Sunday, November 26, 2006


Which means sorry in Oshiwambo. Sorry for not posting in the past two months. Things have been even busier than usual lately, especially with grad school applications being due soon (though I am almost done now- woo hoo!). Also my school had no electricity for the past four months (but its back on now- woo hoo again!) so I've had limited internet access.
Now I am in my last week and things are winding down. Teaching is over and all thats left is a few exams, packing up my house, and saying goodbye. I'm very sad, and getting sadder by the minute, but I'm also excited for what is coming up- a road trip through South Africa, seeing all my loved ones at home, snowboarding in Colorado, a trip to SoCal, finding som work in Atlanta, and finally grad school.
Meanwhile I"ll work on putting some photos of the last few months up, and I'm sure I'll write posts on our trip through South Africa. Thanks everyone for reading the blog and who knows, maybe I'll keep it going in the states

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Wildebeest in the setting sun

Zebras at a waterhole

Nicola, Sinead and me beside a large termite mound

With Sinead's dad in one of my classes

Saturday, September 30, 2006


Sinead's dad and sister came out for a lightning visit (5 days). We took them to Etosha which was lovely, and then they came and visited classes at both of our schools. It was great to see them and made both of us homesick. Here is one of our prime sitings at Etosha, an elephant at sunset.
Giraffes at a water hole- we saw many more animals hanging around like this than we did earlier in the year.

A pretty sight- this guy needs a beard trim more than I do.
The dog at Sinead's mission just had puppies. We wanted one, but decided it would be too crazy.

We've been back at school for a month now, and time is really flying away. I only have one week left with my tenth grade classes, and two days of that will be half days because we are celebrating both Namibian Child Day and International Teachers Day next week. I like holidays, but this is overkill. I hope they are ready, but I know most of them are not, so I will just have to cross my fingers and hope they get lucky. I am not so worried about English, but Maths is most likely going to be a disaster. About a week ago I asked my maths class to raise their hands if they cared about passing the maths exam. About a third of the hands went up. One girl said "Sir, I do care about English". I think the problem is that they know they only need to pass a certain number of subjects to get in to grade 11, so they are only working in the subjects they think they can pass. That is smart in some ways, but maths is needed for most good careers, so this way they are really limiting their options.

The electricity is out at my school, so I can't use the internet very often. When I do it is a mad two hour sprint trying to send e-mails and sort out grad school applications in Oshakati on a slow computer, so that is why the blog is a little crummy right now.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Epic Journey Part 1

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Epic Journey Part 2

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sinead in the village. Doesn't she look great?

The other day we went out for a walk around my village around sunset. As we rounded a corner we heard the sound of drumming. We followed the sound and found a large group of girls (and a few boys) drumming and dancing. It was really fun to watch, and Sinead even clapped along with the rhythms, but that was beyond me. I did take a few movies with my camera though. They look funny since there is no sound and it seems disjointed, but they are still fun to watch. I wish I could post them here.
Some of the dances were really amazing, full of crazy jumping and hip movements. Sinead and I tried to do a few of them after we went home- she succeeded much better than I did.
A few of Sinead's student's asked me to help them with chemistry- I don't know much chemistry, but I think I helped them out a little bit.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Exam Tedium

We are in the midst of exams again here at Oluvango, but instead of madness it is just kind of boring. That is because instead of being packed into one week the exams have been spread out over almost four. This is much too long, since there are only nine exams, and on many days the learners don't have one, but teachers are not allowed to teach (and the learners wouldn't listen anyway, especially in the classes where the exam has already been taken) so most of the time everyone is just sitting around studying (occasionally) or killing time (much more often). Most learners don't come to school on the days when they don't have exams, and I can't really blame them. The whole thing is a huge waste of time, especially for the learners, who are missing out on a few weeks of instruction that could really help them out. I have to admit, though, that I don't mind that much, because instead of teaching all I have to do is supervise classes and mark exams, which is much easier (if also less interesting) than teaching. All in all, though, I think I would have been happier if they had shaved off one week.

Things aren't all boring here though. Last weekend we went to an Oshikuuki (cake) party in honor of the retirement of the mother of one of Sinead's colleagues, Ms. Okongo. It was a long affair, with lots of speeches in Oshiwambo, but it also turned out to be a lot of fun. We were able to see Ms. Okongo's whole family together, and they are a really nice group of people. Her mother has 11 brothers and sisters, most of whom were there, and they all lined up in order of age and sang a song. Her mother, who is in her mid-nineties, was also there, and looked in fabulous shape. She was standing for a good bit of the party and even sang and danced a little. True to its name the party included an American supermarket style cake, on which they fit an amazing 60 candles, but they also served up some great goat and potato salad, which I was very happy about. I really love traditional food when I have the chance to eat it.

Another, sadder cultural event came last week when the grandfather of my principal died. He was the headman (kind of like a chief) of my village, so he was a very important figure. All of the teachers at my school, as well as Sinead and I, went over the next day for what is called a compassionate visit. We went into the family compound and shook hands with everyone present, which took quite a while. Then we sat in a circle and sang hymns in Oshiwambo for about thirty minutes. After this our group from the school was invited to another part of the compound where we were offered beer, soft drinks, goat meat, and oshifema (millet porridge). I thought it was strange that after someone died the family would feed everyone who visited. A colleauge told me the next day that this was part of the tradition of Owambo hospitality, but now that the death rate is so high it is causing problems because families are running out of money for things like the coffin or supporting orphans. The death rate is rising because of the AIDS epidemic. The headman was a very old man, which is a rarity these days. Most funerals are for young or middle aged people unfortunately.