letter home- september 2016.

I haven’t had time to finish any post lately, so decided to share an email I sent home to family and friends almost exactly a year ago. Funny how things change in the matter of one year. Enjoy!

Wa lala po nawa! (Good Morning!)

I can’t believe yet another pumpkin spice latte season is upon us. And while you, my friends, are enjoying the break from the intense summer rays, and relishing in the crisp air that autumn has in store, I am now on the cusp of summer. It’s really hot! I thought living in Texas would be the best preparation for me, and in some cases it is. But, with little cloud coverage and no humidity most days, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the Namibian sun.

Some things I thought I would never get used to 1) Taking a cold shower. Yes, I have an outdoor shower which only has cold water. I just imagine that I am rinsing off at the beach and it gets me through the misery. 2) Waking up by 7 am most days. I am actually really proud of myself. If it’s not the roosters or kids (goats and humans), it’s one of my host siblings knocking on my door to ask for sugar, matches, or the key to the house (I have the spare key to the main house just in case I have to tinkle at night). 3) Cooking using a crockpot and kettle most days. I have access to the main house, but since I keep all my food in my room, it’s easier to prepare meals on my own, in my room. Pinterest has been a god sent, and I have learned to make cakes, bread, soups, sweet potato fries and much more in it. I also learned I can boil pasta and eggs in my kettle, so that’s another PC lifehack.

So, you probably want to know more about what the heck I am doing here. Besides blogging and cooking and hanging out with the kids (who sometimes drive me crazy). Well, as some of you know, the first 3 months are site are meant for building connections in my community, learning about the needs of the community, and learning the language. So, in the grand scheme of things, the first 3 months I haven’t done much. I say that in the sense of. I am not teaching nutrition classes (yet), I am not planting gardens (yet), etc. This time is more about “taking the temperature” of the community and making sure the work that will be done is sustainable.

Ten days ago marked the end of my 90-day probation where I am allowed to beginning projects. My current project is the Girls Club. Believe it or not, although I am very excited to get it up and going, I was not very enthusiastic about it from the beginning. Mainly because I don’t see myself as a teacher and it is extremely stressful for me to prepare weekly agenda with the limited resources we have. And.. we all know the attitudes teenage girls have! LET’S BE HONEST! The first week about 1/3 of the initial sign-ups showed up, and the information in the toolkit was boring. Like, I was even bored. So, week 2, I decided to change things up. I found a flipchart and had the girls write down topics that wanted to cover in Girls Club. Each week we will dive into the topics they are interested in and go from there. Topics the girls want to talk about: HIV/AIDS, relationships, and of course fashion to name a few. Each week, I find a little more confidence in leading these future leaders and hope that the change in the club material will excite the girls more and gain a little more interest from their fellow learners.

This weekend, I decided to get my home garden going. Our first attempt at germinating our seedlings failed when I woke up in the middle of the night to a black bull outside my window eating our seeds. So, while it was still cool out yesterday, I took the kids (host siblings, not goats) out to collect materials for composting. Lucky for us, there is plenty of cow/goat/donkey poop around. Guys, I picked up cow poop with my bare hands and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. We also collected lots of green stuff (pulled leaves off of trees), brown stuff (dried leaves and mahangu reeds), and “good soil” (the kids convinced me it was good, but we had to break it up with excessive force, so we’ll see). After about 2 to 3 hours of collecting the goods, we started our compost pile outside my room. Well, I had to add water this morning which was leftover from my coffee, since our water was still out this morning. Everyone is excited about beginning the garden, I hope the excitement last as we continue to get the hardest part out of the way, which to any of you who have ever started a garden know actually starting a garden is hard work, and I can understand why some give up before the harvest.

I was trying to keep this short and sweet, but this week at the clinic, two Red Cross volunteers from Germany are coming from my neighboring town to follow our Red Cross/USAID team for the day. We planned on going out to the community garden, which I haven’t seen yet. So, it will be another adventure for me, and hopefully, this will be another way to meet and form connections with my community. Wednesday is my Girls Club and Thursday I will head out with Helvi, a Health Extension Worker, to help with rapid HIV testing.

This weekend, I was invited to be a judge for a beauty pageant in Outapi. My friend, Mandeep, is the PCV at the VTC (Vocational Training Center), and he has put a lot of hard work into planning a business bazaar in his community. Somehow a pageant fits in there. So, that’s my plan for the weekend.

Other than all the craziness, I am still blogging and journaling and soaking everything in!

Miss you all!!

throwback thursday: relax, relax.

Originally posted August 22, 2011:

To be straightforward, most of us are just plain busy. Between work and other commitments with friends and family, we tend to forget that we all need time to relax. That’s the toughest pill I had to swallow this weekend. The good ol’ mom recommended chill pill accompanied with steroids and antibiotics prescribed to me from the emergency room doctor. Okay, my mom neither the doctor prescribed me the chill pill, but advice from friends and family made it evident I need to step back and take a breather. The past six months have just been go, go, go for me. Right now, I find myself four weeks deep into training for my first half-marathon in November. In the meanwhile, I am currently working a full-time job and a part-time job, while trying to spend time with Eli, stay faithful to my LifeGroup, attend to a garden, begin prepping to facilitate Financial Peace University at work, run at least three days a week, play on an outdoor soccer team, and all of this while keeping commitments with dear friends.

I think it was only a matter of time the God finally said, “Krystal, you are not superwoman.” So, this week, I am taking a break from just about everything to relax, catch up on some books, and bake.

Besides the fact the my Saturday morning run ended disastrously. Katie and I have found some fun ways to liven up our run. I am almost hesitant to share them, because I feel like they are such hidden treasures. First, if you are looking for a running app for your iPhone or smartphone, check on RunKeeper.com. It is pretty cool. You can add your Facebook friends that already use the app to your street team, that way you can cheer each other on, as well as track your miles/kilometers, calories burned, speed, and so on. You also get “badges” for longest runs, fastest runs, and what not. Check it out if you are looking for a new app. It also maps your run, so you can check it out on your phone or log in on your computer for all your stats.

Okay, so the hidden treasure. Check out RunningAlphabet.com. The goal is to run in EVERY letter of the alphabet. You can map out your runs prior to running them and then let the fun begin. If you are better at navigating you can try running to letter as you go. You can submit your completed letter to RunningAlphabet.com. Just follow the guidelines placed by the site creator on your letters.

Next week, after a little R&R I should be back to my training again. I will keep you all posted. If I have time. 🙂

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throwback thursday- never did an update.

Originally posted Thursday, June 30, 2011

Well, it has been two months since the OKC Memorial, and I never did post an update. I finished! And got a snazzy medal. My goal was 59 minutes, and I ended up running it in 69 minutes. Realized yesterday, I actually ran it in 57:02 10 minutes over 1:58 minutes under my goal time, but what can you do? Woohoo!!! Since then, I have been trying to stay active and participate in some sort of competitive event each month. I really didn’t have anything planned for June though. Fortunately, my company participates in OU Medical Center’s Corporate Challenge each year. Behold, one of the relay team’s was short a female runner. Although it was not a foot race that required excessive training, I stepped in to run the 100 m leg of the race. Our team finished second in our heat, just behind the other CHK team.

For July, I currently have no races planned. The Dirty 30 which I really wanted to run on the 30th conflicted with other plans, so maybe next year 🙂

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Relay Teams

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Our hand-off… Don’t judge, I never ran track.

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Tentative- Half Marathon in October in North Carolina with my sister Stephany Speck. She also introduced me to a new running app called RunKeeper, and I have loved it so far.

throwback thursday- Day One of my 10K training.

This could be a fun tradition to start it’s amusing to look back on where it all began.

Monday, February 21, 2011-

Some of you may know that I’ve never been too much of a runner or a writer. I ran XC in middle school thinking it would help with my asthma- it made it worse. I also took creative writing in high school strictly due to the fact that I like my penmanship (Sorry Mrs. Crane). So, tonight I am conquering 2 battles. I have decided to blog throughout my training for OKC Memorial Marathon relay. Not only because it is something I can use to reflect my feelings throughout this journey, but also to keep me accountable. We all need accountability.

So, today started simple with just a mile and a half run. Rachel was kind enough to be my running buddy throughout this venture. (Like how I did that? Now, you guys can hold Rachel accountable too.) We headed out to a trail that she really likes outside of Bethany. Surprisingly, it is a lot easier to run with a buddy than all alone. Maybe, because you guys may have the same thoughts going on in your head or have the same goals in mind, who knows? But, today was a good chilly run.

Tomorrow is cross-training day, so I think that I will go to my boxing class at the gym. Weather permitting we will return to the trail on Wednesday. I will keep you updated.