Thursday, March 30, 2006

20 Nations with the highest prevalence of TB

Rank. Country TB deaths per 100,000
20. Burundi 564
19. Chad 566
18. Mali 578
17. Namibia 586
16. Mozambique 635
15. Uganda 646
14. Côte d'Ivoire 651
13. Rwanda 660
12. Afghanistan 661
11. South Africa 670
10. Somalia 673
9. Zimbabwe 673
8. Timor-Leste 692
7. Zambia 707
6. Cambodia 709
5. Togo 718
4. Sierra Leone 847
3. Kenya 888
2. Swaziland 1,120
1. Djibouti 1,137

(USA = 4)

New strategy in the TB fight - The Namibian (3/29)
Karas Region Still Tops TB List - The Namibian (3/28)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

10 Nations with the Lowest Population Density

Rank. Country-Population/Area (sq km)=Pop Density

10. Guyana- 765,283 /214,970= 3.56

9. Canada- 32,805,041 /9,984,670= 3.28

8. Libya- 5,765,563 /1,759,540= 3.27

7. Mauritania -3,086,859 /1,030,700= 2.99

6. Iceland- 296,737 /103,000= 2.88

5. Botswana- 1,640,115 /600,370= 2.73

4. Suriname- 438,144 /163,270= 2.68

3. Australia- 20,090,437 /7,686,850= 2.61

2. Namibia- 2,030,692/ 825,418= 2.46

1. Mongolia- 2,791,272 /1,564,116= 1.78

(50. USA- 295,734,134 /9,631,418= 30.07)

(World (land only)- 6,445,398,968 /148,940,000= 43.27)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Recent Nam 25 bloggers and news stories (3/12 - 3/25)

Recent blog posts from other PCV's in Namibia:

chez will and the view from my house (3/25)
9 AM onwards(3/25)
Notes towards an understanding of the herero couture (3/25)
the early part, 6AM-9AM (3/24)
Namblish Survival Guide (3/24)
Acronymnastics (3/22)


Fine Fine (3/12)

Namibian Vocabulary (3/20)

Photos (3/21)
Link to photo page
Gmail chat and shocker basketball (3/17)
March 11
March 15
Internet in the Library!!! (3/16)
My wonderful little flat (3/16)

Mariental floods (3/17)
Visit to Rehoboth (3/17)
How to survive an encounter with a computer (3/17)

Could someone tell me what fronic means (3/22) NEW
Etosha (3/20) NEW
Home again (3/14)

Hard Day (3/13)
Goolge? (3/13)

The Dating Game (3/13)

Independence Weekend (3/19)

Sunday morning (3/12)

Vacation (3/21)
Nam 25 blog directory (3/21)
Fundraising and Digital Photography (3/15)
Dorks (3/13)
The new becomes the familiar (3/13)

Link to previous list of recent blogs (2/28-3/11)

Recent news articles from Namibia:

CoD Praises, Chides And Looks to the Future - New Era (3/23)
We will defeat the enemy - The Namibian (3/22)
Come, let's all celebrate - New Era (3/22)
Time for an Independence Resolution - Namibian (3/20)
How are we 16 years on - New Era (3/20)
Namibia hopes to make economic gain from rain - The Star (Malaysia) 3/19/06
San living like flies - New Era 3/15/06
Namibia: Life in School Hostels -New Era 3/14/06
Desperate San eat rotten food -The Namibian 3/14/06

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Top ten nations with the highest % of adults living with HIV/AIDS

This statistic explains the previous lists of highest death rate and lowest life expectancy

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)

1 Swaziland 38.8

2 Botswana 37.3

3 Lesotho 28.9

4 Zimbabwe 24.6

5 South Africa 21.5

6 Namibia 21.3

7 Zambia 16.5

8 Malawi 14.2

9 Central African Republic 13.5

10 Mozambique 12.2

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Today is Namibian Independence Day - March 21, 1990

Articles on Namibian history of independence:

Namibian Independence

Namibia 1966-1990

Namibian History

Wikipedia - History of Namibia

26 Newest Nations in the World

Date of Independence

March 21, 1990


from South Africa
May 22, 1990 Yemen unification of North Yemen and South Yemen
October 3, 1990 Germany unification of West Germany and East Germany
April 9, 1991 Georgia from the Soviet Union
June 25, 1991 Croatia from Yugoslavia
June 25, 1991 Slovenia from Yugoslavia
August 20, 1991 Estonia from the Soviet Union
August 21, 1991 Latvia from the Soviet Union
August 24, 1991 Russia from the Soviet Union
August 24, 1991 Ukraine from the Soviet Union
August 25, 1991 Belarus from the Soviet Union
August 27, 1991 Moldova from the Soviet Union
August 30, 1991 Azerbaijan from the Soviet Union
August 31, 1991 Kyrgyzstan from the Soviet Union
September 1, 1991 Uzbekistan from the Soviet Union
September 8, 1991 Republic of Macedonia from Yugoslavia
September 9, 1991 Tajikistan from the Soviet Union
October 27, 1991 Turkmenistan from the Soviet Union
December 16, 1991 Kazakhstan from the Soviet Union
March 1, 1992 Bosnia and Herzegovina from Yugoslavia
April 27, 1992 Serbia and Montenegro from Yugoslavia
January 1, 1993 Czech Republic Czechoslovakia dissolved
January 1, 1993 Slovakia Czechoslovakia dissolved
May 24, 1993 Eritrea from Ethiopia
October 1, 1994 Palau
from the US-administered UN Trusteeship
May 20, 2002
East Timor
from Indonesia

Monday, March 20, 2006

Fall begins in Namibia today

The autumnal equinox

The same date (March 20) and time (6:26 PM UTC, 8:26 PM Namibia) that spring begins in the northern hemisphere, fall begins in the southern hemisphere. That means that the days start getting shorter than the nights in Namibia.

Fall in Namibia (March 20 through June 21), generally means slightly lower average temperatures and much less rainfall. Though, like anywhere, daily temperatures and rainfall vary widely.

Namibian Climate

  • Namibia has a dry climate typical of a semi-desert country, where droughts are a regular occurrence.

  • Days are generally warm to very hot, while nights are generally cool.

  • Midsummer temperature can rise to over 40ºC (104ºF)

  • Winter days are warm but dawn temperatures can drop to freezing.

  • Along the coast the cold Benguela current is also the prime determinant of the climate of the Namib, as it reduces rainfall and causes the omnipresent fog typical of the coast.

  • The rainy season lasts from October to April. The rest of the year is dry and cloudless.


namibia climate chart

All areas of Namibia average more than 300 days of sunshine a year!

Click to convert mm to inches

Click to convert Cº to Fº

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Top 10 Nations with the lowest life expectancy

10. Rwanda- 39.0 years

9. Namibia
- 38.3 years

8. Malawi - 37.0 years

7. Zimbabwe
- 36.7 years

6. Lesotho
- 36.7 years

5. Angola - 36.6 years

4. Mozambique - 36.0 years

3. Swaziland - 35.6 years

2. Zambia - 35.1 years

1. Botswana - 29.4 years

Top 10 list of Countries with Highest Life Expectancy

1 Andorra 83.50 years

2 San Marino 81.53

3 Singapore 81.53

4 Japan 81.04

5 Switzerland 80.31

6 Sweden 80.30

7 Australia 80.26

8 Iceland 80.18

9 Canada 79.96

10 Italy 79.54

45 United States of America 77.17

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Top 20 countries with the Highest death rate

RankCountryDeath rate (deaths/1,000 population)
8South Africa21.32
11Sierra Leone20.61
12Central African Republic20.27

16Burkina Faso18.86

(108 United States 8.25)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Amy is on her way back to Anker

Well, Amy is on her way back to Otjiwarongo today. We talked on her cell phone yesterday while she was still in Windhoek. She was doing much better and felt good. The PC medical gave her an antibiotic to bring with her so that if she gets sick again and they diagnose her over the phone, she can start taking something right away.

On Wednesday evening, she went out with Jason and Megan to the movie, "Zathura". The movie theater was in a typical western style mall. The movies are half price on Wednesdays so the cost of a ticket was $20 N or about $1.50 US. They also played mini golf for $15 N ($1 US). Life in the big city is good. She shopped a bit at the grocery store, a big one and said her eyes must have been big too. She commented again on the great disparity between rich/poor and city/rural in the country.

Today was another snow day here (as was Monday) so we called her about 7:45 AM (3:45 pm her time). We talked about an hour. She was just hanging out in her flat next to the PC office and was planning to go out to eat with Jason Thursday evening. Then today, she is going with Megan to Otjiwarongo and will probably hang out there for the 4 day holiday weekend. This is Namibian independence celebration and not only will there be few if any rides into Anker until Tuesday, but there will be almost no one in town. She has Monday and Tuesday off and will probably hook up with some other PC's for a party sometime.

We might get to talk to her sometime again over the weekend while she is in cell range. She is still thinking that the PC HQ will be getting cell antennae for all the rural PC's. We did get her principals phone number. Interesting fact: she looked in a phone book (there's only one for the whole country) and found that there are only 15 personal phones numbers listed for the Anker region (not counting government, utilities or schools). That's not many for an area of a few thousand people.

Thanks to all who expressed their concern and prayers while Amy was sick.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Top 10 Nations with the Highest Proportion of Lutherans

1. Iceland 94%
2. Norway 90%,
3. Denmark 90%
4. Sweden 90%,
5. Finland 86%
6. Greenland 80%,
7. Namibia 50%
8. Germany 30%
9. Estonia 26%
10. USA 6%

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Amy is in Windhoek

We got an e-mail today from Amy. She is now in the capital city of Windhoek, about 350 miles from her town of Anker. After being in Otjiwarongo with flu-like symptoms since last Thursday, the Peace Corps medical staff decided they wanted to check her out at their HQ in the capital city. We got a hold of her cell phone this morning at 6:30 AM (2:30 PM her time) to see how she was doing. She said she was feeling much better and sounded good over the phone. She said that they were being extra careful with her being so far away from medical facilities. She arrived on Monday in Windhoek and will be staying until Friday.

She is staying in a medical flat attached to the PC HQ in Windhoek. They think have eliminated all things except what she originally thought (i.e. tonsillitis) and want to continue to check that out today and tomorrow. They have done blood and other tests and she does not have malaria or any other major illnesses. She wanted us to know that she is feeling much better. In fact, she said she is feeling so good today that she might go to a movie with Megan and Jason (other PCVs) tonight because Wednesday is half price day at the only movie theater in Namibia.

Megan (PCV from Otjiwaraongo) actually has a driver for the health and community program she runs and that is how Amy got to Windhoek. She will go back to Otji on Friday with Megan and her driver and then try to get a ride back to Anker after that.

She actually sounded quite upbeat and had a few new ideas to try out with her students. One was to use "The Namibian" newspaper articles and classifieds for some activities. It is only about $1.00 N (.15 US) so she could buy several copies to cut things out. She said she is worried about her kids and expects that they are having to hand copy pages from their textbooks into their notebooks. She doubts that they will have any substitute teachers for her.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Mopane worms

Mopane Worm

Last week, Amy was offered a Mopane Worm to eat by some of the kids in her school. She turned it down. Turns out it is a very important food for people in southern Africa. Who knew?

Links to some pages about and recipes for Mopane worms:

Mopane worms - African cuisine

Edible Namibian Mopane worms

Recipe for Mopane worm stew

Big 12 African insects

Wikipedia on Mopane worms

Sunday, March 12, 2006

We spoke to Amy!!

Well we finally got to talk to Amy after 3 months of not hearing her voice. She called about 11 AM and left a message on our message machine with a phone #. We got home from church and lunch about 1:30 PM and tried calling the number. It apparently was missing a number but after many tries, I finally got through at about 2:30 PM. We talked about an hour.

She stayed in Otjiwarongo again today because she had some diarrhea and the Peace Corps nurse, Clara, wanted her to stay there another day. She says she will go back to Anker tomorrow if they let her. They still think it is "the tonsillitis" and maybe a virus. She got sick on Tuesday evening and I think she said she missed W,Th, and F (though maybe it was just Th F). Her fever was low grade but was up to 101 at one time. She thinks she may still have a little fever and her throat still hurts. She said she is doing fine though. She isn't sure if she can find a ride all the way to Anker tomorrow, so may stay in Kamanjab with Clementine. It didn't sound like she knew what the school was going to do, maybe just have the kids sit in class.

A summary of some of the things Amy said on the phone:

-- She really likes Anker. She said teaching is hard because she is new at it and doesn't have lesson plans. Discipline can be challenging sometimes but she thinks that is going okay. She doesn't dislike teaching, but likes the other things better, like library stuff. The other teachers are supportive of each other and it seems they work together. Our impressions of a more organized school seems right.

--She really wants to get out and see other PCVs more often and may just visit nearby ones despite the "rule". She said they really won't mind much and they are far away. Because she missed getting groceries last week, she was really low and ran out of alot of things. She will return with about 6 bags of groceries tomorrow. She is eating well but mostly has canned stuff, pastas or breads. She said there is a community garden and she might be able to get some fresh stuff soon.

--Her washer woman and her don't always understand each other, but she is helpful and even does her dishes when she lets them pile up.

--She has received some regular mail but didn't get a package we sent on Jan 9 yet. She just sent letters to the publishing companies today because she hasn't been able to get to a printer.

--She seemed to think that she could connect the Internet now that she has a phone card. She would have to go to the Geiseb's and connect to their phone line to download and send stuff. She loves getting email and liked all the blogs I sent, but hadn't read some of the most recent ones. She laughs at Matt's from the town near her. She has just missed seeing him both times she came to Otji. She is trying to talk the computer guys in coming up by enticing them with the prospect of seeing some wild animals and going to Etosha NP. Patrick O (at the house she is staying) says he thinks she is getting a real PC experience as opposed to some others in Namibia.

--There is a 4 day weekend next weekend and there is a party in Okakara (have to look it up) at another PCVs house and she and others will be there. She's looking forward to that. She does keep in contact with some of the PCV by email.

--She really likes her language, Khoekhoegowab, and gets brownie points for reading and speaking it. Most adults can't read KKG because apartheid discouraged that. It is mostly a spoken language. The pastor points it out to everyone in church when she sings from the KKG hymnal. Church is a long affair and begins with singing until everyone arrives. The sermon, testimonies and other things for a couple of hours. She said she likes it though.

--There are times when she just doesn't want to go out because of everyone looking at her. She said everyone knows at all times what she is doing and where she is going. Kids are always saying "Hello, hello, hello Miss Amy" often repeating it over and over because they know those words. The hostel kids are so bored that they sit and stare at her when she reads because that is more exciting than being back at the hostel. Kids used to look through the window and say, "Miss, we're hungry" or "give us money" but now they seem to know her rule of no food or money giveaways. This week when she was sick, some kids were making noise outside on her front porch so she came out and sternly said, "What!". Turns out they had made her a bottlecap necklace because they knew she was sick. She felt very bad about that. They also offered her a "mopane worm" but she said those are not real safe to eat, so she turned them down.

--She will get us the Geiseb's phone and we can call there on the weekends. They won't mind sending a kid down to get her and we can then call back in ten minutes. All the teachers live next to each other. She seems to like the Geiseb's best. Her friend, Rob is sending her instructions on making a homemade cell phone antenna from wire and tin foil. Then we could call her more often.

--She said that she often comes over to help a kid with something in class and feels them touching her hair or her arm. They really like it's color and texture. She takes a shower only in the afternoon after the sun has warmed up the water. She doesn't nap much but doesn't mind "lying" to the kids to tell them she is sleeping in order for them to leave her alone some.

There was much more and, of course we filled her in on stuff happening here. But, we started to wind things up at about 3:30 PM (10:30 PM her time) and then we got cut off. I tried calling back but couldn't get through. I guess you have to be ready to say goodbye at any time. It was a great feeling to hear her voice and to get instant response and feedback instead of waiting for an email to return.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Doing better (e-mail from Amy)


So I'm doing a little better after some nice pills and an amazing meal
last night (I cooked honey chicken and Patty-O made this
cabbage/carrot/peanut dish and we had garlic bread with Mozorella.)
School is going OK. I'm not sure that I'm a very good teacher. I
don't think I plan my lessons very well and discipline is becoming a
bigger problem, but I think I'm a pretty good librarian, so I'm
comforting myself with that thought.

If anyone knows any non-profits that give away computers,
or if anyone has any connections with any computer companies, please
let me know. It's my big project to get at least one working
computer at Edward //Garoeb PS.

I finished The Covenant while I was sick, only to find
that I had only volume one and the library doesn't have volume two,
which is annoying me to no end. Anyway, I started Anna Karinina. I
had started it before I left for the Peace Corps, but everything got
crazy. I was thrilled to find this copy in the Peace Corps library.
It's ridiculous, though. This book is hanging on to life by a thread.
It was a paperback, but all of the pages have broken away from the
binding so now it's really a stack of papers held together by a rubber
band, still, a book is a book.

About the internet access- I still haven't tested it out.
I couldn't get a phone card, which is what I need to use one of the
land lines, so I'll get one of those here (I could easily get one in
Kamanjab, but Anker's shops were all out when I checked.) Anyway,
I'll still try.

We got a new pastor at church (I assumed that the church
just never had a consistant pastor- just itinerant preachers) and he
gave me the reference and a short meditation, which was nice since I
feel on display when they translate into English and I feel lost when
they don't. It was a nice balance.

Anyway, Life's going well. I told the PCV I'm staying with that I
have to get tonsillitis more often (or just take more illicit visits
to the big city.) Good to hear from some of you. Take care and God

Newest Namibian blogs and news (2/28-3/11)

Recent blog posts from other PCV's in Namibia

I am because of you

Common Namibian phrases
Dune 7

Need info
Athletics Day


Sick in the city


Blog posts Feb 19-22 (back posted while away)

7 March
2 March
28 Feb
27 Feb
Athletics success

A typical day

What the...
What a weekend (and photos)
Helping each other
Study time

See you soon!
I miss...
A few random blurbs
Weekend recap (written on 2/28)
Buzz Light Ear (written on 2/28)

Link to previous list of recent blogs (2/20-2/27)

Selected news stories:

Hurricane Katrina Roars Into NA: Govt Slammed for Flood Response

Various news stories about the continuing flood problems: who's to blame, who's going to pay, will there be more... hmm... sounds a bit like the Katrina aftermath

Namibia Has the 'Unholy Trinity' - PM

Ondonga Leaders Visit 'Demon' School

Friday, March 10, 2006

Back in Otjiwarongo and a bit sick (e-mail from Amy)

The Sickness

Well, I'm back in Otjiwarongo. (See Map) I got sick on Wednesday and the Peace Corps told me to get to the doctor- which means either Khorixas or Otjiwarongo. They actually wanted me to go to Khorixas on Thursday, but I didn't think I could get a ride (if it were an emergency I could have, but one full day of a medium grade fever doesn't count as an emergency, even here where people panic if you tell them you're a little sick.) The Peace Corps is worried that I have "The Malaria" (adding "the" to the front of diseases makes them seem less insidious.) I thought that I had "The Flu" on Wednesday since I had only been sick for a day and my fever wasn't even that high, but I'm glad I'm seeing the doctor now. The Peace Corps is just concerned because I'm so far away from everything. (Later addition to this email- Turns out that I had "The Tonsillitis" which was moving towards "The Pneumonia" so it's a good thing I came into town. I'm on antibiotics now and they gave me some wicked pills that scare me a little with Ibuprofen, Paracetamol (or something like that, and Codine. I don't think I'll take too many of those, though. I'm going to be here until Sunday, so I'll email you all tomorrow)

Hiking to Anker

I had an interesting ride home from Otjiwarongo two weeks ago. (see last e-mail) Megan and I went to the hike point, just to make sure that it actually was the place to go to get rides to Kamanjab and we happened to find a ride to Outjo, which is on the way home. I wasn't planning on leaving yet, so I had to get my things. It was a ride in a very fancy car with a nice Nama family. I earned loads of brownie points for knowing some KhoeKhoe and they even gave me some of their biltong (heavily spiced dried game meat) to eat. When I got to Outjo I was going to try to get a hike to Kamanjab, but first I had to buy a Coke to break my hundred and get the right change for the hike. As I was leaving the store I heard, "Amy… Amy!" there was Mrs. /Uiras. She had gotten a hike to Outjo in a huge, open Land Rover and was going to wait there for her husband and the !Guibebs. So I ended up getting a ride all the way back to Anker on Saturday night. There were 7 of us until Kamanjab and 5 to Anker. We bought some enormous wild mushrooms that grow on termite mounds on the way. When we came to the Onguati river we had to get out and push. The river wasn't running, but the sand was deep and the little car was riding very low. Mr. !Guibeb took out a spade that he had brought specially for this purpose and shoveled some of the sand out from under the car and then we all pushed. It was nice, as the sun was setting, to get out of the car and stretch my legs some. I didn't get any of the groceries in Kamanjab because, of course, by the time we came through, the shops were all closed. I got some very nice things in Otjiwarongo. I got hot chocolate mix, some spices, mouthwash, grapes, and some fancy packets of pasta sauce (basil pesto and sun dried tomato.) I can get some things in the shops here, but many things can only be bought in Kamanjab.

Life in Anker

Things are going well in Anker. The Peace Corps visited me last week. I'm not sure I gave a very good impression. I think that Waldo thought I was unhappy, when really I was just very, very nervous about the visit. I don't know exactly why I was nervous, perhaps because I have this irrational fear that they are going to kick me out for some minor infraction or maybe just because I hadn't seen and PC people or really anyone outside Anker in 2 months. I did get some nifty things from them, though. The health office sent me some more suntan lotion (yay! I was almost out) and when I mentioned that it would be really nice to get a water filter (It's not that the water is really unsafe, it's just from a borehole, so it tastes very salty and sometimes gives your stomach some trouble) they pulled one out of the back of the Land Rover and gave it to me. It's really nice, although it's meant to clear bacteria out of water, so it doesn't get all of the salt. I'm thinking that I'll get another water filter for the minerals when I get to Otjiwarongo or somewhere else big. I saw Brita filters when I was there for a little over N$200 (US$30.) That will be great, then I can filter all of my drinking water twice. Still, it's better than the other options- the volunteer who was here before sent her 50 liter water container (meant as an emergency stash) to Kamanjab to get drinking water every couple of weeks and my two main coping strategies have been to add lots of sugar and flavoured-drink mix to it, and also to drink less water- not a really good strategy in a desert. Anyway, in a classic Amy move, I broke part of the filter before I even used it. It kept emphasizing in the directions how you should sterilize the parts before putting them together and at least once a week by boiling them for 20 min. So, being a good rule-abiding person, I boiled the parts before I put them together. Unfortunately, the directions were ridiculously unclear about exactly which parts needed to be boiled and I accidentally shrunk one of the plastic washers and then, on top of that, I broke the screw part off of the filter trying to screw the shrunken washer on to it. Right now there's duct tape covering the hole in the filter. It's all good, though, it's filtering just fine and now I know never to follow the directions. During the visit, I also got into a little trouble from Waldo (it wasn't too bad.) Apparently I was breaking the rules when I went to Otjiwarongo 2 weeks ago- oops. In my defense, the Peace Corps has about a gazillion rules and they make them about as clear as pea soup. I assumed, from what they said, that I could go to any town that was reasonably close by for shopping and R & R and Otjiwarongo is only about a 3 hour drive and all of the other teachers go there at least once a month. Apparently, what they meant was that I could only go to the nearest possible town (Kamanjab) two weekends a month I'm not breaking the rules this time, though because you can travel for health or work related reasons.

The library

The library is running relatively well. I spent most of last week hand making library cards out of 3 X 5 index cards and I made a really nifty box for the cards out of cardboard and duct tape. I think that this system will work, as long as I can teach the learners that they can't just put books that they've checked out back on the shelf without telling me that they returned them and as long as they stop trying to sneak the books out without checking them out when I'm not looking. I was trying to figure out how to fine students for keeping books late, as monetary library fines really won't work (nobody would pay them), and I decided that taking away checking out privileges, coupled with a sign listing the late books and their borrowers ( to add a little positive peer pressure) is the best option. I also gave up on the sellotape front. I had been adamantly avoiding using sellotape (Scotch tape), knowing that it dries out and turns brown with age, but I really had nothing else except a glue stick (unless I wanted to use duct tape) and I realized that the books will probably make it longer if they are sellotaped than if I leave them broken, since trying to keep the learners can't from looking at certain books is an exercise in futility (they actually spend more time going through the damaged books box than looking at the shelves of undamaged books.)

Food in Anker

I have been learning just what is available to buy in Anker. I only bought a few things in Otjiwarongo a few weeks ago, since I wanted to be sure that I could get a hike back, but I forgot that all of the shops in Kamanjab would be closed when I went through. Then, last weekend I just forgot to start looking for a ride early enough, so I've been stuck here in Anker and I haven't been grocery shopping in almost a month. I have loads of cash- almost N$1200 (US$200) but I've been going around to each of the shops trying to find something that I want to spend it on. All of the shops are like variations on a theme. Some of them have more, some less, but they all have the same basic things plus a few odd additions. Here is the basic rundown of what I can buy in Anker- cornmeal, flour (white or brown), sugar (white or brown), sunflower oil, salt, washing powder, baked beans, canned weird mixed vegetables, packets of mixed spice with names like "piri piri" which bizarrely means "goat goat" in KhoeKhoe, 2 different types of pasta, rice, sometimes potatoes, sometimes shelf-stable milk, sometimes phone cards, cream filled biscuits, potato chips with flavours like "chutney" and "fried chicken", soap, shampoo (not really for my white-people hair, though), baby powder, Tea, instant coffee, batteries, matches, penny candy, thread, Coke, and just about any type of alcohol I might ever imagine wanting (that's just in the shops- I don't even go into the bottle stores because it just depresses me to see the massive selection of alcohol that my grade 6 or 7 (or 4) learners can choose from and also I don't enjoy being harassed by drunk old men.) Those are the things that are available most of the time, then there are the weird things that show up on the shelves. It's like the shop owners just figure, "Why not, I don't really want this, I'll sell it."- maybe there will be one pair of size 10 Kudu skin shoes, or a box of Q-tips, or a single pair of scissors, or two skeins of teal yarn- they stay on the shelf until someone buys them and then you might never see that item in the shops again, or maybe they'll get another one, you just never know. It's a little odd. Unfortunately, none of the shops sell bread, which is one thing I would buy loads of if they sold it. I don't really understand where other people get all of their bread from, since they eat plenty of it. I think they all must know where the magic bread tree is and I am just out of the loop. The shops really aren't aimed at my diet- they sell things for people who eat porridge and a meat dish almost every meal and who keep goats, cows, and chickens (there's no place to buy meat or eggs and milk is sometimes there and sometimes not.) Basically, I'm not going to give up going to Kamanjab for groceries, since at least there I can get canned fruit and tomatoes, soup mix, meat, bread, juice, cheese, chocolate, yogurt, and fresh-ish produce. I can even get real coffee there. I'm sorry- I'm sure you are all really sick of another rant about food by now since it seems like I talk about food every email and I really should stop because I'm making myself hungry for all of the things that I have run out of. I'm really just tormenting myself. Oh, here's another challenge with cooking here that I forgot to mention in my last email- I don't own any measuring cups or measuring spoons, so it's all guesstimating.

More about food

Other people have been giving me some food. Miss Julianne found out that I didn't have any more eggs and she sent someone with 6 eggs for me. Also, the Geisebs were making sour milk and I made some off-hand comment about it and later that day they sent me almost a litre of sour milk. Now I have to figure out what to do with a litre of sour milk. I've been mixing just a little bit with potatoes and cheese and that's pretty good. I'm still getting used to sour milk. It helped when I stopped thinking about it as spoiled milk and started thinking of it as yoghurt, but I still don't drink it plain and I can only take a little bit of it when it's mixed with porridge and sugar (the other teachers call it "Damara salad" but you can buy it in cartons in the grocery store as Oshikandela.) I have a recipe for cheese and I'm thinking about trying to make some, since I don't think I can use up my litre any other way. When I got sick the Geiseb daughters started bringing me food and many people came by to check how I was doing.

Are you an Angel?

Mervelly asked me in the middle of class on Monday if I was an angel. That's not a question you really expect to have to answer in the regular course of teaching, and I really wasn't prepared for it. The problem is that I know why she asked it and it troubles me. In KhoeKhoe the word for white person (/hun) is the same as an archaic form of the word for gods (not God- which is Eloba, but for the gods) which apparently has transformed into the word for angel. Mr. Albertus, my KhoeKhoe teacher told us that the reason for this was that when the white people first came, the KhoeKhoe speaking people thought that they weren't like them- they thought they were too good (which is ironic.) Mervelly told me that Mr. !Naruseb, the KhoeKhoe teacher told them that white people were angels- although I think she maybe misunderstood what he was trying to tell the class. I really don't like the not-so-subtle white privilege that is pervasive throughout Namibian culture and I try to fight it when I can. When students admire my hair ad nauseum and tell me again and again how much they wish my hair was their hair, I try to tell them that I wish my hair were more like theirs so I could braid it into the elaborate hairstyles that they sculpt their hair into and so it would stay where I put it. I don't like them thinking that only white-people hair can be beautiful. Still, it's a little difficult to know what to say when a student asks you if you are an angel. I told her that we're like the little block houses out of the classroom window; this one is red, that one green, but inside they aren't really that different. She gave me a sort of patronizing smile.

Well- that's it for today. I'll write more and reply to your emails tomorrow. Much love.