miss ndapandula.

For my two years prior to coming to Namibia, I worked at Starbucks. Happy #PSL season, y’all! If you have ever been to Starbucks, you know that after you order your friendly barista writes (or attempts to write) your name on your cup. From a simple task such as this, you realize how important someone’s name is. For goodness sake, there are websites devoted to barista fails. Why is this such a big deal? Because it is. Your name is part of your identity. Without a name, how will you know that the quad grande half-caf 2.5 pumps vanilla latte with 4 Splendas, no foam, stirred, at 127 degrees sitting on the edge of the counter is yours?

Okay, I need to stop bringing up my painful past.

Names are a part of every culture. Names give us a sense of belonging, uniqueness, and identity. It’s strange to think that names cannot be taken from us and they don’t die. Names are important. In some cultures, due to high infant mortality, infants are not even given a name until after their first birthday. While in other cultures, particularly in Namibia, people are given two names: a birth name and a Christian name.

Quite often when introducing myself (Edina lange oKrystal or simply Ame Krystal) and asking for one’s name in return (Ove lye?), I typically get more than just that.

For example, it’s usually something along the lines of, “My name is Tobias, it means God is good”.

Meanwhile, I’m over here like, “My name is Krystal, it means clear or rock or something.”

Knowing a person’s name builds a connection. People, no matter where they dwell, feel connected when you know their name. It makes you feel wanted, needed, it builds trust and relationships.

It’s a tradition that PCV are given a name by their host communities. I was a little reluctant at first, because immabehonest. I like my name. I feared that my Namibian name wouldn’t suit me or I wouldn’t like it or I wouldn’t remember it or even respond to it. You know? Reasonable fears.

I also imagined it would be some larger ceremony where everyone in the community would gather with drums and fire as I received my new name

So, ladies and gents, the moment you have been waiting for… now introducing, Miss Krystal Ndapandula.

And guess what? I don’t hate it. And I actually respond to it.

Ndapandula (pronounced Ndaw-pan-doola) means thank you. This name was given to me by my host brother, Freddy.

Ndapandula is a common name in Namibia. When I introduce myself as Krystal Ndapandula, it makes me feel more “Wambo”. But, also ‘Krystal’ is hard for locals to pronounce, so throwing in ‘Ndapandula’ is the icing on the cake. I think my community appreciates my efforts of integrating.

Each day as I become more and more cognizant of my responsibility to others, I want to live up to the name I was given. By humbling myself to serve a higher purpose beyond me and by putting my community’s needs above my wants for my community, I strive daily to be a volunteer Ondobe is actually thankful for.

❤ Miss Krystal Ndapandula

Thank you

*Also, completely unrelated: We have now observed daylight savings here in Namibia, so with that information, I am now 6 hours ahead of EST and 7 hours ahead of CST.*

thank you for dumping me.

Thank you for dumping me.

Because when it comes down to it, I wasn’t brave enough to dump you.

We were great together. We had fun. We traveled. We loved. We started to dream and plan our future together.

In the end, you decided we were better off going our separate directions. And you know what?

Thank you.

I mean that in the most sincere and honest way ever.

It wasn’t fair of me to expect more than you could give.

I’m going to say this out loud. I have dad issues. They are buried so deep and instead of leaning on you as my partner in crime, friend, and lover, I relied on you to fix the hurt from a past that you couldn’t fix. That you shouldn’t fix.

It wasn’t fair to you. 

I gave up things that made me happy and expected you to do the same. Instead of uniting to make the best two people, I expected each of us to sacrifice everything. We slowly began to suffocate. Our aspirations became a thing of yesterdays.

Emotions aside, I held on to us so hard, because everything around me was crashing down. Instead of being the one by your side or leading the way. I was the one behind you pushing. Ignoring wants, needs, and desires. Pushing. Forcing things in a time and place that neither of us was ready for at the time. Not together, at least.

So, in the upcoming months, things are changing for both of us. Things that would have never come to fruition if we were together neither professionally and personally.

Sometimes there is no “closure”, you just move on. And you know what? That’s okay. To come out of this unchanged, would be a disservice to myself.

For the times we had together, I will cherish forever.

❤ Krystal


*Edited September 8, 2017*


the run that changed your life.

As all of us in the running community continue to take roll call accounting for our running clubs, friends, family, and acquaintances who were running Boston on Monday, let us still keep those who were less fortunate in our thoughts and prayers.

While details are still unfolding, I had a feeling in my heart to do something in my community to honor those who were killed and injured. I decided to invite runners out for a 2-mile run at Lake Hefner to honor those killed and injured. My thought was, although I can’t do a lot from Oklahoma, I can do something, and that something matters. I decided to #run2milesforboston and invited all my friends locally and virtually to join in.


Why it matters to me?
Even though details are still unfolding, as I mentioned earlier, this was not an attack on the Boston Marathon. The majority of people affected were in the crowds. The crowds consisting of our mentors, supporters, and believers. This was an attack on people that without, this race is nothing. These are the people we look forward to seeing at the finish line. People we long to see after experiencing 26.2 miles. The ones who push us to carry on. The ones who embrace of with a hug and kiss for our efforts. The ones who cry with us with overwhelming emotions of achievement. The ones that tell us, “you’re almost there” or “you got this” or “looking good.” The ones you run 26.2 miles for. My eyes swell with emotion writing this. Life changers await at the finish line. Races are nothing without crowds in the stand. This was a senseless crime which should have never happened. Without Martins, Krystles, and Lus our 26.2 miles are in vain. My heart aches for you and your families for doing what we runners appreciate so much. Thanks for believing in us. Thanks for supporting us. Thanks for encouraging us in the final leg. We love you and you will be greatly missed in this life. I am praying for comfort and understanding in such confusing times.

This run has changed so many lives in so many ways. It’s not about the medals, bumper stickers, or PRs. It’s about community. Martin, Krystle, and Lu, thank you for changing my life. Thanks for being believers, supporters and mentors. You were taken from this Earth too soon.

#prayforboston #prayformartin #prayforkrystle #prayforlu #runforboston