Ame omuliyambi wo Peace Corps!
I’ve been in training for a little over a week now. We have morning assembly thrice a week at 7:30, led by our trusty LCFs (Language and Cross Cultural Facilitators). We gather to sing the Namibian National Anthem, American National Anthem, African Union Anthem, and a few songs in local languages. Training begins at 8:00 and ends at 16:30 (I’m trying to get used to the 24-hour clock still). We have medical, technical, language, cross-cultural and safety sessions throughout the day that are one to two hours long. My favorite part of the day though, TEA BREAK! Which has led me to ponder why America does not have tea breaks? They really give you that pick-me-up needed to get through a long day. If I ever become president, tea breaks will be a thing. Be warned. At the end of day, I will sometimes try to run to the local bar to get on the wi-fi for a hot minute, but I’m normally too tired. The thought of walking the opposite direction from home to get on the Internet, really helps you contemplate whether you REALLY want the internet that badly.
Language is going pretty well I think. We have now learned how to greet in all times of the day (Wa lele po meimei?), how to introduce ourselves (Edina lange o Clarice), and how to say why we are in Namibia. So if that title was puzzling you, look no further. In Oshikwanyama “Ame omuliyambi wo Peace Corps,” translates to “I am here with Peace Corps.” It takes some time like any language does, but I’m think I’m starting to get the hang of it. Then again, we’ve only had three language sessions so far.
Yesterday, we had a traditional cooking day, where we cooked foods from the regions our languages come from. Chickens and goats were slaughtered, host families came to help with preparations, and I ate my first Mopani worm. Yep, you read that right I ate a grub. I can say without a doubt that I did not have the same experience as Simba in The Lion King, and it wasn’t “slimy, yet satisfying.” More like super chewy, but I didn’t spit it out. I’m not a quitter, but it was a bit of a struggle and I might even give it another chance in the future. I may have eaten that worm, but I was less adventurous than most, skipping the smiling goat (goat’s head), all innards, and the sour milk. The worm was going out of my comfort zone (and no-gag zone) and I didn’t want to push it. I did however eat A LOT of bread and a fat cake. Bread is life, no matter where I go.
Food is something I have always struggled with and have gotten slightly better at eating in my adult life. I will say that I have been eating a lot of foods that I normally wouldn’t choose. I can now say that I have been eating beets, sweet potatoes, peanut butter and lots of lamb, which are not things that I ate in the states. In two years, maybe I’ll be eating Mopani worms like a pro… but that’s a very big maybe.