letter home – july 2017.

Another month has come and gone! July was a pretty exciting one.

I posted quite a bit on my blog this month, so if you haven’t read it lately, check it out. Also, the beginning of August marks the single month countdown until COS (close of service). Wow! Doesn’t even seem possible, but it is.

So, July, July, July (insert Decemberist, here). We had our 4th of July braai. That was fun. I also planned it, so it was nice that everything went according to plan.

Then, I went to Etosha. That is also on my blog. 🙂 (I have learned to schedule my blogs to auto-post, since my wifi is unpredictable). So, I am not actually sitting at my computer all day and night, like it may seem.

Peace Corps Namibia’s Media Committee paid a visit to my site for 5-days late-July to film for an impact video which will be posted in the next couple months. The Media Committee is comprised of volunteers throughout Namibia who create media to spotlight PC Namibia to the rest of Peace Corps. Many Peace Corps post (countries) have media committees. It was really fun to have them follow me along. Many of the MC volunteers are town volunteers. There seems to be a feud between the town and village volunteers. Mostly about the have-nots and the have-nothings. lol. All volunteers have their challenges, but it was nice for them to see what some may call “The Peace Corps Experience.” In many ways, my PC experience is what many volunteers envision when they apply. So, the “townies” totally soaked up the village-life for a few days. My host family and colleagues welcomed them with open arms by providing meals, transport, and new skills to take back to their town-life. (Although, we didn’t kill a chicken this time.)

I can’t wait for the final cut of the video to be posted, but it was a magical experience. Stars aligned during those 5-days and everything worked out with projects, people, etc. (ok, maybe having a camera crew helped), but it was great.

I know it seems opposite to think or say, but it really was a humbling experience. I’m really fortunate for the community I have been placed in (warts and all). I had a heart-to-heart with Vern. He’s a newer business volunteer to the country. He’s retired military with over 30 years of working experience. I sat down to talk to him during one of our lulls through the week. I was able to tell him about challenges I have encountered throughout my last year. I have had many frustrations (some I have told you about) and times where I wanted to be home, close to friends, family, and colleagues who appreciate my hard work and effort. I know now that without my community, I am nothing. Being a Peace Corps Volunteer means absolutely nothing without a community. I have been blessed to have a community that cares for me and takes care of me in absence of my family back home.

There never is really a “failed” project, it’s just a project that is not fit for a community at this time. There always seems to be new projects that arise in failures.

So, now my weekly schedule consists of the health club, exercise group, mentoring Victoria, and community health outreach (checking BP, weight and health education) in the community. Still waiting to hear back from the Ministry about a secure meeting space to host our teen HIV support group. Fingers crossed.

Anyhow, more personal fun stuff:

  • I have almost finished all 10 seasons of Friends. Season 8 is by far the funniest, in my opinion
  • I finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and I am currently reading Wild, The Blind Side, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and BIG TEAM, a leadership book written by one of my friends I worked with at Chesapeake.
  • Started on 2017 table cloth embroidering (slowly, but surely).
  • I’m in a wedding this weekend. My bridesmaid dress is blue and I’m somehow supposed to wear 3-inch heels in the sand, oh boy.

August means another school break is in store, and I will be spending the last week of the month hiking Fish River Canyon with some volunteers.

Also, Camp GLOW will take place during the last week of August. If you would like to still donate for that please do so here: https://donate.peacecorps.gov/donate/project/camp-glow-namibia-2017/

I added a lot of pictures this time. I figured wherever you’re reading this, you have better internet than I do, so this won’t take all day to load.

6176639328_IMG_0646.JPG

At the end of each month, there is a pension day. Eligible elderly go to pick up their pension checks. One that same day, there is usually a market setup in front of the clinic and sell goods such as brooms, shoes, baskets and they even butcher meat. It’s like a one-stop shop for people who travel long distances from their village. This picture is with the ladies who were selling N$5 avocados. ($1 USD= N$13). I don’t even really like avocados, but you can’t beat that price anywhere. Photo Credit: Peace Corps Namibia Media Committee

IMG_4200.JPG

Me and Ms.Frieda, she’s the principal at the secondary school and one of my friends in Namibia. Photo Credit: Peace Corps Namibia Media Committee

MC_Ondobe (24).JPG

A few of my colleagues at the clinic- Josephine and Pehevelo. (The shack looking thing in the back, is actually an outdoor kitchen, called an epata, it is covered to protect from the rain in the rainy season. Oh, and when I say kitchen, it’s literally just a few stones on the ground to hold your pot for cooking over an open fire.) Photo Credit: Peace Corps Namibia Media Committee

IMG_4194

Passing out some more teddy bears at the kindergarten across from the clinic. I think I was dancing in that photo. Why was I dancing? Photo Credit: Peace Corps Namibia Media Committee

IMG_4176.JPG

Washing clothes. Yep, hand-washing. I learned from the “townies” that some of them actually wear gloves to hand-wash their clothes. It’s really not that bad, just time consuming. Okay, I actually hate it, but my host family usually helps me and I offer a few dollars or sweets in return. Photo Credit: Peace Corps Namibia Media Committee

I wanted to send this email tomorrow, but with my luck with Wifi, I figured I would send it now now.
Have a wonderful week!

everyone seen’ a rhino, say yeah.

 

SDC13167

First animal sighting of the canine Adidas and Nike behind me.

 

Living in Africa Namibia, I think everyone back home assumes that I encounter dangerous wildlife on the daily.

The most common “wildlife” I see in my village are goats, cattle, dogs, and chickens. Think of the animals you would encounter driving down a back road in Oklahoma, and those are exactly the same everyday animals I see in Namibia. I know this because I’ve driven many back roads in Oklahoma.

Northern Namibia is home to one of the oldest national parks, Etosha. Etosha was established as a game reserve in 1907 and covers over 22,000 square kilometers in the Kunene region. Etosha is home to hundreds of mammals, reptiles, birds, including some threatened and endangered species, oh and it’s only about a 2 1/2 hour drive from my home in Ondobe.

My friend, Mandeep, invited me to Etosha with him and his mother and sister who were visiting from New Jersey. Justin also came along and drove us through the self-guided safari.

Okay, I’m finished talking. I know you just wanna see animals.

*As I am writing this, I am trying to watch YouTube videos of rhinos, elephants, and lions. Let me remind you, these are wild animals. Catching the best snapshot is in no way more important than protecting your life. All of these photos were taken from the safety of a vehicle, and I hope that if you decide to visit Etosha or any national park, you will also practice common sense to protect yourself from a dangerous animal encounter.

Man, I am bossy today.

SDC13328.JPG

Some wildebeest fighting while others mind theirs.

 

SDC13204

 

SDC13175

When you see it.

 

SDC13242.JPG

Jackals waiting for leftovers from the lion’s feast.

 

SDC13221.JPG

Are they black with white stripes or white with black stripes?

 

SDC13250

Kori bustards are the largest flying birds. So, pretty much I’ve seen pterodactyls. Life complete.

 

SDC13197.JPG

A line of elephants leaving the waterhole.

 

SDC13292

Springboks are like the goats of Etosha. They are everywhere!

 

SDC13275

Beautiful ostrich. Supposedly, the black ones are male and the brown ones are female.

 

Although I don’t have a picture of the rhino (I mean, I do, but it’s so far away), as we headed back towards the north gate we looked over to see a large gray body slowly walking through the savannah. So, we seen’ a rhino and I would call this a successful trip to Etosha!

SDC13311.JPG

Then, there are these 3 crazy animals.

❤ Krystal