24 March 2012, Saturday
“I am many things. No one thing defines me.” – Keeping the Faith
Here is a little bit of everything that has been going on this month…
Last week we had a school fun day. That meant the learners could bring N$2 and dress in funny clothes for the day instead of their school uniforms. A lot of the boys dressed as girls and the girls dressed as boys. The ones who didn’t have funny clothes used chalk and water to paint their faces. One told me that on that day she was white just like me. The teachers were even suppose to get into it. There were several male teachers who dressed in women’s clothes; some dressed in adult size school uniforms; some just wore shorts instead of pants; some women dressed as men; one teacher dressed in white robes with a white turban (don’t even want to know what he was going for). I dressed for the beach. I put my swimsuit top over a shirt, wore shorts over tights, flip flops instead of my heals, braided my hair, wore my sunglasses, and carried a towel around all day. The kids loved it.
The next day was St. Patrick’s Day and my flat was decked out for the occasion, even the giraffes got into it. I had quite a few visitors and it was great to see some people I hadn’t seen since Christmas.
This week I started a new secondary project. One of my colleagues started a soccer program with a group of learners and I volunteered to help out. It’s a program called Play Football Play Fair and it was put together by the Namibian Football Association (NFA) and FIFA. It’s an eleven week program designed for a group of 12 girls and 12 boys. Well we ended up with 9 girls and 15 boys, but I’m still glad they are including the girls. NFA and FIFA even supplied us with a set of soccer balls, cones, 12 yellow bibs and 12 blue bibs, a ball pump, and coaching manuals. Each week there is a 45 minute soccer practice focused on a specific soccer skill and then a 45 minute lesson on a different health or fitness topic each week. We have decided to break it into two meeting each week and do the soccer practice on Mondays and the health lesson on Thursdays. The kids are loving it because they get to use actual soccer balls and soccer equipment but some of the health topics are going to be really great for them to learn as well.
Wednesday the 21st was Independence Day for Namibia meaning no school, so on Tuesday, we had a cultural celebration to prepare for Independence Day. Our school is fortunate enough to have multiple Namibian cultures all in the same school, so on Tuesday, each culture group put together a performance. Myself and the teacher from Zimbabwe were the judges of these cultural performances since neither of us is affiliated with a particular cultural group. It was really great to watch some of my learners perform their traditional songs and dance. We sent three of the groups to a big Independence Day celebration being held in a neighboring town today. They were all very excited and I watched some of them practicing after school yesterday to be ready for their performance today.
I was unable to accompany the group going to the performances because I had another engagement today. Group 35 came to Otjiwarongo today. They have been in Namibia for just over a week now. They are staying in one of the neighboring towns which is much smaller than Otjiwarongo. In the past week, they have started their training session, been assigned their languages, and moved in with their host families. They have a much smaller group than my group, only 22 trainees, and they are in Namibia as health volunteers. The next group of education volunteers will come in July or August. It was a lot of fun to meet with the newest trainees after they have only been in Namibia for a week. They had a lot of the same questions our group had when we got here. I helped them get cell phones today which of course lead to all the questions about how phone “plans” work in Namibia. I think by the time they left we had most of the questions answered and everyone was sending their new phone numbers back to America so they could talk to their friends and family. I can’t believe it, I’m no longer one of the newbies in Namibia. It boggles my mind that I have been here for 7 months now. Time is just flying by, but I’m loving it.
6A on Fun Day
Some more of my kids on Fun Day
The Ovambo Culture Group
The Ovaherero Culture Group
The Damara Culture Group
One of my learners just grooving to the music between performances
A teacher and a learner dancing between performances
Several teachers dancing
The Kavango Culture group
dancing on St. Patty’s Day
the giraffes dressed for the occasion
green snowflakes and shamrocks
the letter I recieved this week from Grandma Swatosh. I don’t know where the other half is but it’s lost in America somewhere. The letter came in a USPS envelop appologizing for the damage to the enclosed document. 😦 But don’t let this discourage you from writing. Every other letter has arrived in tact.