Monday, November 29, 2010

putting it on a map

Hello friends!

Over the past few months, I have answered a lot of questions about what I will be doing with my life for the next year. One question I have heard over and over is "Where is Namibia again?"

Since many of us have not taken geography in several years and Namibia is not a huge news maker, I decided to include a map here. The village I will be living in, Ogongo, is about 50 km northwest of Oshakati. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Oshakati is a much larger town where I can get just about anything I need.

As you can see, I will be pretty far north and have easy access to Angola and hopefully Botswana. I will not be too far from Etosha National Park (a popular safari destination) and will definitely make time to travel to Victoria Falls! Because of my placement, getting to South Africa is more of a trek, but definitely a possibility.

Facts and Figures about Ogongo, Namibia

About Ogongo, Namibia
Time zoneWest Africa Time
Time change from UTC*UTC+0100
A resident is a...Namibian
Geographic Information
Latitude (DMS)15° 17' 0'
Longitude (DMS)-17° -40' 0'
I believe the term 'city' is used loosely here...

Anyway, I hope this information gives you a better idea of where I will be geographically. I will have a mailing address (most likely the address of my school) that I will post as soon as I get the 'ok' I am waiting for.

It is now officially one month until my departure...please hang out with me. Call me. See me soon. 'Tis the season for giving so keep my fundraising going :)

Much love,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

where exactly are you going?

i can now answer the question above, and i must say, it feels nice. i was getting used to giving the canned, vague reply of "somewhere in namibia", but now i can give all the juicy details. instead of telling you each about my placement individually, i thought i would give some details here:

i will be working at Ogongo Combined School in the village of, you guessed it, Ogongo. Ogongo is located in north-central Namibia, in the Omusati Region, home to the Oshiwambo-speaking people. luckily, i have a wonderful connection here in chicago who has provided me with materials to help me learn at least a little bit of the local language before i leave. the school is called a "Combined School" because it teaches both primary and high school aged kids. this is a really cool feature since i couldn't really decide what age group i wanted to work with. the classes i will be teaching are subject to change, but will be something like this:

*math to grade 8 learners
*ICT (kind of like basic technology) to grades 5-12
*basic information science (library, reading, etc) to grades 1-7

obviously, the language used to describe classes is much different than what we are used to here and i will learn more about what these class titles really mean in the near future. there is a volunteer at the school currently who will be sending me a letter with some inside information on the school and the village. she was a volunteer in 08-09 and then decided to extend her stay another year to work for the school. she seems like she is really awesome and has done some amazing things for the school...i will have some massive shoes to fill!

a little more on the is about 10km from the main, or tar, road which means it is pretty remote. there are some shops in the village to get very basic items. most people in the area are subsistence farmers and don't really need to venture out of the area to survive. however, i will easily be able to find rides (or possibly purchase a bicycle) to the main road where there are more shops and taxis that will take me the 30 minutes to Oshakati. Oshakati is much larger and i will be able to get anything i need there.

i will be living in a new teacher house across from the school that i will share with two other Namibian teachers. this will be really nice since i was worrying about living completely alone and isolated from the rest of the community. i will have my own room, but we will share a kitchen and other living spaces. it seems like this current volunteer has internet in her house so it is likely that i will as well. this will be amazing since i will be able to keep in touch regularly.

obviously, i am just soaking in all of this information and don't know every single detail yet, but i will share more as i know more. for now, i just wanted everyone to get a taste for where i will be and what i will be up to. for those of you keeping up with my fundraising progress, you might notice that i am kicking ass. every update i get about donations both excites me for my trip and gives me "heavy boots" about leaving all of you wonderful people for 11 months! all i can say over and over is thank you thank you thank you.

happy thanksgiving to everyone! more soon.

cheers for now,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

december 28

hey folks!

just wanted to let you all know that i have my official departure date: december 28. let's be sure to see each other before then! i will be getting my exact placement soon and will be sure to explain in detail in my next post. until then, get in touch with me and let's hang!

also, thank you thank you thank you for all of the donations that continue to trickle in. every single penny counts.

enjoy the sun!
cheers for now.

<3 h

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

happy november!

hey ya'll,

hope everyone had a nice halloween! i just wanted to say thanks again for all of the donations that are trickling in. i am trying to thank everyone individually, so if you have donated and haven't heard from me yet, it is likely that WorldTeach is still processing the order and hasn't updated my checklist yet. it usually takes at least 24 hours during the week and even longer if you gave on a weekend. as soon as i hear about your donation, i will definitely be thanking you personally since you rock! all of the donations so far have made it possible for me to make my november payment toward the trip. thank you from the bottom of my heart.

keep telling friends/family/interested people about this and i will keep keeping you informed!

cheers for now,
<3 h