Sunday, January 01, 2006

A few mundane details of my life (group email from Amy)

Hello again. Happy New Year. I'm doing well, as usual. Last night
we had a New Year's Eve party. It was OK. There was a bonfire with
smores and a watermelon. I thought of all of you guys, especially
since midnight here was still 4 in the afternoon there. In fact by
the time you get this, you'll only be a few hours into 2006. New
Years seemed a little more arbitrary than usual thinking about that.

We also had a talent show, which was pretty hysterical. I had a
ukulele/ harmonica duet with Janet. We had a wide range of talents;
opera singing, comedy, hip hop dancing, and traditional dancing among
others. We did language study yesterday morning and we had a cross
cultural session in the late morning.

I'm excited to be done with training in only a few more days.
Some of the sessions are full of
interesting and useful information, but a lot of them are long,
complicated, bureaucratic sessions that impart little or no
information. Even if the sessions were all full of important
information, I'm excited to go to my permanent site. I'd like to stop
living out of a suitcase and get settled in, and start doing actual
work. I'd feel like I've been living on the brink of something for
two months.

After the sessions, I washed my feet, which felt
wonderful. When I say "wash my feet" I am not saying that I took a
little soap and rinsed them off. I'm talking about an hour long
affair involving a pumice stone and a scrubbing brush and lots of soap
and lotion. You have no clue how filthy and disgusting feet get when
you wander around a desert country wearing sandals. I understand why
foot washing was such a big deal in the Bible. If I had time, I would
wash my feet twice a day.

I also put some finishing touches on a
letter I've been writing to publishing companies. It's one of the
ways they suggested to get books for libraries, so I've been drafting
a formal letter for about a month. Yesterday I mail-merged it with
addresses of companies that I got off the internet and now all I have
to do is find someplace with a printer (harder than you might think.)
I've looked a little deeper into getting computers for my school, but
it seems like that's going to be a bit harder (translation-"next to
impossible") than I thought, at least right now.

I think it's
important because computers help motivate these kids who don't have a
lot of motivation to go to school otherwise. Also, computer skills
are marketable job skills and the unemployment rate in Namibia hovers
around 50%, so that's important. The IT guys told us about a workshop
they did on computer skills. The people they taught had obviously
never used a computer before. They didn't know how to put spaces
between words they were typing. It was amazing. They really loved
the computer classes too. I'd love to give some of the kids in Anker
a chance to see a computer before they enter secondary school.
Anyway, I'm going to keep working on the computer issue.

What else?
Some of the other volunteers made pancakes today. They were really
good. We didn't really have maple syrup (not so many maple trees
around here) so we used something like thin, hot molasses instead, but
they tasted really good all the same. It was a nice change from the
springbok sausage, eggs, and porridge we usually have.

I have kept up
my reading pace and I'm through another book and on to two others. I
finished Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (it was OK, not
great, but it was a book and that's good enough for me right now) and
I started A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and also Why We are
Hungry by Dave Eggers. I like books. When I run out of things to
read or even before then, I downloaded the Complete Works of
Shakespeare onto my laptop, so I can start on that. If I finish that
I'll be impressed with myself.

I'm going to do my laundry today.
I'll send a picture sometime because it's interesting to see how the
laundry is done here. My host mother taught me how to do it, but I
think she had very little confidence in my laundering abilities. She
kept hovering nervously as I wrung the soapy water out of clothes and
she would nervously take things down from the clothes line to
reposition it. That's OK, though, because I'm not going to hire
someone to do my laundry and the clothes get clean enough for me.

We go to Windhoek on Thursday for shopping, meeting embassy officials,
and attending the swearing-in ceremony (where I will take a pledge of
service in KhoeKhoe.) Classes are supposed to start on the 7th, but
I've heard that it takes between one and three weeks for classes to
start normally (because they register students on the 7th and for 15
days after, but they don't register anyone before that.)

If I'm honest with you; I'm a bit terrified of teaching. I think I'll do OK,
but this next year will be my year of mistakes I'm almost certain.
I'm just hoping that they're mostly smallish mistakes. OK, those are
all of the mundane details of my life that I can think of. I've had
regular internet access (thanks in large part to the IT guys) so I
actually have run out of things to talk about, but that won't be the
case at my permanent site.

Just so you know, I'll probably have
internet twice a month when I head to Kamanjab or Otjiwarongo to shop,
so if you send me an email it might take as long as 2 weeks to get a
response. I'll try to keep you all updated, though.

Prayer Requests: That my creativity will kick in when I need it and
that I'll be able to do a reasonably good job with limited resources,
that I will grow safe and strong physically, spiritually, and
emotionally, and finally, that my kids will be safe from the dangers
of Namibia; HIV/AIDs, car accidents, and mind-numbing poverty.

Anyway, have a happy New Year.

Take care of yourselves and don't do anything I wouldn't do,


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