Sunday, July 04, 2004

Full Moon Madness

Last night while coming into Windhoek I watched the red moon rise out over the desolate Namibian bush. It was awesome and gave me that extra boost to make the last couple of hours while being jammed between to guys whose shoulders met in front of my chest in the back seat of a bus from Oshakati with crazy Owambo music blaring. Oh....Africa!

So I am on my way to Pretoria, SA on a PC medical trip. I had come down to Windhoek last week to seee a doctor. PC decided to send me to see a doctor in SA and I didn't have my passport, so on Wednesday I headed back north to Okanguati to get it. Two and a half days later I arrived, packed my bags with warm clothes (It's winter in the southern Hemisphere and I am about to head way south), got my passport, and two hours after arriving, I started the journey south. Talk about intense travel...stranded in way too remote villages, backs of pick-ups in frontier bush, hot steamy odorous vans, hours on the side of the road waiting for A car...any vehicle. But I am here, able to relax for a couple of days before heading to a new country for at least a couple of days.

School has been going well. I continue to work hard on the library...it actually looks like a library now. We a color coding the books so that it will be easy to reshelf for the kids, so it is not open for borrowing yet, but I do let the kids in when I am working. Just to see the excitement and smiles has been worth coming here. I have kids coming to me wondering when I am going to work because they want to go look at the books and magazines. It is wonderful! I am hoping to paint my classroom and start decorating it when I get back from SA. I am looking for posters and want to buy different color paints so that we can paint things on the walls that will assist in learning. To tell the truth I have so many ideas, but so little time. Two years is starting to sound so short. Also finding funding and resources is not the easiest, but I keep trying because that is what I am here for. It is amazing how many hours I put in day after day and continue to get excited about it day after day. It's all good!

I am off now to wonder the "big" city, drink some coffee, and maybe catch a film. Until next time............Peace!

Friday, May 21, 2004

Something New

This is all very new! I'm getting use to that, though. I had no idea what a blog was until a couple of weeks ago and I decided to try it out. I will try to post on it from time to time.

So...life as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia these days. Where to begin. I have been on vacation since April 30th, so I have been to Windhoek (Capital) for a meeting, shopping and eating food that didn't come out of a bag or can or a tree. Windhoek must be my least favorite capital that I have visited. Nothing much going for it and not very appealing. After I had eaten all I could, my mind returned to the Northwest. Everytime I leave up here, my heart aches and my mind yearns to return. It is always such a relief to come over the rise and see the valley and Opuwo in the distance. Good Times!

Well, seven friends came up to see the mountains, changing leaves, and the Himba. After a couple of days at Ingrid's in Opuwo we headed up to Epupa falls on the Angolan border. Living between Opuwo and Epupa I knew the drive would be awesome, but nothing could have prepared me for Epupa. One of the most glorious places I have ever been. The falls is truly breathtaking and enormous. We camped under palm trees right next to the top of the falls, and slept with the roar of the water tumbling. There were so few people there which gave it a quiet serene feel that I assume you can't find at bigger falls in the area (Victoria?!!). And to top it off, word got out that Mister Tomo was there, and so for three days we had personal tour guides in my students who took us on walks, showed us the best swimming holes, braided the girls' hair and showed us a wonderful African time. It was AMAZING to say the least.

We then came back to Okanguati where everyone spent a couple of nights. My flat is tiny so people camped outside on the school grounds. It was fun to have everyone there and for friends to see "my world".

So, now I am in Opuwo preparing to make a presentation to the management of the Mobile schools regarding an idea I have for English curriculum. The mobile schools are schools for the Himba who still live a traditional life, and therefore the schools can move as they do. They have very few resources and students do not really relate to what texts they do have. I want to create a program for teachers and students that will be relevant to their lives and easy for multi level classes since some teachers teach grades 4-7 at one time. It is exciting to be in the beginning stages of this project.

Thanks to my family, friends, and town our school library is slowly growing. I have received five bags of books now (3 today!) and I understand more are on the way. We have a room that I am working on setting the library up in, so I hope to get it up and running during this next term. Hopefully by the time I leave it will be well-stocked and well-running.

I am teaching grade 5 and 8 English and grade 6 and 7 Maths. So, basically I am a primary teacher, something I never thought I would be. I love it. It drives me mad at times but I am so glad I have younger kids. Since most of my learners are first generation students and have never left the area, it is providing challenges I could have never anticipated.

So, life here is good and fun and frustrating and exciting. I am ready to start a new term after a wonderful vacation.

More soon...................tom