Wednesday, January 19, 2011

back to school, back to school

Hi loved ones! First of all, I want to thank everyone who sent me messages/calls after my last post. The last few days have been nuts and definitely the hardest of my life. All of the kind words and check-ins have made it much more bearable. Ok, let me fill you in on the past few days:

I didn’t really go into detail about my place, so here it goes: I have a lovely room with a huge desk, a twin bed, and a nice closet. Thanks to Rachel (the past volunteer), it already felt pretty homey when I got here. I have a beautiful, blue mosquito net that kind of makes me feel like I am in a princess bed. I think I mentioned this before, but there are two cats here. They are very cute, but very hungry and I hardly have food for myself, let alone two cats. Oh yeah, and there’s a chicken. Did I tell you about the chicken? I thought he had wandered into our backyard (and our kitchen) and thought it was nice so he stayed. Little did I know, Rachel apparently left him for me (thanks Rachel) as a gift. The stipulation is that I have to slaughter him myself; no consultation from my roommates. I understand that I eat meat and I know where it comes from, but the idea of me chasing around this chicken is just too much. I have already chased him out of our kitchen several times, and let me tell you, that guy is quick. If I could have some assistance, I would be more than happy to have some real free range chicken. I have three roommates who are all very nice and work at the school as well. The school is just across the sand road from my house.

There has been lots and lots of rain the north. It is normal to find lots of flooding this time of year. My area is not necessarily flooded, but there are many oshanas (areas that fill up during the rainy season) around. Given that the road is sand, it is quite a messy walk to work. The school consists of several buildings all positioned inside a fence. The buildings are extremely run down. Most windows are broken, there are cracks in the concrete, broken doors, etc. Many desks are falling apart and chairs are in pieces. I would love to be able to use some fundraising money to get some new tables and chairs. One area that is not really that run down is the area that I am in: the library. Rachel did an AMAZING job setting up a school library/ computer lab. My desk is there and that is where I will teach all of my ICT (technology) classes. There are lots of different books (if anyone would like to send more, please do!) and some great resources for learners and teachers. I have been doing my planning in the library with some windows open. Learners will literally peek their heads in, stare at me, then run off laughing. Several have knocked and come in to introduce themselves. They have been extremely polite, but many don’t really say much past hello. I work my butt off trying to make conversation, but I think they just sort of want to check me out and just be around me. Speaking of being around me, I made a baby cry at my first staff meeting. My coworker has an adorable daughter who seemed very interested in me at first, then burst into tears when her mother tried to introduce me. I must have looked like an alien. A super white, curly haired alien. I had never made someone cry just by looking at them…let’s hope this was the first and last time.

So school is pretty unorganized this during the first week (like most schools) so I am looking forward to getting into more of a routine and schedule. I have so many ideas and am excited to put them into action. I have been feeling pretty overwhelmed with the amount of classes I have, but I know I just need to get started and get into the groove.

I haven’t had too much time to explore Ogongo since I have been busily preparing for classes and then extremely exhausted at night. I did, however, get to go to the nearest big town, Oshakati, yesterday. I went with a coworker to file some paperwork I needed in order to start working. The main way to get around here is hiking (hitch hiking) or taxis. We eventually caught a ride (once we were dropped off at the tar road) and made our way to Oshakati. Surprisingly, I ran into 3 other volunteers from WorldTeach at the office I was going to. It was really really nice to see them. Once our business was done, we went to the huge lot of taxis waiting to take people. This experience was overwhelming…the taxi drivers literally fight over you, wishing to fill their cars so they can take off. It is not like in the states…the taxis must fill (or overfill in some cases) before they will take off. After we selected a taxi, we waited a good 45 minutes to fill up and get back on the road. All in all, I was happy I wasn’t alone for my first Oshakati experience. I think I am going to meet up with some friends this weekend, so I will give it a shot on my own.

Ok, I must make some dinner and get myself to bed. Please keep the emails/messages coming and I promise I will get on the responses tomorrow!

Love you all,


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