Serenity in Swakopmund!


I made the smart decision to get away for a week and visit the sea-side town of Swakopmund, with a couple other volunteers.  It has been a week of catching up, relaxing, eating and sitting at the beach.  The weather here has been cool and breezy – a nice break from the desert-like temperatures in the village.  However, not too cold for ice cream – and lots of it!

Enjoying some quality Hannah time


Trying to get close to a cute, lone seal on the beach

Margarita night!

This weekend we head to Windhoek for our End of Service conference with the rest of the volunteers from our group.  Can’t believe we are starting to prepare to come home!





When I arrived at school this morning there was a buzz amongst the learners and teachers.  Immediately, Mr. Dennis ran over to tell me that there was a dead crocodile on the bank of the river by the school.


Needless to say, it was the talk of the village.  The crocodile, not fully grown, was shot by a local fisherman in a dugout canoe.  Apparently it is legal to shoot them here as the population has recently exploded and they are becoming extremely dangerous to villagers.  While most of my learners have seen a live crocodile in the river at some point, being able to see one up close and touch it was very exciting for them…and for me!

Did Somebody Turn the Heat On???


In a matter of days, it has gone from relatively warm to incredibly hot. I go to bed clammy and wake up in a pool of sweat. Walking to and from school has become a new challenge as well as carrying enough water to replace the amount I am sweating. The wind is hot, the classroom is hot and the water coming out of the tap is hot! While it might seem like I am complaining, I am not. I’d take this over Canadian winters any day. And really, what did I expect? This is Africa!

Thoroughly Thankful


Obviously, this Thanksgiving there won’t be turkey or pumpkin pie.  There won’t be family or friends to share it with.  But there will be a lot of thankfulness.

During Life Skills today we discussed the traditions of Canadian Thanksgiving and the learners were very interested.  They had difficulty comprehending the idea of ‘stuffing’ a turkey and were curious about the wishbone routine.

And in true Giraldi household style, I made the learners say one thing they were thankful for.  Here are some of their comments:

“I am thankful for water.

I am thankful for happy birthdays.

I am thankful for maize and porridge.

I am thankful for God who protect me from the beginning until now.

I am thankful for the breakfast that I ate today.

I am thankful to see the sun.

I am thankful for being able to come to school.

I am thankful for chicken.

I am thankful for my father’s work.

I am thankful for sweets.

I am thankful for cabbage.

I am thankful for onions.

I am thankful for waking up today.

I am thankful to have my own opinion.

I am thankful for Miss Tanya who comes from far to teach us very well.”

Every day here I face the question – why me?  Why was I born into a loving, giving family in a developed country full of opportunity?  I often don’t feel deserving of the life that awaits me at home.  Being here makes me thankful for even the smallest things that I didn’t appreciate before… shoes that fit, sidewalks, hot water and drive thru coffee!  I am able to recognize what a great country Canada is – a place where hard work and dedication can lead to success and where dreams can come true quite regularly.

But specifically, today, I am thankful for…

…Mom, Dad & Jan, Alisa, Kayla and Jamie who call me every single week without fail

…my feet –  that have brought me around the world and given me the chance to experience life and culture outside of Canada

…technology – email, internet and external hard drives (with movies and tv shows to pass the time!)

…my healthy teeth and the yearly dentist appointments my mom dragged me to

… chocolate and coffee and the fact that they can be found anywhere in the world

And I am especially thankful that in 70 days I will be home – where I belong, surrounded by my loving family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!



Images of a Great Week


My class playing cards during periods when a teacher doesn't show up!

Grade 2 girls peeking in the window at me while on break

My brightest grade 8 - Bartleth Simpire - inquisitive, dedicated and a real character!

School and community gathered for an award ceremony. Certificates were given to the highest learners in each grade. I was even awarded a certificate of goodwill!

Grade 3's with their certificates

I created certificates for a bunch hard working learners that didn't score high enough to receive certificates at the ceremony but definitely deserved them!

Grade 6 boys - the one on the right is ALWAYS smiling

Grade 8 boys hanging around at break

Due to Clucky's clever escape tactics, I have decided to let her run free. So, every morning she comes right up to the door for her breakfast! So cute!

Village kids collecting monkey oranges from the tree behind my house

Very popular home-made toy car

Eveline with the fish she caught from the river. Very happy that she will have more than just porridge for lunch and hoped that she wouldn't have to share with her brothers!

Amalia, gr 2, and her brother, fetching water from the river