lonely and filled with more wine than anything else, but the day is going better than expected. Once the learners found out, they gave me homemade cards and hugs. They asked how old I turned and I replied with "forty" harboring a big smile on my face. After school, I went home and ate ice cream with a few kids and let them watch a couple shows on my laptop. I'm not used to having "chill" birthday celebrations, but for what its worth, it was a good day.
It's been a while since I had some fun in Namibia so when my friend and soon- to- be RPCV invited me to go to Swakopmund with her and her host mother, I took the chance.
Beginning on March 16, I took a week and a half long vacation visiting a few locations in Namibia. First, I went to see my group- mate, Tommy's, school in Grootfontein to present about racism in America. Our intention was to help his 6th grade learners become aware of the world outside of Namibia and that the United States of America is not all glitz and glamour like they see on television. The children responded really well to our lesson and asked various questions to get a better understanding of the institutionalized racism that affects people of color everyday in the States.
Next, I went to Okahandja and finally met up with Anita, a fellow BPCV who served a couple of years back. Now, she has moved to Namibia permanently with her new Namibian husband and family. We hung out in Windhoek and she took me to her host family's beautiful home. On March 26th, I finally got to see Swakopmund. While on the road, I started to realize that Swakop could possibly be a "little Long Island". It didn't look or feel like I was in Namibia anymore. The community was purely beautiful with the beach just a few feet away. The food was better, the atmosphere was better, the weather was better...everything about Swakop was just better. My friends, host mother and I climbed Dune 7 (OK I didnt climb anything... I just watched), sat on the beach and took a dip in the ocean. We also visited an art gallery, an aquarium, took pictures with a woman from the Himba tribe (for a fee of course), saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, and ate Italian food. I'm definitely envious of those volunteers that actually live in this region of the country.
Days at site can feel like they are slowly dragging on, but making memories like the ones I've made this week give me something to look forward to.
THe A - TEAM
It's finally the end of Term 1 and the beginning of a very well deserved vacation. After marking my English Continuous Assessments for grades 5 and 6, 22 out of the 42 I teach, received a B or better. This being my first term teaching, I'm hoping to do even better numbers during my stay here. I'm really proud of my students that put in the effort to pass and they will surely be rewarded.
The hostel kids left on Friday after their last exam and the community is calm and quiet. Teachers must stay an extra week (last day: Friday, April 29th) to finish marking and recording; so that basically means I come to school everyday and go on Facebook.
Now that first- time jitters and mistakes are out of the way, I'm actually looking forward to teaching in Term 2.
After my first completed term at Anna Maasdorp Combined School, I couldn't wait for the month- long May vacation. What did I do, you ask? Visited my family and friends back in NY! I went home after 9 months of service and training in Namibia. The minute I landed at LaGuardia Airport and saw my cousin, Delanyo and father, I started to tear up. I missed everything way too much. Chipotle, Forever21, driving on the right side of the road...I couldn't be without these things any longer.
During my 3 week vacation in New York, I was busy. I had to catch up with family and friends. I showed everyone what my group calls a "dumb phone" (a 90s style type of phone) and was taunted immediately. Everyone noticed how much weight I lost and I showed my family pictures of the school and staff.
I also presented about Peace Corps Namibia to my alma mater, Hunter College, the College of Staten Island, and my old high school, Benjamin N. Cardozo. This fulfilled Goal 3 of the Peace Corps' mission: "to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans". All of them went exceptionally well and I believe Peace Corps will have many qualified future applicants and candidates.
Going home during the break, renewed my interest and inspired me to complete my service in October 2017. To be honest, I questioned (as did everyone else) if I would come back after the May holiday, but on the plane ride to Namibia, I decided I have to finish what I started.
A special DANKIE (THANK YOU) to:
Cornelius Sabblah and Vicky Sabblah for purchasing my plane ticket, new clothes and making sure I come back to Namibia with my much needed Ghanaian food
Delanyo Attah, Gordon Sabblah and Genevieve Sabblah for helping me pack and offering their endless words of encouragement
Caroline and Mona Holt for listening to my seemingly scary stories and supporting me
Kaiea Rohlehr for reaching out to me through BPCVs and sending me my new CamelBak
Danielle Barnaby, Dawn Henderson, Akua Genfi, Belle Cunningham, Samantha Riddell, Breanna Ford and Akeem Powell for uplifting and motivating me
and to anyone else I haven't mentioned; THANK YOU!
My First Workshop
Early June, I attended an English Teacher's workshop outside of Mariental. It was at the Lapa Lange Game Lodge, a resort that has amazing scenery and live game frockling near the watering hole. I didnt expect the workshop to be that luxurious, but I wasn't going to complain.
Ms. Issacks, called in and asked for English Teachers within the Hardap region to attend training for The Namibian Public Speaking and Debate Cup. The goal was to equip Namibian learners with the confidence and skills to be able to speak in front of an audience.
It was a very information couple of days and I definietly enjoyed the venue.
I mean look at these pictures...
I can add "librarian" to my resume
About two weeks ago, my HOD designated me to be the new Anna Maasdorp Combined School Librarian. I was beyond excited to get started on my secondary project and to have something of my own to create. In addition to making the school's social media outlets, I needed something else to keep me busy and feel needed.
My school's website: www.annamaasdorpcs.weebly.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/annamaasdorpcs/#
The library used to be in an old storage room, but was moved to the computer lab. There is an open space perfect for desks, chairs and book shelves. A learner and I organized the books into different sections based by their topics and I was shocked. These valuable materials were literally collecting dust in an old room.
I saw books on learning to speak Arabic, how to improve English writing skills, Science, dictionaries, reference books and A TON of stories and novels learners could use during their free time.
Im excited that I now have the opportunity to show my learners how fun reading can be. Pictures of the new Anna Maasdorp CS Library are on https://www.facebook.com/annamaasdorpcs/#
learning to Let Go
Joining Peace Corps is not all sitting around in a circle singing "Kum Ba Yah" with your host country nationals and counterparts.
Sometimes you get to site with these type of expectations and weeks later you find out you are in for a rude awakening. I can't speak for all my fellow volunteers, but at my site, there are some people who simply just don't like me. The administration at the school I work at make me feel as though I'm a nuisance anytime I need clarification on a certain topic.
Don't get me wrong. Not everyone you meet will act this way. I have people at my site I can call on and are reliable anytime I have a question or need something. Your experience could very well differ from mine. Nonetheless, my advice is to find those people you can trust and chat with so the feeling of loneliness will stay at bay.
Another word of advice is to focus on your primary and secondary projects. Keep busy during your free time.
Lastly, and to be completely honest , do not make it your business if you find that some locals at your site refuse to sit or talk with you. Dwelling on this type of issue will only make YOU feel bad. Let it go.
I feel like a hypocrite
The Peace Corps Mission: "to promote PEACE and FRIENDSHIP by fulfilling three goals.."
How is this possible when thousands of people of color are dying at the hands of American police forces? How can I promote this same "peace and friendship" when institutionalized racism and police brutality are STILL rampant?
I joined Peace Corps with the intention not only to teach English, but to represent my background as a Ghanaian- American.
I am saddened, worried and ashamed to know of the senseless violence that is brewing at the same place I came to Namibia to speak so highly about.
It makes me think of my position here: As a Peace Corps Volunteer, would do I say to locals that ask "What is America like"? Yet, as a black female, I am constantly thinking about my family back home. Could someone I love also turn into a hashtag while I am working for "peace" here?
Rest in Peace:
I am not "Rich'
I understand - to an extent- how Americans must be perceived by other nations: yes, we Americans can "over indulge" with our possessions, food and money. HOWEVER, this is not the case for EVERYONE is the States.
I didnt think I would need to explain this but, there are poor, homeless people who live on welfare just like some people of the world.
The things I have were not given to me; its either I worked hard for them OR my parents worked hard to get them for me. NOTHING in this world comes that easy UNLESS you really are RICH.
Keep your stereotypes to yourself.
One year anniversary IN namibia
This past August 9th marked one year in Namibia. Exactly one year ago, my PC buddies and I began the job of a lifetime.
I have learned a lot about myself and Namibian counterparts during this very exciting, whirlwind adventure. I've noticed that I am practicing the one thing I set out to do during my service; and that was to become independent. However, I still have improvements to make in that category.
In addition to experiencing what independence is truly like, during my first year, I've also:
1. Met some fantastic (and not so fantastic) people.
2. Reignited my love for cooking.
3. Lost weight.
4. Increased the confidence and self - esteem of female learners using the art of makeup, Beyonce music videos and weekly Girl's Club and Debate Team meetings.
5. Learned to save money.
6. Motivated my learners (well, just a few) to do better in my English classes.
7. Gotten to know a few of my colleagues from the school.
8. Learned a new language (not so fluently).
9. Made lasting relationships with most learners.
10. Received a MUCH needed cleaning from the dentist.
11. Introduced Namibians in my community to Ghanaian- American/ New York culture.
Even though, life here can get EXTREMELY rough, for the next 14 months, I want to be able to remember the progress I've made up until this point.
Your safety comes first
A LOT has happened in the past month, folks.
I, unfortunately, am not allowed to go back to Anna Maasdorp CS. "Why?" you ask? To put it honestly, a grade 10 learner was stalking and harassing me. I wont get into too much detail, but just know if you want to work for Peace Corps, that is a big RED FLAG.
Although I wasn't in fear of my life, the boy's presence was at most, annoying and disconcerting. When I told the Windhoek office about the issue, I was IMMEDIATELY shipped to the capital and had to stay for exactly one month. Of course, funds were low and I was constantly bored, but my main concern was to go back to my kids.
For the first couple of weeks, I had meetings trying to persuade staff that I have made improvements at site (despite my obvious challenges in the beginning) and integrated with some of the community and colleagues at school. Yeah, you read that right: I DIDN'T want to go home.
Those close to me knew how I felt just months ago - I didn't know how to cope with anything (staff asking me for money CONSTANTLY, being charged HEAVILY for transport, rumors and gossip, learners who were disrespectful and non-nonchalant towards their studies, lack of support from admin, so on and so forth.)
As a foreigner in a new country in education, you will most likely go through these same complications, but despite all of that, I knew that leaving my school would not benefit my favorite grade 6 class. I bonded with them over the year; they knew about me and how I operated and the thought of losing that broke my heart.
After weeks of literally panicking about my future and being frustrated, I was told that I would not be able to go back: The threat was just to great; according to Peace Corps.
It was a hard pill to swallow, but eventually, I got used to the idea of going to a new school in a new place.
Being in Duineveld, taught me so many lessons- even though I didn't expect to. The issues I had there forced me to think and act more independently.
Of course, I will definitely miss my original babakies ("babies" in Afrikaans). My children and I accomplished a lot and I know it was not all in vain. I was able to meet and get to know a few outstanding teachers also.
I will always be grateful to them for giving me the strength to teach each and everyday I was there.
I've been at my new site for a week now and I still can't believe that I'm here.
This new school is GORGEOUS. My site is very close to town and the staff here are insanely nice. The scenery at the school is incredible; its within the suburbs and overlooks the town downhill.
I've got a much bigger room with my own bathroom and mini-stove. The learner hostel is almost like a hotel equipped with wifi, foos-ball tables, a TV room, tennis court and swimming pool.
Did I forget to mention there's a KFC?
I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves and stop gloating....
Traditional nama celebrations
I've been at this new school for a few weeks and have got the opportunity to attend a couple of traditional Nama events. Last weekend, I went to a Coloured/Nama Wedding and this past Friday, I had the pleasure of going to an engagement party.
Both opened my eyes on how integration truly works and the culture of one of Namibia's tribes.
My last christmas as a peace Corps VOlunteer
First off, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!
I've been at the school hostel alone for the past couple of weeks and I must say, Im getting used to the quiet. Everyday I wake up, surf the internet, watch a couple of episodes of a TV show (or a whole series), drink a couple of smoothies and go to bed. Its a routine Ive grown accustomed to.
Ive never been alone during the holidays and Ive never had nothing going on before, but its fairly relaxing. Most of your PC experience will most likely feel this way, but there are many ways to keep yourself busy when absoutlely no one is around.
Today, for example, I plan on making a small X-Mas feast, watching Christmas themed movies and eating homade oatmeal cookies.
However, this is not to say that I havent been thinking about my family and friends back home; because I am. ALL. THE. TIME. I have 9 months left in country and I hope to get back to noisy, turnt New York christmas parties with the people I care about the most.
*Its raining right now down in the South, which I find to be Christmas miracle!