Sounds like an Eddie Murphey movie, right? Flooding with the Klumps, Part 2. Sequels are never good. So here we are again, closed down, and this time, probably until May 9. Yes. May 9. The water levels continue to rise and fall making it hard to have several consistent school days. One oshana that is particularly high has a boat transporting people from one side to the other. Unfortunately, a boat with some learners got stuck the other day and that was the final straw. Since then, it has rained again and I read that we are expecting some residual floodwaters from Angola. Thanks a lot Angola. People keep asking me, “so is this normal for northern Namibia?” The answer to that is yes and no. It is normal for their to be a rainy season that causes some slight problems, but this much rain (enough to qualify as a National Emergency) is not normal.
I was talking to a guy I got a ride with the other day who grew up just outside of Ogongo and he said this was the most he has ever seen. He also said it is by far the latest in the rainy season that he has seen this much rain. He showed me where he learned how to swim when he was a young boy and now the water is too deep and raging for a novice swimmer. He attributed it to climate change and said it is something that the citizens and government of Namibia are going to have adjust to. We can no longer be reactionary to these events. They are going to continue to happen so why not be forward thinking and possibly proactive? Sounds good to me. Anyway, this same guy who I had a wonderful conversation with was singing hard to a CD he had with that song from Love Actually “I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes”. I had no idea that was a real song, but apparently it is and is popular among some small villages in Northern Namibia. After that song was over, The Black Eyed Peas “Boom Boom Pow” (yes, Katie) came on and he was equally as excited about that one.
Before school was out, I brought my recorder to class to get some learner perspectives on the flooding situation. It is amazing how upbeat and positive they can be about something that is making life extremely hard. Most talked about being happy to have the time and water to fish! Over the last flood holiday I actually got to fish with some learners and it was pretty nice. There are lots and lots of catfish in these waters which is a nice supplement to the Namibian diet. Others wanted to make speeches into my recorder, thanking the community of Ogongo for providing boats for them to get to school safely. One even wanted to interview me about the flood! Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about this recorder.
So here I am again, trying to make the best of a crappy situation. Once I know for sure that we are not starting until May 9, I will make arrangements to go stay with some other volunteers and help out at their schools. I need to continue to be productive and active during this time. I just took a walk to assess the water levels and I hate to admit it, but with all of the water lilies and pristine reflections, Ogongo is pretty beautiful right now. While I was walking, two learners joined me and wanted to stroll. One of them turned on some music on her cell phone. We started with some Gazza, Tate Buti, the usual. Then by the fourth or fifth song, we were on Feliz Navidad. How weird it felt to be walking around my flooded village in the hot sun in April, listening to Christmas carols. Ogongo never ceases to amaze me.
Like I have said before, don’t worry about my physical safety. I am fine. I will keep you all posted as soon as things change or I get more information. Continue to send your thoughts and prayers that things will get better around here. We need them.
Lots of love,