A lot of unexpected things have happened since I last wrote so I figured I’d update again!
Independence Day Weekend was a blast. A bunch of my friends and I traveled up to Ruacana Falls, which are waterfalls right on the border of Angola at the Kunene River. We camped there for the three day weekend and celebrated two of my friends’ birthdays.
On the first night, we camped in the backyard of Lance’s principal who really took care of us for the whole weekend and made it all possible - so so nice of him! Well, it rained over night and we all woke up soaking wet and with 2 inches of water in the bottom of our tents - definitely made me think about investing in a better tent! Once we got to the waterfalls, however, the grouchiness of the morning disappeared. This rainy season is one of the rainiest Namibia has ever seen and the falls were flowing in all of their glory. It was truly breathtaking.
That night, we set up our tents again at a campsite right next to the river (despite being repeatedly warned of potential crocodile attacks) and the rest of the weekend was awesome. We somehow avoided another major rainfall although the sky looked threatening at times and explored the area. We got to walk all the way to the bottom of the waterfalls down 300 soaking wet and slippery steps where it felt like it was pouring rain. We commented how if it really WERE pouring rain, we’d complain but because we were at the bottom of these huge and majestic waterfalls, we loved it!
In honor of Namibian Independence Day, we slaughtered a goat which Lance’s principal bought for us. We let Nick, one of the birthday boys, do the slaughtering. I’ve never seen an animal being slaughtered before and it wasn’t too pretty although none of us had any problem eating it later (and it was fresh and delicious!). I think every meat eater should have to witness an animal slaughter like that because most Americans don’t even think about that when biting into a big juicy steak!
During the trip to the waterfalls, I got what I thought was pink eye from sand blowing into my eye. It turns out my cornea was inflamed and by the time I got back from the weekend, my vision was blurry. Peace Corps told me to come down to the eye doctor in the capital of Windhoek, which is about an 8 hour drive from my site in Omuthiya. In Windhoek, I was put up at a really nice hotel for a few days while my eye healed. It’s back to normal now and my vision is pretty much completely better too. When the doctor told me I was free to go back home to Omuthiya, Peace Corps told me I had to stay in Windhoek. Owamboland, which is the northern part of Namibia where I live, was experiencing serious flooding and the other volunteers in the area were all staying at hotels because the flooding had gotten so bad.
After a few days, Peace Corps decided that mostly all of the volunteers who stay up north in Owamboland needed to be evacuated from the area. My site isn’t too badly flooded so everyone in my family, on my homestead and at my library shouldn’t be too badly effected but Peace Corps is taking precautions in case the flooding gets worse. A lot of schools, where most of the northern volunteers work, are closed to keep kids who can’t swim from drowning while trying to get to school. Of course I’m a little bit disappointed to leave my home, my family and to have to put everything I’ve been doing and wanted to do at the library on hold but safety’s first and I trust Peace Corps’ judgement.
So, for now, until further notice, I’ve moved down south, to a town which is a 13 hour drive from my site. I’m living at another volunteer, Debbie’s, house with 3 other volunteers. This house actually happens to be where my friend Megan lived during her Peace Corps service from 2004-2006 - weird coincidence! Debbie is also an IT volunteer so I’m hoping to shadow her and learn some things about maintaining the computer lab at the library while I’m down here. The other volunteers who are here are going to be helping process and organize a shipment of books that the local Teacher’s Resource Center received. I’m not sure how long we’ll be here but it’s also a good opportunity to travel around down here and see the south, which is an area of the country we probably wouldn’t normally get to see. It’s really different down here than it is up north - it seems like there’s a lot more racial tension and there are completely different cultures and languages than there are up north. The adventure continues!