Saturday, October 22, 2011

I'm Back!

Hey friends!

Sorry for the delay in posting, I’ve been trying to load a video and it finally worked! Also the last couple weeks have just been mayhem, as I spent every last free minute with my friends who are now incredibly far away from me. Currently I’m at my site for good! Let’s back it up to this past week, since Thursday was SWEARING-IN!!

So the end of training finally came, and we took our final LPI [language proficiency interview] on Monday. My mid-LPI was with an incredibly hard grader, so I was happy to not have him again, but instead I got the other notoriously hard grader, dang it! We had a very strange 30 minute interview/conversation, in which there was a scenario, I had to pretend he was my host mom and I wasn’t feeling well – so I told him, hey I don’t feel well, I have a headache, I’m nauseous, and have a stomachache. He then proceeded to say something involving babies [babatjies]. I thought it was obvious I had food poisoning, so him bringing babies into the equation really confused me – he couldn’t be saying I had eaten babies… so I asked him if he meant babbelas, which means hangover. Nope, he started cracking up. Then I remembered earlier that I had mentioned my host sister was pregnant, because I’d just learned that word, and realized he was asking if I was pregnant. Oh man, good times. Anyway, after that very entertaining conversation, on Tuesday I found out I passed!!! The “requirement” for our language proficiency is intermediate low, and 36 out of 39 people scored at or above that, with scores ranging from intermediate low to intermediate high! I received an intermediate-mid proficiency, wooooo!!!

Wednesday we went to Windhoek to see the PC Office, and do some last minute shopping, more important for people going to remote areas far from amenities. The important thing that happened during this visit, was that on the way back we FINALLY saw giraffes!!! The drive back to our PST town goes through a game area, and everyone always talks about seeing cool animals, but I guess we were traveling at the wrong times of the day. My friend Mo was keeping watch of outside, and she just started screaming “giraffe giraffe giraffe GIRAFFES!” we saw a lone giraffe followed by a huge family of them. Took long enough, so worth it. Other notable things with animals – the bugs are starting to get crazyyy as it gets hotter and hotter. Wednesday night a cockroach crawled over my foot in the bathroom, and I am proud to say I did not scream… mostly because everyone else was asleep. I then proceeded to fight a war against the moths that were trying to take over my bedroom.  We could have lived together in peace if they weren’t so big and dumb. Some of them just couldn’t sit still and flew into my head, then when I turned the light off they gravitated towards me. I ended up killing 8 in one night… I won that battle, though it cost me precious sleeping time.

Thursday was the big day! Our awesome driver Edwin came and picked me and all my stuff up, as all the southern volunteers were to leave straight from the ceremony, and we got to NIED. The swearing-in was great, our Country Director Gilbert Collins led the swear-in that anyone working for the US Government does, and then the Ambassador led the Swearing-in as Peace Corps Volunteers. There was a performance by a Youth Choir, many speeches, and we performed a song that was well-received by everyone. It was great! Just 20 minutes afterward, my counterpart was ready to leave, so Brett (closest volunteer to me and therefore travel buddy) and I got going with her.

This trip down south was one of the more epic trips I’ve been on, and I feel confident in saying I’ve been on many an adventurous roadtrips, with 12 hour journeys to Canada for 18 years behind me, in addition to the ridiculous ASB travels with 25, 18, and 24 hour rides respectively. This too ended up being a 25 hour experience, though it should have only taken 9 hours to get to Luderitz. Here’s why. We get going, and just outside Windhoek we stop at this factory looking place. Brett and I are confused because the car is PACKED already, there are two children, and three adults total in our car, in addition to all of our stuff, which is a lot more than we came with because PC has given us a lot of manuals/books/various medical items and big green trunks too. Well, we find out this place makes tombstones, and my counterpart and her husband also run a funeral business. We are adding a massive granite tombstone to this car. I had no idea those things were so heavy! They add the big part to the back, another smaller stone with the name to go below our feet in the back seat, and the car looked like it was about to touch the ground it was so heavy. We were doomed. In Mariental, we pull over to the gas station and I realize smoke is pouring out of the front of the car; the engine cannot handle the weight. We proceed to wait for help; it never comes, so we end up staying the night in a sweet chalet hotel-thing. The next morning we get to the gas station at 8, and proceed to wait for help again until 12, all the while Brett and I entertaining an 8 year old and 5 year old, which we were not entirely successful in doing. My counterpart’s husband comes with another car, and we were under the impression he would drive Brett and I with our luggage. Nope, he put the tombstone in this car as well, because the funeral was Saturday and they needed it asap. This was exactly the same situation as the last car, minus two children who really hadn’t made much of a difference weight-wise at all. We were doomed again. This was a bakkie, so three of us were now stuffed into the front seat [there is a middle seat, but I have no idea what kind of size person its meant for, not me for sure], with my legs basically resting on the stick shift, fun times. We took the gravel road, which was faster for getting to the south, but also a bit more dangerous. On our way to this road we passed a baboon just chilling on the side rail of the road, so cool! Sure enough, about an hour into that drive we get a flat tire.  We decided to call this trip NAMbles. Brett and I proceeded to entertain ourselves by taking jumping pictures and throwing rocks across the road. Luckily we had a spare so we got going pretty fast after that incident. It was HOT in that car, like my cool drink became extremely hot instead of refreshing. Thankfully, though I love Brett, we finally dropped him off in front of a hotel in a town near his site, and kept moving, leaving me some more room to sleep a little for the next two hours. This part of the trip I saw a donkey-driven cart, oryx, kudu, and springbok. I always wondered what oryx looked like, since I eat it often. Eventually I made it, and now I'm here at site! gotta go now internet's going to run out!


  1. "We were doomed"... Oh my God, what a perfect summary of the ordeal-- I sincerely hope that the rest of your stay isn't as ridiculous as this trip! And I am, of course, greatly looking forward to your next post :)

  2. So now you can be known as a Namblin'(Wo)Man (Allman Brothers, 1973). Did you get to go to the funeral too?

  3. hot DANG that is a hilariously awful story! Very sorry, my dear! Congrats on passing the test. I'm quite glad I haven't had to take a test in Swahili let, just homework. :p lots of hugs! Hope the bugs get better. Don't you feel yourself growing up so fast??