There is too much water! Ogongo is full. Water water everywhere. Ogongo Combined School was officially closed last Wednesday on account of too much water. The school grounds themselves were pretty flooded, but that wasn’t the main issue. The problem is that we have kids walking from pretty far to get to school. Some of these kids barely come up to my waist and were walking in water that was literally over their heads just to get to school. They would get there shivering and half dressed, trying to salvage their uniforms. How can I make them recite the times tables? Or practice using a mouse? I remember feeling like this when teaching in Chicago. It was obviously a very different situation, but after learning about some of the struggles my students were having at home, I just couldn’t wrap my head around making them care about using semi colons appropriately. Our principal made the right decision to close down the school until conditions improve and become much safer for our learners. Unfortunately, the term 1 exams are just around the corner so this is NOT an ideal time to be shut down. I guess floods don’t care about timing. Today was the first day it was actually dry since we have closed. I am hoping we can get in a few more 100% dry days and pick up where we left off on Monday.
For the past few days I have been staying with some other volunteers since everyone who could leave Ogongo did. Their place is not too far from mine and was pretty flooded as well. Fortunately for them, their learners don’t travel through dangerous waters to get to school so they were still up and running. It was an incredibly rainy couple of days. The ironic part was that they had absolutely no running water for the entire time that I was there. Their yard was flooded and there were people swimming 100 yards away, but the tap was bone dry! We made the best of it and ran around like fools in the pouring rain, washing our hair and collecting water to wash dishes. We even collected enough water to mop the floor! We did the best we could, but you can imagine after 5 days of rarely flushing the toilet, it can get a little gross. Needless to say, I was happy to get home today and take a nice shower and flush the toilet and wash my hands. It felt extremely luxurious! So now I am back home, wondering what to do with myself during this weird time off. I have some projects I’d like to keep working on and some assignments to complete for World Teach, but I know that I will start to go a little nuts after a couple of days. That being said, keep your emails and calls coming to check on my sanity please!
Ok, here are a few more things that have been happening lately:
*I took the bumpiest ride of my life to the weirdest Chinese restaurant/shopping area (I use that term loosely) I have ever been to. The food was incredible though, and I didn’t have to cook it myself!
*I heard R Kelly “Love Letter” at the KFC (yes, I was at KFC) in Oshakati and it made me smile
*I got my stipend and opened a bank account!!
*I bought a digital recorder so I can start doing some podcasting
*I watched a movie with my learners and just seeing their excitement and enthusiasm for it made me all warm and fuzzy J
*I got a ride in the back of a police truck, sitting next to two guys in handcuffs on their way to court for stealing.
* I rode 40km in the back of a bakkie (pick up truck) in the pouring rain…I hope to never do that one again
*As mentioned before, I washed my hair in the rain…twice.
*We made soft pretzels!! They were incredible.
*I’ve played in lots of puddles
*I’ve made lots of pancakes
*I’m teaching a few people at the college how to play guitar
*I taught a few learners how to play frisbee
*I am attempting to sew a vest with nice storage pockets out of traditional material for my hiking trip in April…just go with it…
*I bought some amazing traditional pots and a necklace from a coworker
*I ate caterpillars…not quite sure what to think about that yet.
So that’s pretty much it. Things are weird right now, but I will be sure to keep you posted on the status in Ogongo. For now, please keep Owamboland in your thoughts and prayers as many people’s lives are ravaged by these floods. I am safe and ok, so don’t worry about me. Just trying to keep my spirits up during this difficult time.
Hope springtime is coming to you guys soon! Thinking of you.