August was a tumultuous month of exams, trainings, marking, and a very short vacation. With the second term of the school year coming to close, there was a frantic flurry to finish all the marks for the learners' grade sheets. Exams were three weeks long, with one to two papers per day. During this time the learners write and go home around 1PM. Teachers then have the chance to frenziedly mark E V E R Y T H I N G, they have been putting off before turning to the mountain of exam papers. I had some long afternoons in the classroom with a red pen.
I spent a week of August in central Namibia for GTOT (General Training of Trainers) in preparation for the incoming group of education trainees. I applied and was chosen to help train them to be PCVs in what I have come to think is one of the bestest countries. (That’s only my opinion though.) While there, I also worked as a photographer to capture words of inspiration, advice, and thoughts on things to do before departure for Group 46. It was a good week learning the ins and outs of being a trainer, seeing my fellow PCVs from around the country, and getting fed well by the hostel staff.
Wedding things!!! I donned my odelela four times in two weeks and three of those times were for wedding celebrations. I attended the engagement at the house of my foster family for two of the daughters. I hung out with the kids, watched them raise the white flags symbolizing a wedding in the house, ate some good food, and took lots of pictures.
The following week I was back at their house for the wedding. Upon returning from the church, the two newly married couples sat under a big tree, where people made speeches (all in Oshiwambo), sang songs (also all in Oshiwambo) and proceeded to bring gifts (still kinda in Oshiwambo). Lilililili’s of “congratulations” could be heard all around. After walking around the property in a parade, the couples entered the house and then waited to enter the big tent. Only “special” invited guests get to sit in the tent. Guess who got to sit it in the tent… me! They had sparkling juice that they popped at each table, a bathtub full of drinks, and a huge table full of meats, potato salad, green salad, and more. The brides and grooms sat on raised platforms with big white chairs. One of the cakes on display said “No longer single” and I thought it was hilarious. It was a fun night with lots of food and cool drink to go.
My week off school started slow but quickened up by midweek. I spent a few days at school just meandering around the interwebs (and the beginnings of planning a trip to South Africa). Midweek I had baking classes to make cupcakes with the older girls from my homestead. Thursday I headed to the village that I trained at to stay with my host family. While there I attended another wedding that my host sister was in. I got to play with their little ones and help wedding preparations on the day of. On the homestead I got to talk to some of my favorite little girls, get my fill of Matando smiles and eat plenty iyandi straight off the tree. I finished off the week celebrating the volunteer there as she heads back to the good ol’ USA. There was a traditional Wambo meal, teary speeches, and an all-together good time spent with a bunch of volunteers getting ready to depart after completing their service. It’s crazy to think that that will be me in only a little more than a year’s time.
Favorite Day: August 26th
The day of the double wedding! The food was so good… all the girls were dressed to the n i n e s… everyone was so happy! It was a beautiful day with not too hot weather and lots of celebration. I also got to get back to my roots and show off my baking skills by making a double layer vanilla cake with orange marmalade filling and cream cheese frosting as my gift to the couples.
Three things I learned this month:
1. My mosquito net was not put up correctly… it should not be a triangle tent when it has the potential to be a princess canopy!
2. Probably wasn’t smart to bring my favorite sunglasses. (Byebye sunnies.)
3. Don’t eat wedding food with mayonnaise in it. (This isn’t new... I was just lucky enough to learn it again this month.)
We have seedlings in the garden!! Katie, a learner, and myself planted seeds in our garden before we left for the break. I watered it and we finally have some sprouts! Spinach, rape, and swiss chard are on their way!
This month I am thankful for…
1. The volunteers that got me through the transition to living in Namibia. Best wishes to all of them as they head out on their new adventures!
2. A new group of staff coming into the PC Namibia office to take care of all of us volunteers.
3. Cooking lessons that allow me to share my love for food with those around me.
Continue to live in wander,