Monday, April 30, 2007

Recent Nam 25 PCV blogs, news and information for the month of April

Pages I've updated lately:
NamibiAlive Video Promo
Namibia is no longer number one!
Video of scenery from Namibia
A video about Namibia from a tourist's point of view
Tourism Board Videos
KhoeKhoegowab language lesson videos

Other web pages to check out:
Namibian Library Projects (search by country or name)

Recent blog posts from some of Amy's teammates (58 Peace Corps Volunteers known as NAM 25) all across the country of Namibia:

Jason's page of Nam 25 blogger photos and links

Term 1 in review (4/30)
Opuwo, etc... (4/9)

Basketeering (4/13)
Jogging (4/13)
There may be a way out (4/4)
Check it out: Ohikuku basket project (4/10)

Pictures posted (4/6)

Updates (4/24)
April 11 - (4/13)
April 6 - Sending a package (4/6)
April 5 - Package! (4/6)
April 4 - Mail! (4/6)
March 31 - Phone call! (4/6)

Ah, end of term 1 (4/27)
Cape Town! (4/6)

Almost Holiday Time (4/20)

The Art of Questioning (4/17)


Himbas (4/24)
Mopane Trees are dangerous (4/23)
Here is Coppelia Shikesho (4/17)

Easter at Ruacana Falls (4/17)




Signing out (4/19)
Weekend fun (4/2)


Monsters (4/12)
Shoulders (4/2)

What's Goin On? (4/9)


I'm freezing (4/24)
Photos from music class (4/16)
There goes Peter Cottontail - with my computer (4/11)


Allie's visit-November 17-30, 2006 (4/16)
A Story-December 2-6, 2006 (4/16)
Christmas-December 20-31 (4/16)
New Years 2007 (4/16)


ruacana falls (4/23)
windows of hope rice krispies day (4/23)
partytime (4/23)

All Nam 26 bloggers

Nam 26 bloggers active lately:

Link to previous list of recent blogs (March 2007)

Recent news from Namibia

Todays Front Page from "The Namibian"

term 1 in review (email from Amy)

It's been a long semester and I know I've been terrible about keeping up with emailing everyone. I assure you that was due to some problems I faced aquiring email, not due to a lack of desire. Hopefully next term will be better with regard to my availibility. School is going really well. I feel amazingly more confident in the classroom. I think that I am really starting to get the hang of this teaching thing. I'm teaching one less class this term, but I think that the quality of my teaching has just skyrocketed. When I think back to what I was trying to do last year at this time, I can't believe how ridiculous I find it.

This term break I'm just hanging out for the first half-I'm hopefully going back to Anker today and staying there until Wednesday. Then I plan to go to Windhoek and hang out. After that I'm hiking through Fish River Canyon- about 80-90 K in 6 days. I've heard it's beautiful and I'm excited to do some camping and to see more of the south of the country.

I'm thinking more and more about what I'll do when I finish here. I'm seriously thinking about doing grad school, but I'm also thinking that I will need to take a while at some random job just to reaclimatize myself to American culture (you wouldn't believe how really great it sounds some days to be working as a clerk at Barnes and Noble.) They say that culture shock is the worst on the return trip- it's easy to understand why the culture is so different when you're in a completely new country but when you go back home to everything you used to be so accustomed to and everything seems so foreign and strange-that's when you really start to question things. I can actually see the culture shock looming on the horizon.

I do miss all of you, although it's turned into something different than it was at the beginning. At the begining its all frenetic phone calls and desperation to have contact. Now things have mellowed into a gentle sort of homesickness. Most of the time I'm concentrated on my own concerns, but every now and then something brings you viscerally back home or you find yourself missing someone you haven't thought about in weeks. You'd be surprised how often food can do it. Every now and then I'll eat a food that I haven't had in a long time and it will yank you into a different time and space. It's happened to me with salad, bacon, and mashed potatoes. It's a very intense experience and it usually doesn't repeat itself. I eat bacon now and I feel nothing, but the first time I ate it I was suddenly back in my home in Minnesota on a Saturday morning in early winter.

I've been reading really really ridiculous amounts. Even I find it a little ridiculous how many books I've read this term. In March I finished 12 books. In April I finished 7 including Tess of the D'Urbevilles, Barchester Towers, The Color Purple, High Fidelity, Cry The Beloved Country, and I'm halfway through Hard Times by Charles Dickens. I've decided that I like the book situation here. There's sort of an informal person-to-person library system between volunteers with houses in larger cities acting as a sort of branch library. You take books that you want to read back to your site and keep them for as long as you need to. When you're done, you bring them back to the shopping town and they get passed to someone else. Granted, you're limited as to the variety of books, but if you really want some book you can get the word out and other volunteers will spread the news.

I've found that I have completely given up on the news. Anything I know about current events now comes from my 1-3 month old International Newsweeks or from word of mouth. I could, I suppose, watch NBC (Namibian Brodcasting Company) for their news, but they are most likely to report on cattle theft and the production values are somewhere between an amatuer vhs recording of a high school play and the movies that you get if you give a teenager a video camera. Also they sometimes say ridiculous things. One volunteer reported that they heard this said "Is shelter still a necessity or has it become a luxery?" accompanied by a picture of a tin shack from the location. She said her responses ranged from "Are you serious?" to "Are you on crack?" Anyway, mostly I don't know anything about the world anymore.

The kids are OK. Their marks are still abysmal, but no more than I expected. We're still working on having an acceptable discipline policy. It's very difficult to discipline kids who are used to corporal punishment when you do not engage in it. Some days it has me tearing
out my hair. Oh, in the realm of amazingly great news for the year-Anker now has cell coverage. Which makes me feel like I'm no longer on the dark side of the moon. I was so happy when I found out that I actually did a little dance. They had been telling me that it would happen, but I assumed that it was sort of the "one day the sun will explode" sort of it will happen.

Anyway, I hope everyone is well. I promise I will try to be less completely unreachable. Lots of love.

Take care.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

NamibiAlive video promo

NamiAlive - a promotional video for the HIV/AIDs album produced by Nam24 PCV's Amy and Dan

From the intro on YouTube:

In case you feel any need to see a commercial for the HIV/AIDS album made by Amy Taylor and Dan Cwirka in Namibia, here it is. Thank you very big to Jason Sears for getting this together.

News article about the project

NamibiAlive website (includes samples of the music)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Video of the beautiful scenery in Namibia

Wolvedans (a camp near Namib-Naukluft National Park), The Namib Desert - 3 min video of beautiful scenery.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Opuwo, etc...

I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to get email again. I've lost the ability to email from my site. I am working on getting that fixed, but I got a little distracted. By next term I should have email. A lot has happened and I have probably forgotten a lot of it. We had a five day weekend for Namibian Independence day and I went on kind of a ridiculous trip to Opuwo. First, I met up with a couple of other volunteers in Kamanjab. We actually got stuck there for the night (we stayed with some Namibian friends.) At one point some people came along with a completely empty truck (whatever you are picturing, it's not big enough. This truck was more like a tank. You could have fit my whole school in this car.) and they were going to Opuwo, but when we begged for a ride (with our best piteous I'm a poor volunteer face) they said, and I quote, "We drive alone." It's become kind of a catch phrase, because it was so ridiculous. We were going to have to sleep by the side of the road and these people had a completely empty truck. Atatatat. We got to Opuwo but in the end we just went to Khorixas and hung out at the lodge there instead because it was so ridiculous. Now I'm in Otjiwarongo for easter. On easter I played chess with Matt. Then we had a big dinner and we went to this orphanage for street kids and dyed easter eggs with the kids ( and my hands--they were completely green because I was working with the 3 year olds) OK I think that's almost all I have time for, sorry. I've been reading a lot but I've forgotten a lot of it (I've read 12 books this month) so I'm not sure I can update you. OK take care.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Welcome to Namibia Videos

By the Namibia Tourism Board - perhaps a bit "sanitized"

Welcome to Namibia - Part 1

Welcome to Namibia - Part 2

Welcome to Namibia - Part 3

Monday, April 02, 2007

Namibia is no longer number one!

Namibia is no longer number on on the Gini Coefficient list as this recent blog post from "Namibia Notes" reports:

Namibia’s Gini Coefficient

Namibia has lost a world title, one that was good to loose. From 1994 through 2006, Namibia had the highest, at 0.7, Gini Coefficient in the world. This is a measure of income inequality in a society with 1.0 meaning that one person has all the wealth and everyone else has nothing. Conversely, 0.0 means that everyone has the same wealth. So, having a high Gini coefficient is bad. According to the recently released National Household Income and Expenditure Survey, our Gini Coefficient stands at 0.6. A 10 point reduction over ten years is good. But, before we get lost in self congratulation, let’s look at this accomplishment.

To start, the first measure took place in 1993/94, three years after Independence. The high level of inequality was expected. After all, we had just emerged from forty plus years of apartheid, and a century or so of colonial rule. Both systems (actually one could argue that apartheid was just colonialism taken to its extremes — though this discussion is for another time) had as a central tenet the creation of a large majority of poor ruled over by a tiny group of very rich. Under apartheid, skin color determined into which group one was placed. Three years is woefully insufficient to undo decades of inequality. Ten years, however, provides us with a reasonable benchmark. After all, as life teaches us, inheriting a bad situation is nothing to be ashamed of — it happens all the time. The important thing is what you do with that situation.

After a decade we have made progress on a number of fronts. Economic growth has been steady, more people are benefiting from that growth, levels of poverty have gone down. A relevant question at this time is, “Where do we stand now?” Namibia has passed Lesotho, Botswana, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic. We are now in the neighborhood of Swaziland, Bolivia and Haiti. Our long term development outline, Vision 2030, clearly does not wish that we linger too long in this new place. The Vision sees us reaching status beyond the developing world with some very strict, some would say difficult, targets to reach in terms of education, employment and wealth creation. The next twenty-three years will see both progress towards and setbacks to achieving the Vision. For just as a Gini Coefficient can go down, it can also make the return trip back up. Clearly this is not a time to rest on our laurels.

Click here for old information about the Gini Coefficient on Wiki. The arrows at the top of each column enable you to sort each column. Click the "UN Gini index" Or the "CIA Gini index" twice to sort from worst to first.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Namibia now on Standard Time

The United States changed to daylight saving time (DST) three weeks ago on March 11th for our spring/summer/autumn months. However, very few countries during the southern hemisphere's summer months observe DST. In fact, Namibia is one of only three countries in Africa (the other two are Egypt and Tunis in the north) that observe it.

However, since they have just entered autumn, they are now actually going off DST. Just to make it confusing though, the Caprivi Strip (that part of Namibia that sticks way out on the northeast) unofficially does not observe DST at all and so will now be on the same time as the rest of the country.

So, while we "sprang forward" one hour, they "fall back" one hour. That means our time difference is now shorter than it has been. For us in Minnesota, we were 8 hours behind Namibia all winter, now we are only 6 hours behind them until September 2 when Namibia returns to DST.

So, what time is it in Namibia? Check the clock on the right.

See these links for more information on the confusing world of DST.

New Era newspaper article about DST

World map of daylight savings time

About Daylight Savings Time

Worldwide Daylight Savings Time

Interesting and confusing facts about DST, time and time zones

Funny post from a former PCV in Namibia. This comes from an email posted by Melanie, a returned PCV (Nam 24) who worked on the Angola border near Eehana:

Time change

I didn't not realize until someone pointed out to me…but Namibia observes Daylight Savings Time. So, as everyone back in the northern hemisphere experienced "spring forward" with time, we "fell backwards" today. It will be funny how many of the learners remember. I must chuckle actually, I tried to find a clock today just to see if anyone actually changed their clocks…couldn't find a single one. But, folks in the village agreed that everyone would change their clocks etc.

Well, that's more than I can say for a colleague of mine. This is probably the funniest story I've heard in a while. We were all hanging out during our week vacation and the topic of Daylight Savings Time came up. Cory piped up and told us about his experience in his village. Apparently during a staff meeting the topic came up and there was a bit of a discrepancy over whether or not they should change their clocks or not. Some of the teachers argued that the learners would just be late everyday if they changed their clocks.

Well, actually they would be an hour early since they were falling back an hour…but that is beside the point…or maybe adds to the humor of the whole thing. Anyway, the principle apparently believed in the spirit of democracy, and decided to put it to a vote. Do they or do they not change their clocks. Well, the vote was tied up 5 for the change and 5 against it. Who knew? So again, the principle being very efficient and democratic, decided to…COMPROMISE! Who woulda thought that something as binary as changing the clocks by 1 hour could be put to a compromise. So, his village has decided to change their clocks by ½ of an hour. The entire country of Namibia will begin school at 8:00…but Cory's village will have been in school for a half an hour already. It is just that crazy around here. It seems as though villages can just make their own rules…why not right?