A day at CBT and on the Homestead
I am two weeks into CBT now and adjusting to life on the homestead. A typical day for me starts at 5:30 in the morning (if I get up on time), waking up tucked inside my mosquito net. If you know me at all, you know that I am NOT a morning person. I have to persuade myself out of bed to heat up water for my daily bucket bath. On the other burner, I boil eggs, which have become a daily source of protein for my meals, along with PB & Nutella sandwiches (until my jar of Nutella runs out, at which point I will be very sad). I pack my breakfast and lunch and get my things together for my bath before finally leaving the confines of my room. Water for my bath is gotten from the tap about 25 feet from my room. I add the small pot of boiled water before heading to the bathing area that is at the back of the compound. It’s still dark normally at this point, so I bathe while watching the sunrise every morning. It’s the best part of getting up that early in the morning. I am out the gate around 6:55 to begin the trek to school. I cross a dry field to my LCFs homestead. We go through the wires of a gate and over another to get out to the road. We are joined by another trainee on the walk and meet up with a third at her house on the main road. If we are lucky, we get a ride from a teacher or the principal on the way to school. If we aren’t lucky, we are footing it all the way to school.
School begins at 7:30 for teachers and 8:00 for learners. On Mondays and Fridays, there is morning assembly at 7:45. Classes last 40 minutes, with 8 periods a day. During the first week, we did observations of 2-3 classes per day, an hour of group language, and one-on-one sessions with our LCF in our free time. Week two, we co-taught (or sometimes full-taught) a lesson or two a day, observed our fellow trainees, and planned lessons with our co-teacher, along with our language lessons. I chose Grade 6 Life Science. Another trainee and I finished up the unit on force and taught the unit on static electricity. At the end of the day we debrief with our support teachers at the school to discuss Namibia school policies, rules, and ways of teaching. We finish up the day around 15:00.
It is normally way too warm to walk home at this time of day through what could be described as dry quicksand in places, with the sun beating down on you. We have a couple options at this point… a) sit in the library (that has air conditioning) at the school until it cools down, b) find a shady place to try to stay cool, or c) walk home and end up looking like sweaty messes by the time we reach home. We normally opt for a) or b). It cools down around 17:00 so we start our 50 minute trek home. I walk past a number of homesteads, many cows, a goat or two and then go over the fence, through the other and back across the dry field.
In the evening, I spend time with my host family, play with the kids on the compound, study language, and do homework. Dinner is cooked on the epata (open fire). We eat between 20:30 and 21:30. Dinner normally consists of rice, macaroni, or oshifima. Oshifima is a thickened porridge that is made from maize meal and mahangu flour. We eat it with dried fish or goat cooked in a sauce. Food is served communally on a blanket and eaten with our hands by flashlight. After dinner we sit and talk (but mostly everyone else talks and I try to figure out what they are saying). I enjoy looking at the stars in the large, dark sky. You can even see the Milky Way here! It’s beautiful! I head to my room around 21:45, to get prepared for the next day, figuring out what I will wear and packing up my backpack. I journal each night about the day, read for a while and set my 20 alarms to ensure I get up at 5:30 the following morning.
CBT has been wonderfully exhausting, slightly frustrating, culturally expanding, and an overall good experience. (Although, it could have been all those things without the deep, deep sand.) I’m glad that I have been able to do CBT, this time around in Peace Corps. Only a few more days here before heading back to Okahandja and being reunited with the rest of the NAMILY!
Dressed up in traditional Wambo clothing with my host sisters and mom.
Pounding mahangu with my host family.
Part of my host family in Omusheshe!