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.