Saturday, 3 December 2011

The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.
Hi all!
How are things?  It’s been pretty busy here in Namibia and summer is definitely here…AZ heat without the air conditioning! J
To catch you up….the community garden project took a strange turn. The same week I sent my proposal and got funding, some large company or ministry (I still can’t get a strait answer from the social worker) came in and funded and had a huge garden built in one week on the same plot our garden was to be on. I want to be happy about this but I was kept out of the loop on the whole thing and now there stands a finished structure (the mesh part of which has collapsed already) and from what I can see, no plan. I fear that there will be no regulation of who works in the garden and can plant and harvest and benefit from the garden. Therefore, I’ve stepped back completely. Until I can be assured that my support group ladies can work in the garden and will actually get part of the harvest they work on, it’s just not worth my time or energy to be involved. If all else fails, we will plant a few beds at the craft center and just have a small garden that only they have access to. There is more to the story but I’ll leave it that. It’s been frustrating to say the least.
We closed down the workshop part of the craft center on November 18th for the rest of the year. Although myself and the staff will work through next week, the ladies that work in the workshop are done for the year and can enjoy the festive season (the month of Dec). We had a nice braai for them on the 18th and I’ll include pictures of them and their children dancing and enjoying the party.
It’s been quite busy for us staff at work. The Czech volunteer I mentioned in my previous blog has kept us busy learning new business things and basically starting from scratch in putting together a work guide. It’s been long days and many hours as he is trying to fix it all as much as he can in the three months he is here. It’s been quite stressful really as I’m trying to learn a whole new role and the structure is not there the way it would be in the states. It’s been a true test of patience and taking it one day at a time. J
I’ve been at a “Made in Namibia” expo up in Windhoek (the capital) for the past two weeks. I was one of about three white folks out of the 130 participants. I got a lot of strange looks at first until I started to meet everyone and they found out I am a volunteer helping a craft center in their country. Then I quickly became one of the group. A group of lovely Herero ladies (one of the tribes here in Namibia) took me under their wing and made sure I didn’t eat alone, etc. I’ll also include pics of them from the gala dinner we had on Thursday night to close the expo. Their hat is meant to resemble a cow’s horns and when they wear this traditional dress, they walk slowly and sway, much like a cow or bull. They are quite impressive and stunning! It was great to meet so many talented small business owners from all around Namibia…shoe makers, potters, welders and the like. The bad part was having diarrhea the last four days I was there! Anything I ate or drank ran right through me! I purposely didn’t eat or drink anything yesterday since I had to travel back to Keetmans (5 hours). I was doing well the first hour or so but then I had to ask the combi (van) driver to pull over on the side of the highway as I couldn’t hold it. He was nice enough to drive to where there was a bush amongst the tall grass. I tell ya….I’ve done things here in Namibia I thought I’d never do in my life….like squat behind a bush on the side of the road while a van full of people waited. J  Luckily I’m feeling better now that I’m back home and have taken some medication (medication that by the way…I will be packing in my backpack from now on when I travel!).
One more week of work and then I travel. Since most of Namibia shuts down in December for the festive season, PC has been gracious in giving us 4 weeks to travel in-country without taking leave. I’ll head up north first and stay in Tsumeb and meet up with other volunteers and then we will camp in Etosha for a few days (big game park…wish me luck that I see lots of animals as there aren’t really any here in the South), then to Swakopmund on the coast (where Brad and Angelina go), then back down to Keetmans for a few days of alone time while the others travel to Luderitz. We will then meet up again on the 27th and all head to Cape Town, South Africa until the 4th of January. I’m very, very excited about this travel and much needed time off!
Here is wishing all of you a happy holiday season and New Year! I’ll be sure to blog after the New Year and include some pictures of my travels. For now, enjoy some pictures of our workshop ladies and their children dancing at the braai and the lovely Herero ladies I met and hung out with over the past two weeks.  The best to all of you and thanks for the emails and being in touch! It means so much! Miss you all!

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