cues on queues.

4156

If I’ve learned one thing while living abroad, it’s patience. Extremely patience. At the grocery store, doctor’s office, bank. For meetings, events, and taxis. Patience is key.

In Namibia, when you’re waiting in line, it’s called waiting in queue. And when I venture to any of the places named above, I expect to wait in a queue. Sometimes for a few minutes many times for a few hours.

In most cultures, there are unwritten rules or norms related to queuing up. In Hawaii, customers leave their sandals in queue as a placeholder, then take a seat until their sandals are in front. Other cultures may have a system of complete disorder or disarray, but somehow people always seem to know their place in queue.

In Namibia, there are also some unwritten rules of queuing up. Here’s some tips to help you keep your sanity if you ever come visit me:

4155

Read all signs. Well, technically, these are written. But, read signs, for real. There may be many. Sometimes, they even contradict each others, but they tell you what services can be offered in certain queues. Those are important. Many times, failure to read these signs on your part will make for a long, stressful day.

Elderly get served first. Yes, even though you’ve waited hours, when meekulu walks in, she is now priority. Pro Tip: If you even think about walking passed meekulu(s)* for any service, you better greet each and every one of them as you walk by.

*the plural for meekulu is omeekulu, but for English context, I just added a ‘s.’

Place holding is acceptable. You start to notice this more when you’re nearing the front of the queue. All of a sudden, two or three people are now making their way to the front, out of no where. It’s completely acceptable to leave the queue to run other errands and to return back in front of the man with the white shirt and blue jeans. That man will also vouch for you, that you indeed had that place in queue.

For all the times I have waited in queues, it’s so easy to resort back to how things are done in America and complain while swearing silently in my head. But, for every queue wait in, I’m thankful for the A/C I get to enjoy and sometimes a comfy seat. I truly see what it’s like to be a local while learning to art of waiting.

❤ Krystal

[servant] leading to change.

My senior year of college, I was co-captain of my soccer team. I’ll admit, I was never the best player on the team, but I was voted by my teammates “Most Improved Player,” for two years consecutively (hey, I won something). I didn’t always have the right answers, but on and off the field I led by example.

When this translated into a business setting, I naturally developed a leadership style leaning more towards servant leadership. Servant leaders put the needs of others first which helps people to develop and to perform at their highest level. So, if this means sharing workloads, encouraging, and supporting, count me in. 

For me, I rather show people how to lead than show people how to follow. 

The word sustainable gets tossed around a lot when you’re working at a grassroot level. The idea of meeting people where they are is alive and well. In order to achieve sustainability, you must first approach change. 

As a health volunteer, a lot of my focus is on behavior change.

When I leave Namibia next year, I hope that positive change was inspired through my actions on a daily basis from my willingness to get my hands dirty or lend a helping hand. I want my actions each day to reflect my support and committment to change in my community.

I hope a decade from now that one person who thought they were following me will realize they were actually leading.

This post is part of Blogging Abroad’s 2017 New Years Blog Challenge, week four: Change and Hope.

waterworks and sometimes it doesn’t.

We’ve all heard about Namibia and its water crisis. In 2007, an aquifer was discovered in my region (Ohangwena). It is predicted to be able to supply a significant amount of water to Namibian residents.

Until that phase is rolled out… Some days I come home to dry taps.

I don’t think I have ever appreciated the conveniences or realized the magnitude of inconveniences when it comes to water until I moved to Namibia. I mean, just like food, clothing, and shelter, water is a necessity. Water is life. Water is bae.

Being a PCV, you quickly learn that it’s always a good idea to plan for water to just not work.

Sometimes for a few hours and maybe sometimes for a few days.

WATER FILTER (CONVENIENCE)

20160814_124351

Peace Corps supplies volunteers a water filter. Although the water in my area is clean and purified, it’s nice to have a container to store water in. You quickly learn to be creative and efficient with your resources in the Peace Corps. This is strategically placed above my dish washing bucket so that any extra drop can be used for washing dishes. Some PCVs utilize jerry cans for extra water storage in case of emergencies, or if they need to travel a distance to fetch water.

BUCKET BATHING (INCONVENIENCE)

Summer time is approaching quickly, which means outdoor shower. But, for the other times of the year it means bucket baths.

I hate bucket bathing.

20160730_114236

I am so new at this concept, I never actually feel all that clean. You know the Peace Corps meme with a glass half-full (or half-empty, however you want to look at it) which says something along the lines of “I can take a shower with that.” While in my case, that truth is a tad bit stretched. But, I will say when I do take a bucket bath I use at most 6 liters of water.

I fill up two of these and add about a liter or so of cold water. One of many “American” downfalls of bucket bathing is time spent. It takes about 3 to 4 minutes to heat up each pitcher of water, and a considerably longer amount of time to actually bathe.

There’s also a techniques, which I will probably still be working on at the completion of my two years in Namibia.

First, wash your face.

Second, wash your arm, legs, pits, and bits.

Third, wash your hair.

Lastly, wash your underwear. It’s very taboo to wash your underwear with your outerwear to hang on the line. So, instead your underwear should be washed with your bath water and hung up in a private area, such as your room, to dry.

TIPPY TAP (CONVENIENCE)

In the village, we do a lot of health promotion and education on proper hand washing and hygiene which includes how to make a tippy tap. My host brother actually made this one while I was away for the weekend. A tippy tap is a wonderful hands-free way to hand washing when running water is not available.

20160814_123601 (1)

DISH WASHING (INCONVENIENCE)

IMG_20160727_165232

I shared this photo on my Instagram a few weeks ago. I share a kitchen with my host family and there is no sink. Instead we use buckets to wash and rinse dishes. Since moving out to my hut, I have downsized to only one bucket (buckets get expensive and take up room). I wash my dishes in one bucket, set them aside, and then fetch clean water to rinse. I then use the rinse water as the wash water for the next load the following day. Repeat. I do sometimes consider this an inconvenience, but actually it’s a little therapeutic. Sometimes, the kids help me wash. They like using my kitchen gadgets, i.e. bristle brush to clean my water bottles and my sponge with the built-in stainless-steel sponge.

It’s truly the little things that make a world of a difference.

❤ Krystal

bountiful harvest.

Mahangu, porridge, pap, oshifima. Chances are you will see me use these words a lot over the next two years.

Mahangu is one of many traditional foods in Namibia. It is prepared in some form or fashion in most Namibian households. On my homestead, it’s used daily to make oshikundu (a traditional drink) and oshifima (a stiff porridge used as you would a dripping bread).

 Several times throughout the year, my host brothers head to the farm to harvest mahangu. They have been at least twice since I’ve moved in. All I know is 1) “The Farm” is very far away 2) Harvesting mahangu is very, very hard work. Mahangu is harvested and then pounded down to create a flour-like product which is then used to make oshifima.

Before I get too ahead of myself, here are a few Cultural Fun Facts I wish I would have known sooner, and I am sure other PCVN can relate.

Fun Fact #1– It is considered rude to smell your food before you eat it. Still trying to break this habit.

Fun Fact #2– It is rude to refuse food. You can usually say something along the lines of thank you, but I ate, I am full.

Fun Fact #3– It is traditional to wash your hands before you eat (and also hygienic). At a family meal, we pass around a wash basin filled with soap and water for us each to wash our hands.

Fun Fact #4– You should only eat oshifima with your right hand. Whoops again!

Fun Fact #5– When offering a homemade food or drink, it is customary to taste it in the presence of the person. It shows that it is indeed nawa to consume, kinda like a modern-day wine bearer, but of your own offerings.

20160808_170114.jpg

Making porridge to feed the pigs. Every man, woman, child and animal eats mahangu around here.

 

SDC12785.JPG

I should really stop becoming friends with potential Namibian entrees.

This weekend my host family celebrated a season of a bountiful harvest of mahangu.

We all gathered around the coffee table.

We feasted on oshifima and goat meat.

It was delicious.

I can compare this experience to what we do in America on Thanksgiving. It’s a huge celebration. There is singing and prayer and lots of laughter.

Unfortunately, my host mom was not home at the time due to a death in the family. So, my host sister, Lucia prepared most of the meal with the help of my brothers to braai (similar to BBQ) the goat meat.

As we sat around a crowded coffee table rejoicing over the abundance of oshifima and meat for dinner, I began to realize how thankful I am for a family who has accepted me into their house as their own.

Although there is still a period of transition for me between Fort Worth to Okahandja and now Ondobe, I am at HOME.

20160806_212851

❤ Krystal

on the go.

image

Okahandja is a beautiful town of roughly 24,000 people, and probably about the same amount of dogs and chickens. I’m still learning my way around, and actually found myself walking an almost 8-miles round-trip to find the mall. I wasn’t lost. I know where the mall is. I know where my house is. I just don’t know the relation of my house to the mall. I’ll figure it out.

Days are still jam packed with language studies. I now know how to say “I have two brothers” which is “Ondi na ovamwemememati vavali,” and “I don’t need a man,” which is “Kandi pumbwa omusamane.” I just can’t use them together, that would be weird.

I’ve also learned to say, “cats are the devil” and “carrot.” You know, useful conversation starters?

Since I know how curious you are, I wanted to post a few pictures of things I see on the daily during my commute. I think colors here are even more vibrant than the States.

image

At least once a week, a truck driver parks his cattle in front of the training center. It’s very common to hear cows mooing during our training sessions or lunch breaks.

image

I found French pressed coffee in Namibia. The lady who owns this bakery sells mini French pressed coffee, muffins, and I believe she even makes her own shampoo. I plan on buying shampoo before I move to site.

image

Each evening I get to witness a beautiful sunset. This is one of many. I swear I could take pictures every evening of this, although pictures never do it justice. I don’t think this will ever get old.

❤ Krystal

This post is part of the Blogging Abroad Challenge.