003 Quick, quick, always quick! (rats!)

Post Title: 003 Quick, quick, always quick! (rats!)
Written Date: 15/04/30
Posted Date: 15/04/30

Biggest problem so far? NO INTERNET AT MY HOST HOME! (?*()$^&) Yeah, Yeah, I know (Lara), First World Problem. But actually, no. Cell access over here is probably better than in the US, and the cell phone services are DEFINITELY easier to use! Internet/Hot Spot capable phone (new), separate line just for internet use (not all that expensive), and the phone works GREAT at the meeting hall and most everywhere else, but not in my home! Sigh … to be continued.

I’m stealing a few minutes Thursday after classes to make a minor update.

TRAINING: The PC has put a LOT of thought into training. We have had a very busy week getting from 2 – 6 hours a day training on cultural differences, safety, relationships, health, and other topics, all with the purpose of making sure we have the maximum chances to be safe, and to understand the culture we are/will be living in. Two hours a day (just in class) in language training, every day. Plus our number one priority – explicitly – is to be able to integrate into the communities we are assigned to. At the moment, that means learning the culture, foods, families, relationships, and other undefinables from the families with whom we live. I’m fortunate in that my host husband and wife/mother and father are very easy to talk to and engaging. Too many learnings for this post, however – that will have to wait.

TRANSPORTATION: We can be picked up by a small “combi” (a 13 seat van) and dropped off in the afternoon, but I’m starting to walk. It gives me 40 minutes, one way, to listen to Afrikaans lessons/tapes on my “thank god I got it” Apple Nano iPod. Walking is king, but between cities “hiking” (hitchhiking) is the way to go, apparently. We don’t do it, yet. Don’t know the country well enough. Time will come…

CULTURE: No way I can capture it all, but a few tidbits that come to mind are: (Bear in mind that NOTHING applies to EVERYBODY – probably not even that statement. I’m only speaking from my own experience and what we have been presented in training.)

  1. Very conservative country and standards. The vast majority of the people (total population about 2.3 million) are Christian (like 95% or something – somebody look it up and post as a comment), with a smattering of other religious faiths. They are very tolerant, however.
  2. Oddly, it’s common for men to have multiple, and sometimes extra-marital relationships. Not OK, but common. Similar to the US in that, but probably more stigma than in the us. However, if the woman has an extramarital relationship, or a “reputation”, it is a very, very serious problem for her.
  3. Death, and killing, are uncomfortably common here. Most of the people we speak with are incensed over the fact that men just kill women, and occasionally the other way around, with seeming casualness over relationships that end, thwarted love, etc. Funerals are a common part of the “social” scene.

FOOD: This is for Beverly in her comment/question. Mostly protein. Vegetables actually more expensive than meat. Meat more expensive than “bap” (maize/corn in a kind of rough polenta that is almost tasteless without gravy) that is almost always white. The people we have met are not starving, but nutrition is an issue to consider. For the most part, Namibia is a fairly well to do country except for an extreme income disparity. It’s uncomfortably large. I’ve arranged to have mostly eggs for breakfast, which reminds me I have to get off NOW to pick up eggs before the combi departs. Can’t walk home tonight, it’s not safe after dark.

More when I can. Patience….

Andy

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

6 thoughts on “003 Quick, quick, always quick! (rats!)

  1. Jeff, thanks for the thoughts. Interestingly, it reminds me of the “older” US, also, but more what I’ve read about than what you experienced. There are no orphanages, however. There are apparently some homeless children that gather in communities in the North in Places, but in most of Namibia they are just absorbed by the community.

  2. Ha! That would be great, Rich! I’m planning to make an “American” dinner for my host family next week, and am working with a staff member to bring home a tuna from Walvis Bay, on the coast about three hours drive west of here. I asked if they had Salmon, but they don’t even know what that is! Oh well.

    Hope your season is going well.

    Andy

  3. Hi Brother. Really enjoying looking over your shoulder. Thanks for the good work. A couple of reactions you might find interesting. RE Namibian culture: In many ways, sounds like the world I grew up in circa 1940 to 1960. One way to describe it, life was more fragile, therefore no so precious. And maybe, because life was shorter, following the rules was more important. So was taking in the orphans. Church sounds a lot like the country churches I visited with dad when he filled in for missing pastors. joining was like being adopted, and I still remember dinner on the grounds fondly. Have trouble imagining you sitting in church for three hours! OH, almost forgot. You may be lucky that the area you are going to speaks Afrikans (sp?). I think that is closely related to German, which I found the easier to learn than any of the other languages I once spoke a little of. Not supposed to write books, so I’ll stop here. Keep the good words coming. Jeff.

  4. Great information. I trust you are blogging partly as a journal for your later perusal. In that case, it might be useful to include proper names of people and locations. Take care.

  5. 90% Christian according to both Namibia travel information and Wikipedia – mostly Luthren
    Thanks for squeezing in the blogs; you have a good storytelling writing style. It is afternoon there, at 8 hours ahead of San Diego. Enjoy your evening meal as I go off to work.

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