Living in Africa has not felt too much different than living at back in the States quite yet. Yesterday, I had pizza and beer for lunch. Last week, I went to the mall. Since most days are spent in training, many necessities such as travel, per diem, and such are taken care of. Don’t get me wrong, things are different. But, I haven’t felt as if I am lacking anything, because most things I need or want are obtainable here. Except cookie butter and salsa.
Five New Norms of my Namibian Life
1. We share everything.
Last week at church, the lady next to me was kind enough to share her scarf with me. I think it was mostly because my dress was considered short in Namibian culture. She wanted to help cover my legs while I was sitting. I mean, it was about 90 degrees inside the pop-up tent church, so it was a nice gesture. In return, she would occasionally grab my notes off my lap to use as a fan.
Also, taxis in Namibia follow a similar sharing concept. Taxis like to fill up with riders, so it’s not unusual if you share a ride with 3 or 4 other people. Just hope you’re never in a hurry.
Moral of the story: If you don’t like to share, don’t come to Namibia.
2. Don’t waste water.
Similar to the States, water is not a resource to be wasted. Namibia in its recent years has suffered severe droughts. My host family has running water, but it makes me think twice about letting the water run as I brush my teeth or wash my face. For most Americans, I think bathing or showering is more of a time to relax and unwind. We’ve turned showering into an experience. In Namibia, it’s a method to get clean. So, buff, scrub, shave, and whatnot in a respectful amount of time, and get out!
3. Day starts at sunrise and ends at sunset.
It’s hard to even believe a sleepyhead like myself is even capable of waking up before 6 am. It’s winter time here, so the days are shorter. The people here have to work with the sun. The schoolkids are on holiday, but even when I’m heading to my coombi early morning, several children are up; running errands, playing; etc. Sleeping in is not a norm around these parts.
4. Chickens and dogs are my daily wakeup call.
Each morning around 0400 hear dogs barking. Then, around 0445 or 0500 I hear the roosters. I don’t know if I will ever get used to it. Even when it doesn’t wake me up from my slumber, I love that it’s something I hear every day. It reminds me that it’s a new day.
The way cell phone service works here is confusing. I won’t get into that. But, one things for sure. When there is free Wifi available, almost every PCV has the password. Between Kukuri Center and all of the local spots in town, we definitely know how to slow down the speed when we are all together. (It has taken me 30 minutes between my phone and computer to upload my blog.)
I know these norms will change in the extent of my 2 years, but for now, enjoying each and every minute of it.
Until next time