Just got back from a whorl-wind adventure that included huts, a skull and a broken car. Yup, it was a typical Hunziker family holiday! The old and decrepit ‘rents stopped by Namibia and we partied it down throughout the country. We didn’t exactly take any group photos (whoops) but I took exactly three (3!) photos. What can I say, I’m lazy and my parents are photo-hos. I’m pretty sure Peace Corps doesn’t cover the brain damage I attained as a result of my father’s excellent braking abilities. We did sudden “stops” (aka reverse time warp through the space-time continuum) whenever a leaf blew, ant mound appeared and nose hair twitched.
And that was pretty much my vacation. Well, the cheese happened when I got home and re-discovered my cheesecloth that moo-mah sent me. I’ve attempted tofu with it (lesson learned: processed soya milk, not the same thing as fresh) but otherwise it just sits in a kitchen drawer and gloats. Rude.
Okay, off to see the wizard and school him on How To Eat As Much Food As Possible In A 40
-Minute Lunch Break.
(and as I’m hitting send, I realize this post said very little. Deal with it, there’s pictures.)
Okay, so that’s not what I’m eating right now…or what I had for dinner-lunch-breakfast-snack. It’s the picture of food that represents this coming month on a calendar my mother so cruelly sent me. Like I want to be eating brown and enriched mush (aka morvite maize powder). It’s so mean to let me stare at these pictures while waiting for the lunch hour to come.
Although I have been quite fancy lately and makin’ pizza. (I also like to say this word in my Ninja-Turtles voice). Loads of olives and pickled mango. Did you know that was a thing?! Thank you, Africa! It’s mango atchar, a blend of South African and Indian cuisine that makes me want to change my mind and have children simple to sell them for more atchar. It’s that delicious.
I’m going to attempt to make an avocado version tonight. WISH ME LUCK! Something about vinegar has grabbed hold of my recently. I made pickled radishes last night. I swear it’s an adrenal gland disease or something. I’m not sure. But it requires copious amounts of vinegar and water.
I also received several letters in the mail this week. HOLLA! I’m all about mail. I’ll even clear the hordes of plastic off my desk so I can sit down and write some replies! Dankie, en almal. Or something like that. I failed Afrikaans class. Just ask Teacher Mike. Saw that boo last week and he just shook his head and walked away after hearing my greeting.
Also got to train the new Peace Corps Namibia group (Group 37) last week. Pretty sweet bunch. Very quiet. Very. Makes me worried that they were secretly plotting my demise at the rusty end of a soup spoon. I know I was completely obnoxious after been trapped in the same room with the same 20 people for a month. In fact, my trick was to help clean up the tea-time cups and only wash at the rate of 1 cup/5 minutes.
Sneaky me, right?
Okay, I’m stumbling away to finish up some work before harassing my counterpart to try and make bamboo yarn with me. I need him to battle the wilds of Africa and get said bamboo. We’ll see how interestingly this goes!
I don’t know what’s up with USPS but they keep sending my letters and beautiful presents to Bermuda. It’s killing me. Waiting those extra months for Valentine’s Day cards and Christmas candies. It’s so cruel
But enough about my first-world woes. I just hit ONE YEAR! That’s one year of sand storms, cricket invasions and strange holiday decorations. You know you’ve been here that long when:
Sunblock is the new lotion.
Lotion is the new make-up.
Chocolate and cookies actually solves problems.
Fast food become the warp and woof of high cuisine. I could kill for a Domino’s pizza.
Frozen water bottles are your new bedmates.
You speak of self testicular cancer exams with great ease.
You can knowledgeably answer questions revolving around said exams.
Saturday is exciting because that’s when you wash your hair.
Men in flower-strewn hats is a normal sight.
And realizing you’re the only person in the commissary wearing shoes is okay.
Aight, I’m off to work on a few things. If anyone has any great ideas for picture codes on pregnancy, hit me up. I’m creating a book to explain healthy pregnancy using photos that will start up conversations (like a pregnant woman drinking alcohol). It’ll be a great tool to use with memes waiting around to see the nurse and will give them some additional health education. I’m a poor artist but we’ll see what messages we can get across!
Today I weighted some mamas. Literally. I wanted to make some newly pregnant ladies question my existence and so I offered to help with the intake at the ANC clinic. I helped take down histories and basic stats while a nurse stuck ’em with needles. Blood splashed everywhere thanks to some enthusiastic veins so I hollered my questions from across the room. My Afrikaans is still sorely lacking. And numbers seem to be an easy concept to grasp (especially since I have all the personal ‘n medical “lady issues” down). But phone numbers…ugh. 🙂
But after wandering through the clinic for awhile and scaring small children (apparently my face isn’t as relaxing and joyful as we’ve thought) I jived over to a local school for my 8/9th grade boys’ and girls’ club. And…nada. Classrooms filled with people making up studies. Like GED and summer school rolled into one happy bundle, shoved into airless rooms and stomped into the hottest hours of the afternoon. But my counterpart and life skills teacher are awesome individuals and willing to push buttons and make it happen next week. We can easily hold sessions outside as long as there’s shade. One thing I’ve learned in Namibia is to keep trying cuz results take time. And to always accept cool drink when it’s offered.
You never know when the Cola Factory will explode and people will be rushing to the streets in revolt against life without soda. Serious as in serious.
Also, you meet the coolest of people in the strangest of places.
Okay, short post for the week…month…quarter? I’m all out of photos and have unfortunately lost possession of my camera. So updates are gonna be text from here on out!
Peace out, Home Dawgs (and others who didn’t go to Amazing U of Washington).
Alright, This week’s been pretty good. I got so much done. It’s difficult to make things happen after a long break. I’ve had meeting after meeting all week long. Truly wonderful to feel so busy! I’ve helped getting the ball rolling on a few projects:
Restarting the after school boys’ and girls’ club at a local combined school
Career Guidance at the local TRC
Fitness classes with different ministry employees
So. Many. More.
My legs are honestly numb from all of the running around. And not even my sunbrella (an umbrella reserved for the exclusive purpose of fighting the mind-boggling hot sun) nor sunscreen could prevent my feet from getting a nice burn in the shape of my sandals. Oh, classy tans. I have you all over.
But hopefully all of these meetings and sessions and “accidental” run-ins (I may or may not follow people into small and confining break rooms) will come to fruition. I have also giving some career guidance classes with 10th graders. It was…interesting. You never know how well you’ll handle pressure until your given 45 minutes to prepare for 40 kids ages 15-20 years old. It went over extremely well. I ran out of time and they agreed to cut a little into their break to finish. Made me feel like I got them hooked. 🙂 Next time I’ll also bring my laundry to wash and shoes to shine!
I also tagged along with a social worker to another town. I didn’t contribute much at all to his sessions. Lots of family members plus translators equals one crowded room without adding me to the room. But the SW goes out again next week and I’ll try to get in on the counseling action. Luckily he has everything translated to English so I’m not left out of the aural loop!
In addition to working I finished the entire first season of Star Trek. The one with the man who doesn’t age…what’s his name…(wikipedia…) Patrick Stewart? Steward? I don’t know. But he’s taller than his hair and hasn’t aged since the Enterprise. Is kind of eerie.
Otherwise, that’s all I have to say for this week. Meetings may seem boring and not the blog-worthy event but without meetings you’d have no programs, no programs equals nothing to do but watch people in spandex prance through the universe. Which I whole-heartedly would enjoy doing but then leaving my flat for food would end up being a chore. And the moment food becomes a chore you have something seriously wrong with your life.
Commander out. Energize! (And for my parents and non-cool individuals, that was indeed a Star Trek reference.)
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.
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
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!
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)
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.