Yes, I started my language training yesterday and I am getting pretty good at greeting and asking basic questions in Rukvangali (tribal language spoken in the Kavango region). Nicolas, our instructor, has been extremely patient with Amy and I as we struggle through pronouncing a language we have never even heard before! There are only two of us learning this language as the majority of the volunteers are learning Oshiwambo, one of the major tribal languages in the country.
We took a thorough tour of Windhoek today and it was really helpful. We went to the Katatura, a suburb of Windhoek, where the majority of the lower classes live. We visited the township of Babylon, an informal settlement on government land that houses the poorer population. It is a hilly area covered in corrugated metal shacks. Jocie’s (one of our Field Directors) husband Moses, has an uncle that owns a shabeen (bar) in the settlement, so we went to visit him. The minute we got out of the van we were surrounded by kids of all ages, saying hello and following us around as we toured the area. The area was alive – people out working, walking around, carrying water and wood on their heads, children playing in the streets. I wasn’t able to capture any photos of the kids or their homes, as I thought it would be disrespectful, but I was able to take a couple from the van.
We contrasted that with a drive through the affluent neighbourhood where there was NO ONE around and very little excitement. Then we went to an open market where we sampled some of the local treats. My favorite was fried dough balls, called ‘fat cakes’ (the name says it all!) and kapana, which is meat that is slaughtered and grilled on the spot!