Crocs ‘n Socks

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Africa changes you.  It makes you do things you never would have imagined doing at home.

  • Brushing my teeth in the shower
  • Going bra-less
  • Wearing my Crocs with socks – eeks!
  • Seatbelts – what are those?
  • Chasing my chicken around the front yard to get back in her pen
  • Making water and power outages part of my daily routine
  • Greeting every single person I pass in the village (so annoying!)
  • Going 3 days + without washing my hair
  • Getting up at 5:30 in the morning on weekdays and not being able to sleep past 7 on weekends
  • Eating PLAIN pasta
  • Asking a learner very directly “Are you stupid?” or “Do you want to fail?” in front of the whole class
  • Handing over a half eaten apple to a kid who’s staring at you eating it
  • Greeting the 2 spiders on my wall every morning
  • Threatening or bribing the students
  • Wearing my money belt whenever I leave the village
  • Carrying my cell phone ALWAYS and anticipating a call (from homeJ)
  • Not freaking out when there is a goat at the front door or a chicken in the car seat beside you

No doubt, being here has made me more flexible and laid back.   It’s awesome!

Does Anyone Have Some Spare Patience They Can Lend Me?

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We started Term 3 of the school year this week, and while I anticipated it to be a breeze, it was actually quite tough. I am feeling such a mix of emotions and don’t know whether I am coming or going.
I returned to school to find that:
• NO ONE CARES! Teachers aren’t teaching, either they aren’t there or they are sitting in the staff room chatting while the kids sit in the classrooms for hours on end, trying to entertain themselves.
• two female learners in my homeroom class dropped out because they are pregnant, and three more in the other gr. 8-10 classes are gonzo for the same reason
• a grade 4 learner died over the holidays because he had a stroke (that is the only answer I could get out of people???)
• some teachers chose to extend their vacation and just not show up to school this week, which the principal made a joke about
• Monica, one of the girls I am very close to, passed out in class this week and hasn’t returned to school and I can’t get ANYONE to tell me what is happening to her

Yes, I am frustrated. And angry. Up until now, I have tried to adapt and accept the ‘culture’ that surrounds me but the laziness and lax way of running a school truly irritates me. I feel that I am the only one who genuinely cares about the well-being of these kids and is willing to put effort into improving it. The craziest part is that EVERYONE is related here – so these learners are their children, nieces or cousins. You’d think they would invest more into the future of their own genes and their own community.

While on vacation, I promised myself that I would enjoy this term and do all the things I have been meaning to do since I got here. Yet, suddenly I lack all motivation to do anything more than I have to and fear I am losing my compassion for these people. Some days, after a day at school, I just want to hide away in my house and avoid all contact with Namibians! It’s awful.

At the same time, I am constantly evaluating what I have and haven’t accomplished here. It haunts me. I know that time is running out and I need to be out there ‘doing’ more… especially if I am the only one who is cares (ok, a bit of an exaggeration, I hope). I know I have to stay focused on these kids. My heart breaks for them. They deserve so much more than this community gives them and maybe, just maybe, I can be a window for them to see what options exist for them. So, I will spend the weekend digging for my last ounces of patience and praying for the motivation to see this through.

An Unforgettable Safari

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We have been surrounded by wildlife this entire vacation -elephants grazing along the road on our way out of Namibia, baboons around our lodge in Katima, warthogs crossing the road in Livingstone…  absolutely amazing.  And then we did a safari!!!

Amy and I decided to do a two night camping safari in Chobe, Botswana and I am SOOO happy that we did as it gave us tons of opportunity to see animals. We did a river safari, 2 early morning safaris, 2 dusk drives and one afternoon drive.  While camping isn’t really my thing, this was amazing.  The guides took care of setting up camp, cooked amazing meals and were extremely knowledgeable.  Other than a cheetah (which there are only 2 of in the park), we saw everything… lions, leopards, HUNDREDS of elephants, hippos, impala, kudu, warthogs, crocodiles, baboons, eagles, vultures, zebra, giraffe, buffalo, hyenas (in our camp!)…

A hippo grazing - although a herbivore, they are VERY dangereous to humans if they feel threatened

More hippos!

This photos shows how close we were able to get to the herds of elephants while on the Chobe River.

Baby and Mama elephant heading to the river at dusk

The highlight was definitely the lion kill.  We witnessed a female lion catch a baby buffalo and then the pride of 9 lions fed on the buffalo (while it was still alive!)  Unbelievable.

Lions eating baby buffalo