Monday, December 26, 2005

Excerpts and pictures from an email from Amy

I'm doing well. I figure I should take advantage of really cheap and readily available Internet while I'm here in Omaruru ( it's less than $1 US for a half hour) so I'm on or the third time in as many days.

Yesterday was a good day. I ate a lot, I watched a lot of movies and TV, and I read a lot. I also washed my feet, which was amazing. I am so sick of having dirty feet. You know in the Bible how everyone is always washing their feet. It's because they get absolutely filthy when you live in a desert and wear sandals. I spent about an hour and soaked them and used a pumice stone and put on lotion and socks and shoes, so now my feet are happy with me. I also played hearts until late in the night.

Today we had some random sessions- "processing" which is a fancy word for talking about our CBT experiences, a short and extremely helpful IT session done by Jay and Jason (who are both pretty amazing), and a session where we talked to the health volunteers about HIV/AIDS.

This week we're doing a workshop on teaching techniques and a workshop on HIV/AIDS. The IT people are also doing some optional sessions in our free time on IT stuff (which I'll definitely be attending, because I need the information.)

I was telling some people that I not only feel like I'm MacGyver when I do stuff like the like the light bulb telescope trick, but I also feel like I'm going to have to do some MacGyver-like things to do my job at my permanent site. I said it's like, "You're going to plan physical science labs and you have at your disposal paper and maybe chalk (if the kids don't eat it, like they did in Karibib---Don't ask me, I don't know why they ate the chalk, but they seemed to enjoy doing it every now and then)." I'm looking at it as a challenge.

We don't necessarily have computers or books (even textbooks) and lesson planning materials are severely limited. I think more and more that I'm going to work on getting computers for my school. I think I might try to get computers through Microsoft. There is a open source organization called "SchoolNet" that has given refurbished computers to a lot of Namibian schools, but I hear they aren't giving out more computers for at least a year, so I'm thinking about working on Microsoft, or if I can get around the tariffs and import laws (there are some strict laws about importing used computers) I'll see if I can't use some of the people I know at IBM as connections to see if I can get a lab. Apparently one of the best labs in the Peace Corps volunteers' schools was donated by HP because a volunteer a couple of years ago had some connections there.

I want to work on the library as well, so if any of you are interested in starting any book drives, email me. I am drafting a letter to send to publishing companies trying to get them to send books. I'm having a lot of fun with it. I'm trying to paint a picture of Anker that will appeal to an editor in New York or London, so I talk about how kids there often see kudus or giraffes, but many see a book for the first time when they enter primary school (which I am positive is true. I have seen one book in a Namibian home so far and I've been staying in richer homes than most in Anker.)

I'm really getting excited to be at my permanent site and to get to work. I know it will be very, very hard, but I feel like there are all these projects that I can do and I can't wait to actually start.

Things you can pray for—That I will be healthy and happy (spiritually, physically and emotionally), that I will be able to work with limited resources and that my creativity will kick in when I need it (which will be often), that I can have patience and care for my students and that they will have respect for me, and that my projects will be sustainable and respectful to the local people.

Also, things I thought might be nice to find in a care package--- Crystal Lite has these travel sized packets that make the massive amounts of water that we drink more bearable, newspaper clippings, magazines and other reading material, and photos. Basically I will treasure anything you send me.

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