Sunday, October 9, 2011


Apologies for not posting much, training is a whirlwind! I swear in next-thursday whooooo!!! Anyway, site reveal/visit: Monday the 19th was the big day: Site Reveal! The trainers had us wait until the very end of the day, then brought us outside the training center to find a life-sized Namibia, country borders outlined with string, and papers representing site placements scattered within the borders. One by one each of us was given our Site Description, and with just the name of our School we searched the country to find out specific city. Waldo, my APCD helped me out by telling me to just go far down, as my site is the furthest south of all the volunteers. I’m going to Luderitz!

I am so excited about this placement! I will definitely put up a page with more of the specifics of my site, but Luderitz is an urban area and it is a town on the coast of Namibia. The only con to my site is that it is incredibly far from other volunteers – the closest person to me from Group 34 is a little over 2 hours away, and the next closest is probably 5 or 6 hours away. Lucky for me, there are a couple PCVs from the group before me in Luderitz. This town is quite isolated – you can only access it from one road into town, and there is literally nothing on that road for a solid two hours outside of town. Anyway, getting ahead of myself. It was great finally getting this news because that Friday was our departure to site visit. We met our supervisors [aka for me, my school’s principal], and had a workshop Thursday and Friday, then we were off for our week at site!

My site visit was different for reasons that aren’t super interesting so I won’t go into why, but I actually ended up in Windhoek for that weekend instead of going straight to Luda. I was with my principal and his wife, and we went Owambo wedding celebrations all weekend! It was a cool experience, but I’ll describe that another time so I can focus on describing my actual site visit. Sunday afternoon I got to Luderitz, after a fun-filled 8.5 hour car ride. I met my new host family, and I am pumped because they are the sweetest people ever. The first six weeks at site I’ll be staying with my principal’s sister, who is an HOD [head of department] at my school, and her two daughters, who are a senior and a sophomore in high school. This is great for me since I have two real-life sisters this age! I was dreading having another host family since my current situation is nottt so hot, but I am actually really happy to live with these people.

On Monday we went to school, and I observed some classes, and met the faculty and staff. Everyone is friendly, and I feel positive about my future workplace. My principal is a huge go-getter. They recently opened a bakery to provide the OVC [orphans and vulnerable children] learners with bread in addition to their daily meal at the soup kitchen, and it’s actually the only school in Namibia that has a bakery. He really seems to take advantage of resources available to them, and I’m looking forward to working with him further on more of his projects – one of which involves the library, which is awesome! Also, something unique as far as I’ve seen in schools is that the learners begin with classes in English in pre-primary [kindergarten] here, whereas most other schools teach in the mother tongue until Grade 4. This bodes well for me because my future learners will be much better at English when I get them than they would have been in other regions – I’m teaching Grade 6!

Luderitz itself is a really interesting town. While many of my friends will live in towns where everyone experiences the same relative rural poverty, Luderitz hosts a variety of lifestyles. My future house is close to the center of town, right next to the hotel that many tourists stay at when visiting. It’s an incredibly nice house, the likes of which I probably won’t be able to have in America for a very long time when I come home. This is definitely not the norm for PCVs, good karma has finally come my way and I seriously got lucky! However, my school is about 4K away from my house, and it is in a location where there is intense poverty. Appearance-wise, I think it works best to describe Luderitz as a big rock, with some sand on it at parts. My school is surrounded by a big hill, which made of rock. On top of this rock are hundreds of shacks made of corrugated metal, and that is where many of my learners live. The shacks look like they could blow away with a strong gust of wind – obviously since they are haphazardly placed on the rock, these homes do not have electricity or running water. This striking contrast of life within my town that I will see every day is going to be very interesting. 

 the view from my permanent house's driveway... yeah, i can get used to this.
 the view from the grounds of my school.

During my short visit I also had the chance to meet the Regional Councilor of the Karas region, because his office is in Luderitz, and the Mayor of Luderitz. I was so excited about this site again after talking with the Mayor, who said they are working on raising funds to build a battered women/children center in Luderitz, something that is desperately needed given the high rates of passion crimes and domestic violence in Namibia. This is literally exactly the kind of secondary project I would be interested in, especially after working with the YWCA in Nashille, so I am really looking forward to working with her and the other Health PCV in Luderitz on this! 

Wednesday early morning I began the trek back to training, and after a 5 hour combi ride [listening to loud gospel tunes the whole way], a 12 hour overnight train, a taxi ride by a man we call Mr. Smiley, and yet another taxi with other PCTs we ran into on the side of the highway, we all were happily reunited on Thursday afternoon at our favorite sketchy bar. Fun visit, and knock on wood all of us are still here, which is awesome! That's all of my epic description, have a great day friends!

1 comment:

  1. wow! which hotel is your permanent house next to?! i stayed at the backpacker's hostel when i visited luderitz. also...i took that 12 hour overnight train once. what an adventure! we got stranded overnight in the middle of nam...only to start moving again 6 hours later!

    really excited for you, claire. luderitz is an awesome place and i'd love to hear more of the specifics of it (which i know you might not post on your blog because other readers won't have a concept of luderitz, but you're welcome to email them to me :) ).