So, I spent the last week travelling to both my future home, as well as my shopping town. It was an inconvenient time to visit a school, considering all of the learners were gone for school holiday, and most of the teachers were stressed about finishing the marking of their exams. It was unfortunate that I was unable to really see what my school will be like. I came to my village with a very negative view. I had been travelling on a gravel road for the last hour and a half, only passing through two tiny villages. I was realizing that it would take me that long any time I wished to purchase anything, from groceries to clothes, to chocolate!
I did not fully appreciate how amazing my site is until after I got back. My school is situated 90 kilometers from the town of Omaruru. The village consists of the school and a few houses scattered around. There is no store, no shebeen (haphazardly constructed drinking establishment, usually made of scraps of metal and anything else that can be found. It is definitely not legal, but is usually the place to go for most people), no nothing.
Which really bummed me out. How was I supposed to live without anything!? I would have to plan a month in advance, when I got the opportunity to go to town. I don’t want to say that I did not enjoy any of my visit. The school itself is in amazing condition. They were able to fix all the damage a few years ago, which is a point of pride for my principal. Mrs. Mbai came to my school, Otjiperongo Junior Secondary School, five years ago. In those five years, she has increased both the learner’s scores, and also renovated the buildings and tightened ship, so to say.
I will have my own classroom, which I am taking over from a past volunteer. Having your own classroom is not always a possibility in Namibian schools. Schools are usually too small, and do not have enough resources (classrooms, books, desks) for everyone. My school actually has too much space, and they are looking to invite more learners in the future.
I will be teaching English to Grades 8 through 10. They would like me to also teach Basic Information Science, which is a lot like library skills, or PE. I’m not sure which one I would prefer. I will also be taking over the library, which is very exciting. My first goal is to get more books. We are fortunate to actually have a library, which consists of multiple rooms and the option to expand. The one thing that I always wanted to work on while here was a library, and now I get that chance!
My house is also amazing. It’s funny how much my opinion of the quality of things has changed. When I first came to the country, I was struck by how run down everything looked. But, now I see a different way of life. Of course this country is not as wealthy as America. Like, at the house I am staying at during training, I am spoiled. I have my own room, with walls and windows that prevent bugs from getting in. There is running water and electricity. My house in Otjiperongo is also like this. I will have a living room, full kitchen, bathroom with a shower (no more bucket baths, even though there is no hot water), and 2 bedrooms! I will be sharing the house with another teacher until December, when she will leave and it will be all for myself.
One of my favorite things about the site is that there are cows, everywhere! I guess you would call them free range. Meaning they can meander pretty much anywhere they want. No fences for them. If they want to walk right by my house, they can. Same goes for the goats. I was sitting on my porch (yup, I have one of those as well!), and spent a good two hours just watching the animals. It was great.
The silence will take some getting used to. I love the quiet, but it is very quiet. Granted, I was there when there were no kids around. I’m sure that in a few months I will be complaining about how loud it always is!
I guess the phrase I am using right now about my site is ‘cautiously optimistic’. It is so beautiful and serene there, but I am afraid I may go a bit stir crazy. We’ll see. I’m going to make the best of it, any way it turns out.
Here are some pictures of my life for the next two years.