Category Archives: Africa

I lied!

Okay, sorry obsessive fans (read: Mother), I won’t be coming home in April. Gonna stay in Namibia and boogie it down until late May. Which means I’ll have celebrated THREE birthdays here. Crazy talk.

Guess that means I should start ordering my cake…which reminds me, absolutely EPIC cake for our COS (closure of service) conference.

Wha-boom. Be jealous. (also, call her up: Madam Awesome’s Baking Madness. She’s based in Windhoek and is super nice!)

 

Yeah…I was tons more motivated before I started this post. Now I’m just hungry for cake and popcorn. May have to do a run to the store and pick up something fabulous (ie. potatoes to make ROSEMARY CHIPS). So I’ll sign off now before I start rambling about the how I miss real dill pickles.

HUGS, YA’LL (read: MaMOOO!)

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Photos! Well…Meh.

 

Alright, random array of photos, here we come!

Since my mother’s been upset about my lack of photos (and the few I’ve emailed were NOT well received) I have followed instructions and taken my camera out and gone to town. Well, to town for me. Which is more like driving three hours to a bush village.

SPA TIME!

Face Masks for Santa! Yeah…add in a few seasons of Elementary, Bones, The Mentalist and you have Christmas. ❤Christmas Feast!

Delicious food courtesy of The Fabulous GK. Dankie, boo darling. We chomped down on ham, mashed potatoes and REAL STUFFING. And real, in context, means Stove Top. Absolutely the best thing for a volunteer to receive in a care package. All you do is add water, sometime butter. SAY WHAT?!

Elephant!

A present for a family member. Hopefully it’ll make it. The post office wasn’t able to provide me enough stamps to send it. I literally bought the whole place out! 🙂Yum!

More photos of food…Please note the tree complete with presents. We even had stockings! Wha-what?Almost Finished!

Me receiving my certificate. Which I guess means I can now leave. They handed it over all willy-nilly. You think they would have pulled a hs-graduation and made us wait overnight to actually get the real thing. Foolish Peace Corps. Mtal Rainbow

And lastly, most epically, DOUBLE RAINBOW. Okay, so it didn’t photograph well, but it happened. I may have woken my neighbors with my cackles, but it was worth it! Of course, since I just planted my ginger sprout outside, it’s started to flash-flood rain. Grr. So much for damp but not soggy soil. My bad.

But that’s about it. I haven’t done as much as I’d like since returning. It’s hard to reach students since athletics have taken over after school hours and the hostel doesn’t want to let any of them out in the evening. But I have some awesome counterparts, so we plan on making my last few months here pretty darn productive. And amazing.

I’m hungry and the clock’s not ticking.

I swear, time stands practically still when you’re looking at photos of food and dreaming up ridiculous recipes that you’ll never attempt. Right now I’m thinking on potatoes. Pan-fried, butter-slathered, delicious potatoes. I finally bought my first bottle of ketchup to enjoy with the starchy goodness.

Yeah, didn’t buy the potatoes.

What can I say, I panic in groceries stores.

But I have more than potatoes to share with you, Mama. Returned back to site after a few weeks of here-not here. Traveled to Gobabis (about 2 hours east of the capital) for Christmas and New Years. Got my nails did and my biltong on. Journeyed back to Windhoek for a COS (closure of service) conference. That’s right, I’m going home in less than 80 days. There was surprisingly little fighting on who gets to go home first. There are 4 of us heading back the first day and then the remaining 10 are either trickling home within 6 months or extending for a third year. I, however, selected dayo numero uno. So that barely gives me time to figure out what I’m bringing, let alone plan a trip to Cape Town before heading back to get a serious job.

Absolutely ridiculous if you think about how much American food I have hoarded under my kitchen sink. It’s just so difficult to let go of things. But since I WILL be judged for shipping home spice packets and sea weed, I guess I’m going to start eating 1 American treat a day. Seriously, I have that much. I even have things from the first package I received. Yup, it’s that crazy up in this hood.

BUT it’s a good thing since the mail has been cut off. Heading home in 3 months means no more presents. You just never know when things have to vacation in Bermuda before coming here.

Now that I’m back at work I’m scrambling to finish projects and pass all the reins over. I don’t have any more afterschool programs (we haven’t started up since I just returned to site). But I may need one more go-around to finish off my service. I do have a few groups in nearby villages that I need to meet with. Time to convince my counterparts to file our transport forms! I’m excited for my outreach lunch! They always boil their eggs so much nicer than me.

Yeah…step one to readjusting to America will probably have to be cooking lessons. Meh, life’s an adventure when you don’t measure. But it could also become a horror flick. Just saying…

Oh, Lordy, Izzy Mae!

First of all, there are too many options on WordPress. You can change all kinds of things. My internet is proud just to load html Gmail! But I did manage to get on and click things…only slightly regretting it.

Secondly, I believe Africa’s made me less funny. I blame my parents. And outrageous, trying-to-be-classy romance novels I devour like Theo’s Chocolate. They keep throwing all those elaborate GRE words at me. Despite it’s status as the national language, English is pretty exclusively a second-language here. Which means lovely words like svelte and arabesque get thrown by the waste side (or fly over heads). I feel like the bulk of my ridiculousness resides in my elaborate ramblings and erratic word choice. Oh, and my ability to lick my elbow.

BUT since the count down to return to AmurricaLand is at…144 days (who’s counting?) I’ve decided to practice my English. And by this I mean read more smut novels, listen to copious amounts of Sherlock Holmes audiobooks and attempt to cross-stitch epic quotes on throw pillows.

You know, the usual.

Actually, I am crashing through an insane amount of audiobooks. I recommend Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik. I can’t decided if I like it or not. But murder mystery + knitting? Wonderful.

And since it’s audio you can actually KNIT while LISTENING to someone READ about someone KNITTING. Slightly too abstract? How about Dead Aid by Dabisa Moyo?

Well, none of that matters because it’s FRIDAY and I have to run. I’ve been locked in too many times to try and work late.

HUGS, WORLD! (Aka My Mother.)

Iyo-yo hlonolofatsa!

Moro! Long time, no write. What can I say, I’ve been busy…and incredibly forgetful. But once again thankful that my mamoo isn’t yelling at me. I do have plenty of pictures to share!

 

I’ve put a few here but all the rest are under “Photographs” to the left. Go there. ❤

 

Here we go:

Waiting for the Living Positively Group to start and enjoying some egg yolk and jam sandwiches, complements of my counterpart, Rita.

Most Glorious Counterpart: Rita the Social Worker
Most Glorious Counterpart: Rita the Social Worker
Living Positively Group
Living Positively Group

Digging a glorious garden and hoping the sun doesn’t kill everything!

Digging a Garden
Digging a Garden

DSC00116

Most fabulous clinic staff taking a much needed break. Some days are crazy!
Most fabulous clinic staff taking a much needed break. Some days are crazy!
Crocheted Plarn Bag! Selling for NAD $25 (or USD $2.50)
Crocheted Plarn Bag! Selling for NAD $25 (or USD $2.50) with the TB WARD Craft Co-Op (we’re working on a better name).

 

So that’s all, folks. Life’s been busy, crazy and absolutely frantic. I’ve been panicking a lot (proof seen in the 3 bottles of shelf-milk I just purchased). My parents are visiting in a few weeks, I have a co-op to firmly establish before I complete my service and an after school club that is basically “Corralling Children 101.”

Sorry I can’t write more, my computer’s dying and I seriously need to get less lazy. At least enough that lugging my charger cord isn’t too much to ask for.

HUGS!!

 

Ek is alive!

Howdy Dowdy!

As my mother’s voice shames me into posting this, I’d just like to say that I’m writing under no duress. Although she may threaten to not send any candies if I don’t get on some new posts! ❤

Well, since I haven’t blawged in several…months…plenty has happened! I love it when there’s more to share then how many black hairs I’ve pulled from my scalp. (FYI this neurotic behavior is entirely the fault of medication. I swear. Or my mother.)

Let’s see…I vacationed with the fam in TEXAS. Never lived there but my parents thought it would be fun to retire away from the children. So, I got to visit and chow down on some delicious chicken-fried steak. That food-filled 10 days gave me 6,5 lbs of extra padding for the trip back to Mariental. I immediately threw myself into my work (har har).

No. Seriously.

Co-workers thought it would be fun to have my second day back feature a male-engagement workshop (at which I gave 3 different lectures) and offer a speech up to an entire assembly of school kids. Originally the second was to be entirely in Afrikaans but I’m afraid my language skills are so poor (memes shush me because my accent is truly awful) that I conned a nurse into joining me. She translated and I smiled. Lent an air of respectability to the whole she-bang since Sr. Willa was dressed up in her blazing white uniform and looking quite smashing.

But now I’ve moved on to more TB campaigns, more literacy clubs with grade-school learners and hopefully an all-out epic dance class at the clinic AND hospital level. What can I say, Busy Izzy! ❤

Who’s ready for this!?

Okay, so I’m slacking on my posts, but who expected anything else?

A bit has happened since I last updated you (Mom). Went to an All Volunteer Conference (where, interestingly enough, I DID NOT meet all of the volunteers in Namibia), had a birthday, got a dental check-up, facilitated a workshop and avoided laundry.

So we’re starting from the top…AVC was…interesting. Tons of info on Malaria and Grassroots Soccer (awesome program, FYI. Find ’em donate money, send me jerseys, what ‘evs). That whole shebang was held in the capital, so needless to say there were too many people and I suffered a debilitating melt-down that resulted in excess chocolate-mousse eating.

Next was my birthday. For some reason I thought the big 2-4 already zipped by me but apparently not…so that was a moment of “whoops.” But at least all of my profile are now on track. I got lots of hugs and presents. There were four (FOUR) packages waiting for me when i returned home and all contained chocolate. Good job, guys. You will receive payment in hugs and knitted newspaper items.

Following the Capital Party (haha, that’s the limit of my puns, no worries) I got my mid-service medical/dental check-up. AND THERE WERE NO CAVITIES. Personally, I think the dentist is blind and crazy, since I have the worst teeth in the history of worst teeth. But it all worked out well since I had to go from that appointment to my friend’s site in the north and facilitate a workshop with her sewing and wielding groups!

(Inserting picture… TA DAH!!)

Workshop, Khorixas, 2013
Workshop, Khorixas, 2013

They were absolutely amazing to work with and this photo doesn’t even show everyone… I don’t think. But we covered everything from the business and marketing/advertising aspect of a co-operation to the actual products they could make! Things like plastic bag-bags and earrings made from bottles. We really got into it. It was like finding the Namibian version of me over and over again!

But now I’m home, setting up school groups and prepping my counterparts to teach an after school program. We get to travel out to Kalkrand tomorrow and work with  a Living Positively support group. It’s going to be interesting and fun!

 

Hugs to people I know and awkward hand pats to the stranger-stalkers! Holla!

FLAMES ENGULF PEANUT FARM

Someone suggested I enliven my entry titles to increase traffic. Psh. Like anyone other than my mother sends me rewards for pushing out entries. That reminds me that this is the first post that I wasn’t harassed by Ouma for…so I deserve a cookie and maybe a CAT scan. You can never be too careful.

I’m chillaxin’ at home now. I’ve pulled up my paper mache chair to the counter (that’s right Ministry of Health, you don’t wanna give me a chair? I’ll show you.) and eating some KIMCHI RAMEN from Monica, the most beloved ex-roomie ever. I believe it was mailed about a year ago but I’ve been saving it for my birthday. And since that international holiday is smack-dab in the middle of my conference/medical check-up week in Windhoek, I’ll celebrate dried and MSG’ed goodness now. I always fear eating cool things in front of others. They may ask for a taste and I may flip and stab people with chopsticks. It happens.

If you just had a moment of freak out wondering how you possibly managed to forget the day of my expulsion, here’s a list of items I’ll accept in bribery of such a gauche mistake:

  1. More Kimchi ramen (or just the flavor packet)
  2. Postcard
  3. A copy of this book: http://www.amazon.com/Jewelry-Upcycled-Techniques-Projects-Reusing/dp/0823099903/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367603040&sr=8-1&keywords=jewelry+upc
  4. Your first born child (preferably college fund included)
  5. Letter
  6. AIR HUGS.

But other than my fast spiral into crazi-dom, not much has been happening. I still randomly help out at the clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays, give healthy pregnancy education on Wednesdays and hide from my social worker counterpart on Fridays. This week he signed me up for a HIV support group in a near(ish)-by village. It went as well as first visits go. We are established, leaders found, and a meet-up point assigned. It was pretty straightforward. Which has my hopes raised for starting something similar here in Mariental.

I’m also trying to get everything in order for my next practical skills training (aka CRAFT WORKSHOP) coming up in a few weeks. Sorting through random projects, picking out potential fun stuff and looking up pictures. It’s a lot harder to do picture slideshows without a camera. I wish the camera on my computer was a real thing. But then I’d be tempted to take the thing to work…and the electrical outlet in my office is…special. You connect wires before using. Yeah, that ain’t happening. I’ll stick to charging absolutely everything at home.

It’s funny how I though I’d be hauling water from a borehole every day for two years and bathing in a river…and instead snagged a swank flat with (Africa) quiet neighbors and a patio. WITH WALLS. And curtains. I think they are what tip the scale into awesome. Seriously solid and non-see through curtains.

Makes for an easy home-life but kills all of the “when I was in Peace Corps” stories I planned to tell random strangers and grandchildren. But if I delete all traces of this blog and slowly make the other volunteers “disappear” no one would know…and I’d be able to get away with the whale-sized fish-tale of all fish-tales…

This plan holds potential.

But after all of this rambling I’m in need of a drink…and since I just discovered the powdered cocoa section of the grocery store I’m going to make myself a mocha. That’s right, peeps, MOCHA. With Starbucks coffee courtesy of my most fabulous fairy godmother, Margie. (You have all my hugs right now!)

Aite, CHICA OUT!

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!)