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For the Mama

Since I have been informed, razzed, ranted on and shamed at my lack of “Africa” posting…here’s a small one for the Mama-San.

A day in my life is pretty…well, boring. I have a few clubs, a few meets, a meeting, a running-through-the-store (hoping meal-matching items will jump into the cart). I’m pretty sure I’ve broken my schedule down before but reading through my five previous posts is too depressing.

I usually try to get in a bit of “face time” at the clinic or have meetings with different groups (Ministry of Ed, Catholic AIDS Action, etc.), homework help/university application help at the TRC, Literacy club at the library and dance class with the ladies from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare. Once a week I add on the after school club with my 8th grade learners.

Since school is just starting back up things are insanely slow. Kids don’t want to go to class, and hate to stay even later just to hear about picking out careers. But I’ve been filling my time up with different (and hopefully more interactive) topics. Like rights of a youth in Namibia. Plenty of kids are unsure what is required of them, their schools, the government or their parents. It’ll be nice to lay down the law (literally) and see where there’s confusion, what things they worry about and how I can help connect them with any resources they need.

I’m also hoping to expand the club with my counterpart to include 9th grade and reach out to some of the learners at the high school. It’s nice to offer kids things to do on weekends…and who doesn’t want to watch me attempt Zumba!? The TRC staff is amazing and completely interested in supporting learners in developing study skills and reading ability. I have all fingers and toes crossed that we can gather some learners together and get a schedule down.

But to add photos to this thing…

 

On the Road to Luderitz (Kolmanskop) This would be a delightfully creepy house at Kolmaskop. It’s a tiny abandoned mining town that’s been featured all over National Geographic. I didn’t have a permit, so no visiting. But this was taken during my Christmas sojourn into the wilds of Luderitz (a wonderfully developed coastal town with plenty of cafes and cheese).

Ms. Kayec 2012

 

A few of the boys (yup) stole the Ms. Kayec contestants’ outfits and dressed up during the lock-in. I was a judge for the event and lemme tell you, those kids got strut.

Stone Town Rooftops

From the rooftop of our rented house on Zanzibar. Amazing sunsets, gorgeous sunrises and AIR CONDITIONING.

Spice Tour Vanilla Beans
So this is what organic vanilla beans look like…hmm. I’d rather buy that disgusting bottle of artificial flavouring. Mainly ‘cuz money wasn’t meant to be spent on one ingredient but rather the whole dish. And boy do I shell out money for food.

 

Okay. Hope that was enough photos for you, mama. I’ll try to be better at blogging, especially when activities pick back up and I’m flooded with photo ops.

But you know me. I forget the camera every day of my blessed life. 🙂 Miss everyone (and Sonic Slurpees!)

 

Pink Elephants and Panicking Panthers

I like to hoard things. Small scraps of fabric, pieces of paper…all plastic containers. For the most part my stash comes in handy.You never know when you’ll need to make a scoop out of a milk jug or patch a pair of jeans. But my current craving is postcards and yarn. I LOVE receiving mail. Postcards, letters, emails. BOXES. Everything piece is glorious and I enjoy going over things again…and again. Below is the wonderful collection of postcards that I’ve already collected since living in Namibia.

Wall Postcards

Don’t see one from you?? WELL, SEND ANOTHER! 😉

Lost in the Mail Package Label

My mom mailed my Christmas package many a month ago and here it is, middle-late January. It did a slight detour to Bermuda…and Cairo. But it came extra wrapped in awesome packaging slathered with arabic and fun. I kept the tags (of course). In fact, if you’d like to send presents…here’s a list of things I do happy dances to receive:

THINGS TO SEND IZZY

Light Items (Pay per Weight boxes and to fill small crevices!)

  • liquid or powder water flavoring (like peach tea!)
  • seaweed sheets
  • CANDY (I highly recommend things that don’t melt…so…gummy jolly ranchers)
  • photos (printed) are always nice
  • DVDs (especially old ones from the library sales)
  • Seasoning packets (Szechwan chicken, General Tsao’s chicken any asian flavoring, gumbo mix, Ranch dressing)
  • thin rice noodles (vermicelli)
  • Dark chocolate always welcome!
  • Super fine pens (Pigma Micron pens (blue, black, brown) and maybe some nice drawing paper? 🙂

Heavy Items (so only if you’re getting fancy and sending flat rate or love me enough for the postage):

  • M&Ms (pretzel or peanut!)
  • Gigantic bags from Halloween…shoot, did I miss the window?
  • Dried soba noodles/ramen packets
  • Japanese Curry bricks
  • New York Times Crossword puzzle books!!!!! (I’m on to the last 3 puzzles in my “Tame” edition)

 

But when all things are stamped and sent…I mean SAID and DONE, I love me some postcards. Feel free to add to the wall. I need some pretty pictures of your faces and towns.

My other obsession (well, that we’re discussing) is the yarn. Glorious, delicious, beautiful yarn. I’ve learned to manage without my blocking pads, pins or even the correct size needles. You just take whatcha get. Here’s my ghetto blocking.

Ghetto Blocking Blue Shawl

It’s a slew of needles in my spare mattress. The plastic covering on the mattress is horrible to sleep on in the heat but perfect for drying damp yarn! I’m afraid no pattern + incorrect needles resulted in over-blocking and a sadly scrunched up shawl. Maybe round two will work out nicer.

Blue Shawl Close  up

But we can’t be too demanding. This IS only PoshCorps. Last photo: a few of the attendees for the Practicial Skills (aka CRAFTING!) Workshop that I facilitated with another volunteer in the north.

Craft Workshop

We even made a piñata for the office party! It was pretty snazzy.

Pinata!

 

 

Moro!

Finally! I swear, Mom, I’ll post more. Nah, I’m just joking. In my defense, it’s loads easier to send emails than wait the three days for my post to upload. 🙂

BUT I’ve managed this one, so PRESENT! I’ve traveled a little, hitting up Zambia and Tanzania. GORGEOUS water. Actually, it could have been croc-infested and filled with slimy algae and I’d still swim in it. It wasn’t until I moved to two deserts that I realized how much I love the ocean. Never leaving you, boo.

Image

Here’s a picture on the beaches of Zanzibar. Awesome boats, massive tortoises and plenty of sand. It rained every day and was lovely. I’m returning, if only to get my visa’s worth. Stone Town had an amazing night food market and there was delicious “Zanzibar Pizza.” Press out a smidgen of dough, throw in tons of slaw, some extra veggies and an egg. So blimey delicious. If anyone’s going, I have an awesome contact for cheap accommodations and great tours!

Okay, so I’ve put together a list for future Nam volunteers who care to search the web for what to pack. It’s pretty rough, but I get bored when I run out of dance-party music, so it gets a little wonky towards the end.

Would-a Could-a Packing List
Little room

  • More yarn
  • Wool socks (My mother’s a psychic and sent me some along with a fleece jacket)
  • COLD WEATHER CLOTHING. It snowed in Aus this past winter, so it does get cold in Africa. Prepare.
  • External hard drive
  • TV shows on said hard drive (You say you’ll never watch Princess Mononoke anime? WRONG.)
  • Extra phone battery (only if you’re bringing an UNLOCKED phone)
  • Way more candy. WAY WAY more.
  • Spice packets are fun to receive in the mail but I recommend bring some with you. You never know what special meal you’ll want to cook for your host family!

Lots-a-room

  • America pillow! (Travel with two covers = clean case upon arrival!)
  • Small (aka non-camping) backpack
  • Good cooking utensils, especially if they were already at hand. Why not? They’re definitely items I gave away Stateside that I could have hoarded. This includes a travel knife.
  • Hiking boots (I lucked out and a friend brought mine, otherwise that shipping fee would have been devastating)

What you probably will want to bring but shouldn’t:

  • 29 pairs of socks (only need a few good wool pairs for winter and some for athletic shoes)
  • Waffle iron
  • Deodorant (the roll-on kind is widely available and so much easier to hand wash out!)
  • Mosquito nets, bug repellent, etc. (These are provided at training) **DO bring good sunscreen, 3 months of prescriptions and hoards of contact solution.
  • Industrial strength but still business looking shoes (I’m talking to you, Keens), very nice but I’ve never worn them outside of training and I doubt hiking’s that fashion-forward anywhere.
  • Lotions. Admittedly the bulk of my suitcase was composed of cremes, but I now just use coconut oil for everyday. AND it doubles as conditioner. I do save the good stuff for winter but it’s not needed in Costco size.
  • Batteries. Unless you have loads of battery powered items. In which case, trade them for solar powered or buy re-chargable batteries & charger.
  • Towel (camping or regular) is not necessary. Just turn Namibian before you get here and buy 2.5 meters of fabric, hem and voila! Towel-blanket-sheet-scarf-dress-skirt-sunshade all in one!

Things I should have DONE before leaving:

  • Write down all card numbers and contact information for my parents should something happen to my wallet…or its contents
  • Figure out how to cram a sewing machine into my suitcase
  • Guaranteed that I had music for ALL moods. Mudvayne and Nine Inch Nails make for an interesting dance party.
  • Backed up my laptop.
  • Open a debit card account with my parents for cashing in money gifts and my $22 of income tax return.
  • Buy/try on lots of clothes and leave them with family. My mom can mail me a new skirt that I like (and FIT) for Christmas. Just keep in mind that people tend to change sizes while here. Elastic is a beautiful thing. This also goes for just about anything else. You like a certain tea, yarn or soup packet? Done.
  • If not done already, set up your parents’/friends’ Skype accounts. Or remain stead-fast that Skype doesn’t work on Macs and hide from family.
  • Contacted volunteers already in country. I cyber-stalked the bejeezes out of a few but never asked questions. And now I have a waffle iron sitting empty.