We made it! All 38 of us were officially sworn in as Peace Corps volunteers by the US Ambassador to Namibia. The ceremony was very formal and official, with each new speaker greeting all of the honored guests (even those in absentia). We opened by singing our anthems – the African Union, Namibian, and US anthems. There were speeches by the PC Director, the Ambassador, our training Manager, the Director of Education for our region, and other PC staff. There was an awesome singing group, a youth choir that was really, really talented. They put our singing to shame – we sang one of our morning PST songs for everyone’s enjoyment (and entertainment). One of my favorite things was the language speeches – you could tell the audience was impressed by each language as they oohed and aahed after every sentence! I gave part of the Afrikaans speech and was very nervous, but it went well.
As it turned out, the NBC people (Namibian Broadcasting Corporation) arrived late and got only the last 10 minutes of the ceremony on tape. So they interviewed someone from the SEED group (business) and someone from the SUPEP group (education), and they picked me from the SUPEP group to be interviewed! They asked why I did Peace Corps, what I thought of Namibia, and what I hoped to learn in the next few years. I’m not even sure exactly what I said, it was hard to think with a camera pointing at me, but I hope I made sense!
After swearing in a bunch of people left directly for their sites. We didn’t leave until Friday morning, so we went out for milkshakes with our group one more time. Then we spent all evening packing! Our host mom was sad to see us go, and asked us to keep in touch. Which brings us to…
First few days in Tsumeb
In order of appearance, the frustrations of the day:
- African time
- The “everything will fit” philosophy (applied to 9 people, 5 of whom have three suitcases each, in one van)
- African time
- Failure to EFFICIENTLY drop bags and people off at home
- Failure to listen to the Americans’ suggestions for efficiency
- Realization that 5 suitcases of stuff does not fit in a single wardrobe
- Stifling heat
- Experiencing the inconvenience of grocery shopping without a car (10-15 minute walk from the store)
- Constantly dirty feet on constantly dirty cement floors
- Shower doors that don’t close, necessitating a bucket bath instead
- Noticing the dirt still clinging to me AFTER the bucket bath
- Broken fan (stifling heat)
- Got a fan and pillows
- Cleaned things
- Hung out with other volunteers at the pool
- Great dinner
- Alone time with Dylan
- Got a phone call from home first thing in the morning – middle of the night US time. My grandpa, who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, just passed away.
- What can I do? I was on the way to the grocery store at the time, so to the grocery store I went.
- Did laundry.
- Cooked some potato soup (didn’t turn out too well)
- Went to church and finally met the Shalleys whom we’ve heard so much about!
- Had dessert and chatted with Shalleys after church. They have been here almost 30 years!
- Cold shower to try to cool off (was hot again the second I turned the water off)
- Early to bed…
- …Early to rise.
- Found an Egyptian bug in our Namibian kitchen. Hopefully there’s only one.
- Picked up at 6:30 to come to school.
- The other teachers here are super friendly and I enjoyed greeting all of them!
- I was introduced to several classes, then brought to the computer lab to enjoy internet, which is where I am right now. Couldn’t ask for anything more!