So we proceeded to spend the next five days in the mountains outside Windhoek, for our Reconnect Conference, where we convened after 6 weeks at site [phase 2 as it’s called] to talk about how everything went and learn some more useful stuff. It was a huge flashback to training, with morning and afternoon sessions interrupted by tea breaks and delicious all-inclusive meals [with dessert, fruit, AND salad?!?? Heaven.] There were definitely a few sessions I found incredibly interesting and helpful – on setting up community gardens, small grant writing, classroom management from the PCVL perspective, and a discussion on racism post-apartheid, which I will save for another post. It was an awesome week to reunite with all my friends, eat good food, and watch some stunning sunsets.
After Reconnect, 37 of the 38 of us headed to Swakopmund, a big town on the coast where almost all of Namibia goes on holiday. I booked all of us to fit into two 6-person bungalows… it goes without saying that it was an extremely tight fit. The week essentially felt like a really intense and awesome version of college, interrupted by bouts of adventure.
Adventure #1: SKYDIVING
This was not an adventure I planned on having, because jumping out of a plane seemed a little too crazy for me and it was also super pricy. However, a phenomenon my friends and I now call FOMO [fear-of-missing-out] kicked in when I realized 6 people were doing it, and along with some quality peer pressure of course I gave in. So glad I did, because it was epic! The instructors were a little too cavalier for me about the whole safety and advising on how to jump out of a plane thing, but somehow I remained abnormally calm until my jumping buddy Chris and I got into the plane and we started rising thousands of feet into the air. When the door opened and we put our legs over the edge, oh my goodness I can’t describe that feeling! But then the JUMP – the 30-second free-fall was just about the best thing ever and I really wish it could have gone on longer! Overall I’m so glad I was spontaneous and just did it, I got an awesome view from the air of the ocean and the desert, and now I get to say I have fallen through the sky!
It was actually slightly terrifying because we went on our stomachs and reached pretty high speeds. I could have sandboarded all day, if only there had been a chairlift for those dunes! Sadly, some of us were slightly babbelas [hungover] from an EPIC karaoke night wherein our entire group took over a bar and had some quality bonding time singing and dancing arm-in-arm to bohemian rhapsody! Suffice it to say trying to crawl up massive hills of searing hot sand was rather unpleasant. I actually had my friend take a video of me boarding down the tallest dune at 80k an hour, but my internet is too slow currently so I'll upload it when I'm feeling a little more patient.
All in all, Swakopmund was a ton of fun, but 9 days in an i-wish-i-could-stress-how-tiny bungalow was more than enough for us. A few other notable moments: of our 8 nights, 6 of them were nights that the mexican restaurant the 3 NAMigos was open, and of those 6 I ate mexican food… all 6 nights. #obsessed. I’m all stocked up on nachos, fajitas, and strawberry margaritas for now. I also saw a movie – sadly Breaking Dawn wasn’t playing, but I could settle for The Three Musketeers, I just had this strangely intense craving to go to a movie theater. At night we spent most of our time at this multi-purpose building called the Laundromat – it had laundry machines, a restaurant, a takeaway place, a gambling center, and a bar [where we went]. We spent a lot of time dancing around hats and singing along to our favorite NamJam “I just wanna live my life!” The whole trip felt like being back in America, as it was in a town with access to everything, and it was so nice to have a little break. From there, it was onto LudaPalooza, part two of our vacation!
PS: the link to said namjam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNCylGzfQh0
This has been our group’s song since the days of PST! Also, the beat is basically the same in almost all other popular namjams in case you were wondering what some Nam music sounds like.