20 November 2009

One Love Scholarship

I have established the "One Love Scholarship" in Mangetti and want your help. The goal of this scholarship is to send one learner from Mangetti Combined School to senior secondary school (grades 11 and 12).

Mangetti Combined only goes up to grade 10, so the learners have to leave the bush to go to senior secondary school in town. Unfortunately, this means much higher school fees than most families in Mangetti can afford.

The average household income in Mangetti is 3 US Dollars per day. Yes, I said household and yes, I said 3 dollars per day! This is not even enough money to provide 1 meal a day for a family, as many rely on help from extended relatives. Needless to say, the average senior secondary school fees of 350 US Dollars is far more than they can afford.

In Namibia, passing grade 10 is a significant accomplishment, but in order to open doors of opportunity, they must pass grade 12. The people of Mangetti get neglected enough as it is, so we'd like to keep that door of opportunity open for at least one learner per year. This is where YOU come in! A donation of $10, $20 or $50 can provide a serious lift in a young Namibian's life. Larger donations are accepted also, but only if you're willing and able. If we can put together donations to equal $350, we can send a promising learner from Mangetti to grade 11 and 12! Thank you, in advance, for supporting international education, a key component of achieving world peace. :)

You can donate on my site by clicking on the "DONATE" icon.

FYI: The money for senior secondary school covers school development funds, hostel fees, stationary fees, uniform fees and other school fees that vary from school to school. Rest assured that every penny you donate will be used towards their education. The winner of the scholarship will be personally selected in mid-December when we find out the grade 10 results.
Here are photos of the 3 Finalists: Aloysia, Garu and Kamina. These aren't the best photos, I apologize.
ALOYSIA- in the front, looking at the camera
This was taken when she was helping create the library.

GARU-in the front in the orange trousers
Garu is one of my library assistants.
KAMINA-sitting next to me
This was taken when he won dinner at my hut for scoring the highest on the math exam in grade 10.

22 October 2009

Farewell Grade 10 :(

WHOA! It's really been 4 months since I posted?? Crazy! My bad, y'all. I don't get a whole lot of time to type up blog entries from the hut and then post them when I have Internet access. I hope you can understand. I hope to write more soon and very soon about a wide array of experiences and stories, but I wanted to share my "farewell" letter that I wrote for Grade 10. I will say goodbye to them on Monday as they take their last exam (ENGLISH!!). Before the exams began, I wrote them this letter with memories of each learner. Before I could even start reading it to them, I was in tears. I was real unsure of how they'd react (Namibian men don't really express emotions like that), but after the class they sang me a beautiful song that they made up for me, ABOUT me. I wish I could post that video on here, but the Internet connection is way too slow in Namibia to do things like that. The main part of the song went something like this: "Mr. Butler, our teacher, we are sharing love together. Carry on, bye bye, carry on." Seriously, I wish you could see this video. When I get back to the US, I'll post it. Anyways, here is the letter. There are some inside jokes that only my learners will understand, but I have included a "glossary" at the end of the letter to help you better understand some of the things. I just wanted to share a bit of what these learners have meant to me (and this letter hardly covers all that I've gained from this year, just snippets).

Dear Grade 10,

As our time together comes to an end, I want to take a moment to reflect on what has been the most memorable year of my life. I remember that morning in January at assembly looking towards the Grade 10 lines and thinking, “Wow! I hope those boys (Pius and Muha) don’t beat me because they are much bigger than I am!” I remember Paulus and Joseph taking charge in the library sawing logs, proudly helping create the Kalihonda Library. I remember wondering if Hertha and Roise would ever speak to me, then finding out they are very sweet young women, just a little shy. I remember talks with Beatha and younger learners as we walked that side* for lunch when I lived at the guest house. I remember teaching Daniel the “Soulja Boy” dance in the guest house when he and the boys came to cut my hair. I remember Elias teaching me what Tate Buti* is really singing about in all his songs. NAUGHTY! I remember Gotfriead going out into the bush with Thomas and I to cut down trees for my house. That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done! I remember Taapopi not saying much but always getting high marks and occasionally flashing his radiant smile. I remember feeling very honoured when Jonnas wrote about me in this term 1 English question paper*. I remember Auleria and friends coming to me protesting their required hair cut. Even though they had to cut their hair, I’m proud of her for speaking her mind. I remember all the sweet SMSes that Miss Lindsey and I received from Naironga while on holiday in Swakopmund. I remember hanging out in the Otara-tara* with Epimakus and friends trying to teach me Rukwangali. I remember Plasidius teaching me Rukwangali every day in class. “Awe sir! Na Na Na!”* I remember my weekend in Rundu with Garu and Kamina; at Kavango River Lodge, Garu enjoying his jacket potato* and Kamina wandering all around taking photos. I remember Uyepa, even though failing the first 2 terms, working harder than anyone else in term 3. I remember Aloysia, the youngest in the class and the only girl to pass term 2, working hard and actively participating in a class dominated by boys. I remember watching Martha on the netball field and looking at the photos of little Martha in the office.

Thank you for all the memories Grade 10. I will never ever forget you. As the exams begin, know that I believe in you. I believed in you when you were scared of me because you thought I was a Boer*. I believed in you when we decided to build the library. I believed in you when you stood up against corporal punishment. I will always believe in you. Believe in yourself, work hard, treat others with respect and good things will happen in your life. Now go knock out that exam, Hitman*!!

One Love,

Mr. James


That side--This is what we say when you refer to anything, and i mean anything, that is fairly far away. Example: "Where is the store?" "It's that side." (usually accompanied with snapping and pointing with your finger in the general direction)

Tate Buti--A Namibian musician who sings many songs in one of the local languages about promiscuity and degradation. Instead of dirty, Namibians use the word "naughty" and I love it!

Jonnas' question paper--First, a "question paper" is another word for exam. Their writing prompt was to write about their hero and he wrote about me for coming into the bush to teach them even though there was no electricity, etc. :)

Otara-tara--This is kind of like the sitting room, or family room, in a homestead full of huts. Ours is pretty big and made strictly out of mahangu stalks. We have a fire in the Otara-tara and sit around it talking, laughing and teaching/learning Rukwangali.

Awe. Na Na Na.--Awe is pronounced "Ah-way" and Na Na Na is just like it looks. They use these expressions when they don't like something or they disagree with something or just to express general discontent with a situation. They use it a lot in my class, if we're playing a game and they think I cheated them out of points or something. It's hilarious. And when I use it in return, they all think it's hilarious. I like to use it in town when someone is trying to sell me something and I think it's too expensive. The reactions are priceless.

Jacket potato--baked potato. Garu proclaimed while eating his first jacket potato. "I'm dying gradually" because he loved it so much. So many amazing moments at that dinner. I'll write more about it another time.

Boer--another term for Afrikaaner. My learners recently confessed to me that most of them were afraid of me at the start of the year because they thought I was a Boer and the only thing they know of Boer's is that they treat blacks like garbage. It's really, really sad. Many of my learners' families live on farms around Mangetti and it really has a colonial era feel to it. So sad.

Hitman--World boxing champion from Namibia. I made the analogy that we were like Hitman who got knocked down in the second round because we did terribly on term 2 exams, but that we would get up and knock out the exams in term 3. They liked it. They are super competitive and I have a bit of that in me, myself, so it worked out nicely. :)

Thanks for reading. That ended up being a lot longer than I expected. Hope you enjoyed!


06 June 2009

Holiday, Hut and Library (with more to come)

For the sake of time, I have to make an abbreviated post but I will write more at a later date...

For stories about my holiday adventure in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe with some amazing pictures, check out Lindsey's blog:

For pictures of my new home (mud hut) and our library that is finally finished, check out the following link:



17 April 2009


As you can see, I’m sticking with the Bob Marley theme for this entry as well. Keep reading and you’ll find out why.

I have decided to move out of my palatial, very western, comfortable guest house in Mangetti. I was thinking about moving for several reasons, but this week one of those reasons came to the forefront of my attention: racism.

Namibia is a very young country (19 years of independence after enduring the colonialization era) and inequality between blacks and whites still exists, especially in the bush. I noticed the type of attitude that Afrikaaners in the village (and some visitors) have towards the black community members and it really bothered me. It’s not really an ‘in your face’ discrimination, but there is a feeling of superiority that some of the whites have towards the blacks. I saw it when I arrived and I continue to see it daily. I have been thinking of ways to approach this situation with the Afrikaaners in the community (owners of the guest house where I’m living), but I wanted to be clear and have concrete examples of what I was speaking about.

Then yesterday I was approached by the owner of the guest house about my position in the house. He brought up the fact that I invite some colleagues to the house nightly to watch the soapy (soap opera). He asked that I not invite my colleagues over when there are other people (mostly white Afrikaaners) staying in the guest house. This gave me the perfect opportunity to inquire about my suspicions so I asked, “Why?”

He went on to tell me that not all people are comfortable with black people and that he wanted to avoid any of those situations. As you can imagine, I was burning up inside at this point. I told him that’s called racism and is not acceptable in this country, or anywhere in the world for that matter. He brought up several more points including that’s how he was raised and that it’s a business and he wants to give his guests a peaceful stay in the guest house. I countered with, “I don’t care if that’s how you were raised, it’s not fair or just” and then asked “Would it be a problem if I was inviting Afrikaaners over?” to which he responded, “Probably not.”

I stewed over this conversation for awhile and spoke with my principal about it. I decided that I needed to speak more with the owner of the guest house about this situation so I went to his house that night. I told him that it was his guest house and that I couldn’t tell him how to run it, but if he was honestly going to stand his ground about not letting me have visitors while other people were staying at the guest house (because of the level of discomfort the guests might get from seeing black people) that I was moving out. We talked for about 45 minutes about the issue of racism in Namibia, the US and throughout the world. He, himself, said he has no problem with black people, but I argued that not standing up for the black people in this community was just as racist as the people who come to Mangetti and feel discomfort around my colleagues. Passive racism is similar to active racism in that it’s still racism!

His main argument was that he did not want to disrespect his superiors who might come to the guest house and feel uncomfortable with my visitors (who are only there for 1 hour a night as it is). He referenced the Bible ALOT (I will spare details about that), especially when talking about respecting your superiors at all times. I asked, “Even when your superior is telling you to do something immoral?” and he responded “yes.”

His decision remained the same about the visitors, so I told him that I could not live in a house where I had to follow a rule that was laced with racism. As a result, within the month, I will move from my comfortable duds at the guest house. I will say “Mbaa” (Rukwangali for “bye”) to my comfortable bed, electricity, cold food and drinks, hot showers, TV and ample space and move into a mud hut. I am actually in the process of talking with community members and learners who are going to help me build my own mud hut by the school closer to the community.

I realize that my stance in this situation did not cause a change in the owner’s policy, but I do know that I brought up their racist attitudes and beliefs. I don’t think that happens very often with them. Therefore, I am happy to have at least brought it to their attention and maybe, just maybe, some change in their attitude will come from our conversations and my moving out. I also know that the community will not be happy with them when they hear why I am moving out, so there is a chance their attitudes and beliefs could be brought to their attention even more from community members.

It’s really hard to address something that has been etched into the way of life, here in Namibia, for generations and generations. But I felt I had to “get up, stand up” for what was right. Racism will not end in Mangetti with my move, and I fully realize that, but a stance needed to be made.


09 April 2009

The "One Love" Phenomenon

Greetings from Namibia at the beginning of a long Easter weekend. I'm getting ready to go camping at Ngepi Camp in the Caprivi Strip (the arm looking thing of Namibia). We're camping right on the river and will get to swim in the river in a cage that protects us from the crocs! Pretty cool, huh? :)



I do want to share a story from my beautiful village of Mangetti...

It's been 3 months since I moved into the most amazing place in the world, Mangetti. It seems like the time has flown by and at the same time, it feels like I've been here forever. The one constant struggle for me has been communication and connecting with my learners and people throughout the village. My learners speak decent English, but conversations are very challenging for them to uphold. The people in the community barely speak any English and I don't speak much Rukwangali.

I am a very social person, so you can see how this was a battle for me. I started ending class by saying "One Love" and showing them the ASL sign for "I love you." I wanted a way to connect with the learners through some type of sign (they do hand signs for their favorite artists all the time) and to let them know that I love them. I taught them what the sign meant and we listened to Bob Marley, "One Love" and soon all of my learners were responding with "One Love" at the end of class flashing me the "I love you" sign.

Walking through the village, I would hear my learners yell across the soccer field, school grounds or the location. "ONE LOVE, SIR!" while showing me the "I love you" sign. This started to spread throughout the younger grades as they saw the older kids doing it. Then it became an all school thing at one Monday morning assembly a few weeks ago. I brought a soccer ball from the States to give to the school and my principal thought it was such a nice gesture that he wanted to have an official presentation of the ball to the school during assembly. He asked me to say a few words at the end of the presentation and after my talk, I ended with "One Love" and the sign. All of my learners and even some of the younger kids responded. My principal, looking curious, asked what that sign meant so I told him and the whole school about the "I love you" sign. He then awkwardly made the "I love you" sign and showed it to me saying, "Oh, we love you too, Mr. James." If you knew my principal, you would know that this was the cutest thing in the world. He is the kindest, most easy going person I've ever met. So ever since that morning, all of the learners say "One Love" to me with the sign, even the 5 year olds who don't speak any English at all. It's even spreading to members of the community as some of them say it to me now with the sign.

It may seem silly to some, but it feels amazing to me because I feel like I am finally connecting with the village. It's only taken me 3 long months, but I love this connection.

Check out this picture of a young learner's shirt. He drew pictures of soccer players on the back of his shirt. You'll see that one of the players is making the "I love you" sign. :)


07 March 2009


Special shout out to Mr. Lahman’s class at R.S. Kellis High School in Arizona. Y’all are amazing individuals and your teacher is inspiring to all.

The past 2 months have blown my eyes and mind wide open. It is challenging to think of how to put it all into words. I feel like I have been trying to write this post for about 3 weeks now; trying to properly express what I’m feeling over here in Namibia.

The one common lesson that I feel myself learning over and over is that of “acceptance.” I find myself learning this lesson from my learners, my colleagues, people in the community and throughout the whole country.

As I wrote before, most of the learners live in Mangetti in mud huts far away from their families (20-90K). They are responsible for everything in their lives while in Mangetti. It blows my mind to think of 10 year olds being completely self-sufficient, going to school and trying their best to improve their lives. I never hear a learner gripe about their responsibilities that are astronomically greater than any child I've ever encountered. They just do it. They accept their life situation and make the best of it knowing that that's just what they have to do. I know that my learners understand that in order to improve their situation they need to do the best they can in school. Education is incredibly key to their future and I am humbled to be a part of it.

I have shared some amazing conversations with colleagues about their schooling. They were all schooling during colonial times in Namibia. To say that I am grateful for my education in the US is an incredible understatement. Imagine teachers walking around with huge sticks ready to wail on you for a wrong answer. Imagine being so scared that all you ever do is memorize material instead of actually trying to process information and learn something. I have so much respect for my colleagues that they made it through school during such a trying time. But it all comes back to "acceptance." They accepted their life situation and did their best in those moments to succeed and overcame serious obstacles.

Observing Namibians in Mangetti and throughout the country, I see the most beautiful souls I've ever seen. Some may not have running water, electricity or ready access to food. Alot of Namibians do not have transportation to get food, run errands or visit family and friends. Hitchhiking is a way of life in Namibia. It is a beautiful thing, but definitely requires a great deal of patience and ACCEPTANCE. It is interesting to think about your day's plans revolving on whether or not you can find a hike. Like I said, sometimes these plans revolve around getting food for their family. I see an unbelievable amount of acceptance in this. They do what they have to do, when they are able and enjoy life all the while.

It definitely took some adjusting, but I am so grateful for this particular lesson that I am learning on a daily basis. My life is so much more peaceful. When I wake up and there is no water to shower, my day proceeds just as it would with a shower (maybe just a little smellier). :) When I can't get a hike back to my village at the time I had expected, I patiently wait for hours. I accept my situation by breathing and seeing the beauty that constantly surrounds me.

I cannot say that I have mastered this, but it is something that I am working on daily. I still get frustrated, I still get anxious, but overall I am at peace with life and whatever it throws at me. I am really excited to take this lesson back home to the US with me when that time comes.

Thanks for listening. I hope I've been able to give you a glimpse into this amazing lesson that I am learning.

Peace be with you all.

The beautiful clouds in northern Namibia. This picture was taken while riding in the back of a truck last week. It was awesome!

02 March 2009

New Pics

I will post a new update in the next week or so, but for now enjoy some new pictures.


One Love.

22 February 2009

Types of Books

I appreciate everyone's support for the first ever Mangetti School Library. You can send books anywhere from early childhood books to early chapter books. The learners are not very advanced in their English, but chapter books would be good for my Grade 8-10 learners. Books like Harry Potter would be awesome and anything below that reading level. Really any type of literature is better than no literature. THANK YOU ALL!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!

04 February 2009

Mangetti...HELP WANTED

I get lost in it every day...

I wrote in my last entry that I would keep you posted on ways in which you can help the learners of Mangetti Combined School. Well, the time has come for the first request for help. :)

I am pleased to announce that today, I began construction and the setting up of the very first school library at Mangetti CS. My amazing principal and I dug out some OLD wooden cupboards and fairly shoddy wood from one of the old restrooms in the school today. Let me just say that it's a good thing we had to get a tetanus shot. I wish I would have taken a picture of this old bathroom (even though it wouldn't have quite captured the amazing aroma). There were broken window panes, old rusty tin roof portions and buried in the were the gems that were going to serve as the starting block to our library. Once we dug out all the random pieces of wood and falling apart shelves, I had my Grade 10 learners help me clean them and move them into one of the new classrooms which I requested to be used as the school library. Today was just day 1, so there is a lot of work to be done yet, but we made some good progress today. This is going to be the greatest recycled, earthy library in the world! We were measuring, sawing, and nailing with a rock (yeah, we didn't have a hammer). Over the next couple days, we are going to do some work with some tree trunks and thick branches that are gathered by our school to make more shelving. It's going to be awesome!
Elias and Uyepa building a bookshelf. I told you we used a rock as a hammer.

We have some books. SOME. Let's just say that we don't have enough for each of our 363 learners. That is where YOU come into play. :)

There are two ways you can help:

1) You can send books and/or magazines, or find an organization that would be willing to send them. PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL (keepaustinweird@yahoo.com) WHEN YOU SEND BOOKS SO I CAN HAVE MY PRINCIPAL CHECK HIS PO BOX FOR THE PACKAGE. My newly updated address is:

James Butler
c/o Kalihonda Markus Sipapo
PO Box 2413

**FYI**If you do decide to send some books, it is wise to write "Jesus References" on the box. I'm serious. The post office sees that a package is from the USA and they get curious and have a look and if they like what they see, they sometimes help themselves. We were told that when there are Bible verses, Holy Crosses, Praise Jesus references, etc. they don't mess with it. I'm being completely serious here, but don't let it discourage you from sending books. I'm just passing along a helpful hint.

2) You can make a monetary donation on my website, which I will then order books and other supplies for the school. Here is the list of supplies that I am raising money for:

Books and/or Magazines, Exercise Books (what they write their notes in...not all of the learners have these and this is basically how they learn), Pens, Pencils, Calculators, Textbooks, Dictionaries, Files, Rulers, Erasers and Posters

I have set a goal of raising $2,000 for Mangetti Combined School. If you send a box of books, I will count that towards the goal. The learners are amazing and definitely deserve the library and supplies to get them through this year and beyond. Please pass this website along to anyone who might want to help.

You are all in my thoughts and in my spirit here in Mangetti. Just like the motto of Mangetti Combined School says, "Together We Can Make a Change."

I was only able to upload a few new pictures. Enjoy!

24 January 2009


Where do I begin?? I have so many stories and random tidbits of information to share about my first week that I surely will not be able to share it all now. When I first arrived to Mangetti (which is 60km) from the tar road, we pulled onto the school grounds and stopped right in front of one of the school buildings which had the name of the school and it's motto painted on it. I stepped out of the bus which was blaring my new favorite song, "Kaanave" by Namibian artist Tate Buti and glanced up at the building and felt instantly at home. MANGETTI COMBINED SCHOOL it read in big bold letters. "TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE" was painted amongst the school logo. Instantly. At that moment. I was home. "Are you serious??" I thought. After all, I do kind of have a Gandhi, "Be the change" tattoo on my left wrist. This was amazing. I then met some of the teachers and the principal, who were all very sweet and welcoming. The principal then called on one of the elders in the community to go on a tour of the village with me and show me my living arrangements. When we arrived at my new home, I was greeted by about 10 Afrikaaners who helped me unload my bags from the bus and put my bags into my room. Now when I arrived, I expected to be living in Teacher Housing on school grounds, but the roof is not on the house yet, so my principal arranged for me to stay in the guest house of the NDC Manager. Bottom line, it's REALLY nice. The room that I am staying in, I was informed, is the room that the regional presidents stay in when they come through Mangetti. My friends Katie and Alana had teased me about being treated like a king when I got to my village because it was so far out in the bush and they've never had any type of volunteer, but this was crazy! There are several homes in the village that are concrete and more modern, but the majority of the homes are mud huts. I really thought I was going to live in a mud hut, but I am grateful for the hospitality so I can't complain.

The first week of school flew by! I am teaching Grade 8, 9 and 10 Math and Grade 10 English. The learners are definitely still getting used to having an American teacher and the community is slowly adjusting to having me around, but I am spending a lot of time in "The Location" and speaking as much Rukwangali as I know. "The Location" is the part of the village with all of the mud huts. You can see The Location in some of my pictures in the link below. I definitely have a lot of work to do with my learners. They are probably on 3rd grade level (according to US standards) in Math and English, and that might be a bit high. The principal is amazing and super friendly, but is definitely relying on me a lot to help the colleagues because of my teaching experience. He has referred to me as an "expert" on several occasions which I find flattering and humorous at the same time.

The highlight of the first week has been my afternoon runs with the village children. After afternoon study (which ends at 5pm), I start running through the location and waving kids along to run with me. We run all through the location, up the gravel road (mind you, they are all running barefoot), through some cattle farm roads and the soccer field, into the location again and finish at the school grounds. By the end of the run, I usually have 40-50 children (usually around the ages of 5-10 years old) running with me! It is so amazing. When we finish at the school grounds, I lead some clapping and then "MANGETTI! NAMIBIA!" chants and finish with high fives for everyone. They really loved it when I taught them how to high five. I really can't describe how awesome it is to run through the village with the kids. I wish all of you could experience it with me.

Before I wrap up, here are a few interesting tidbits of info about my village and the first week. The first night, I heard a jackal outside of my door. My principal informed me that there are elephants, lions, tigers, hyenas, jackals, kudu and wild dogs that can be seen from time to time in the village. One of my colleagues taught me a trick on my cell phone to get periodic, sporadic cell service which involves me walking around a certain point on the gravel road in town holding my phone up like a crazy person. It sounds funny, and it is, but many of the teachers do it. And last, but certainly not least: our school has 375 learners, of which about 250 come from farm workers families from as far as 90km away. If they are coming from these farms, they stay in the location, in a mud hut, by themselves. If there is an older brother or sister, the younger ones are taken care of. This means that there are some 5-10 year olds fending for themselves in mud huts for weeks at a time. Yeah, SUPER SAD! I will be helping my principal with proposals for getting a hostel built at my school. It's ridiculous. No child should have to do that. Keep an eye out for what you might be able to do to help this and other situations at the school which are in dire need of assistance.

My flickr account wasn't working very well, but I uploaded pictures on facebook and you can see the pictures on the link below. ENJOY!


Much love from Namibia. "Together We Can Make a Change"

16 January 2009

Last post for awhile

Before I forget, or run out of time, here is a link to my photos page. I am still trying to figure out how to do different albums and what what, but this will do for now.


I am heading up North tomorrow to my site, Mangetti. I really cannot express how excited I am about this experience. The orientation has been great and I've met some amazing people, but it's time to get started. I have no idea what to expect as far as living arrangements, what classes I'll be teaching and how many of them, and so on.

I thank you all for all the amazing comments, love and support! I will probably be back on the internet in about 2 or 3 weeks, so keep checking.


14 January 2009


Hello Everyone! First, I would like to thank all of you who have visited my blog and left comments for me! You have no idea how much that means. I'm really sorry I haven't been able to update this as much as I would've liked during orientation. It's been pretty crazy.

I have 13 minutes of internet left, so I have to make this quick unfortunately. We did our teaching practicum last week. We were in a small village teaching random classes at the Eendejo Secondary School. The school is a hostel school and we lived on the school grounds. The conditions were not so great, but I loved it! The kids that we taught were gathered from the surrounding community (because it was their summer vacation). It was truly amazing to see kids come to school all week really wanting to learn when they were on holiday. I had the privilege of teaching Grade 8 boys with a fellow volunteer and we definitely fell in love with them. I brought a soccer ball, or football as some of the kids call it, and that was a huge hit. I even got to play some barefoot soccer (which resulted in amazing blood blisters) and scored a few goals playing against about 35 Namibian children varying in ages from 7-18. I'm improving my JV soccer skills, too. :)

Aaaahhh, I don't have much time left. I could write and write and write! I leave on Saturday morning (8 a.m. Namibia time, 1 a.m. US Eastern Time) for my site and will not have cell phone service there. I will have access to cell phone service on the occassional weekend that I leave town. So, I guess just try to call on weekends and hope that I am in a decent sized town. :)

Oh, and here is a link from the radio interview I did just before I left.


Scroll down to December 30th and there is a link to my interview. Oh, and it says I'm from Avon Lake on the page (not true, I lived there, but am not from there).

Until next time, much love to you all!

04 January 2009

My digits

I got my phone today and here is the number:

011 264 81 419 5846

Those are all the country codes and what what that you need to dial to reach me. Oh, and I apologize for a faulty link in my first blog from Namibia. Here is a better one for calling cards (thank you Samantha):


Remember, it's free for me to receive calls, so hit me up! :) Just remember that I am 7 hours ahead of Eastern Time.

Peace. Love. Respect.

When in Rome...I mean, Namibia

Last night was by far the best "Namibian Experience" of the trip so far. We went to a traditional Herero restaurant named "Otjikaendu Den" (don't ask me how to say that). Anyways, I really wish I could post pictures on here right now so you could see the yumminess that I devoured last night. Instead, I'll just have to tell you that my meal consisted of goat intestines, goat and lamb chops, goat cheek, goat tongue, goat ear, and goat eye (yes, goat EYE. I popped it out and ate it up). It was actually pretty good. You should try it sometime. :)

Alright, that's my super fun update for now. We head to the North tomorrow for a week of teaching practicum. I'm not sure if I will have internet access or not, but I will update as soon as possible.

Sending all my love from Namibia.

02 January 2009


Wishing you a very Happy New Year from "The Biggest Internet Cafe in Africa" in Namibia. :) It has been an amazing first couple days. All 31 volunteers are some of the best people with the most positive, loving energy. We rang in the New Year in "Jo-Burg" South Africa and we definitely rang it in with a bang! :) Good times from day 1.

Right now, as I've been for most of the past couple days, I am fairly speechless about this experience. We just started orientation, and it's going to be very busy for the next couple weeks, but I am looking forward to every bit of it. We are heading up north on Monday for a week of teaching practicum and will also get a chance to go on a Game Drive through Etosha National Park. I'm REAL jacked about that! It's going to be awesome. I'll make sure to take lots of pictures of the giraffes, zebras, elephants, and hopefully a lion! We are going to our sites on Saturday, January 17th and start teaching on Monday, January 19th. I can't wait to get to my site. I DEFINITELY am in the most remote area out of all the volunteers. Everyone else has electricity and at least decent cell phone service. Ha! Who needs that? I am pumped to have the moon as my light and to use the 1 phone in the village at the building with the generator.

Bee Tee Dub (by the way), it's about 90 degrees in Windhoek (pronounced Vind-Hook) today. Also, I went for a run with 4 other volunteers and the owner of the hostel (think muscular running African man and that's him) and nearly died. I joked with the rest of the runners that they were Varsity and I was representing the JV squad (along with another slowy joey like me). I hope to continue this running trend, even if it's the end of me. :)

Alright, I have to go. I only have a few more minutes of internet. I do not have a phone yet, but I will get one in the next couple days. It is MUCH cheaper for you to call me (when I have service, that is). It's actually free for me to receive calls, even from the States). You can get good deals on calling cards on speeypin.com and pinonline.com (i think that's the name).

I hope you're all well and enjoying the new year. This is an amazing start to 2009 and have had wonderful moments (albeit fleeting moments) of true enlightenment on several occassions already. This is really happening. I am still in a bit of shock.

One World.