Monday, November 21, 2005

Day 15

Day 15 (21-Nov 19h50)

Today we met our counterparts and site supervisors (I don’t know the difference). But before we could do that: language lessons. I think I’m starting to understand more of Afrikaans. Words are coming into focus now, and I can pick out just enough from sentences to get the gist of what is being said. Not to oversell myself, the fact that our instructor is talking at a snail’s pace and acting out every word helps quite a bit too. Nevertheless, I’m remembering more words, and the sounds are coming easier. I wonder how long it will take to be comfortable in an Afrikaans conversation.

My counterpart (her name escapes me at the moment) is a pretty neat lady. She is the principle at the high school I will be working at. The school is relatively new (opened in 2001) and has a mix of several different tribes. It’s smaller, 600 students, and has 20 teachers, which is actually a great ratio for Namibia. I will be spending much of each day teaching computer classes to all four grades (9-12). I’ve also been asked to train some of the teachers. So far, it all sounds great.

The principle used to be a teacher, a teacher trainer, and also worked on a women’s rights group, and now is running the school. Waldo has great things to say about her, and my first impression is very good.

She has told me that I will be staying in a hostel inside Windhoek. This is weird, because hostel’s are attached to schools, so I will be living in one school while working in another. The accommodations sound like they are first rate. I will, however, need to take a taxi home each day, grabbing a ride with a teacher on the way in. They will provide some extra money for this expense. They also have informed me that riding a bike or walking is out of the question due to security issues. I’m still not clear on a great number of details, but more will be seen next week.

I’m looking forward to Windhoek, having a place of my own and being able to empty my bag out, spreading all my stuff on the floor. I think that will be the first thing I do, dump it all out and spread it from corner to corner. Then, if time, maybe take a few showers.

This evening, most are packing and getting organized. Many of us are leaving early tomorrow morning (me at 7), so all packing must be done tonight. I’ve already gotten this done, and all that’s left is a quick shower and perhaps a game of cards or a movie. I’ve really been enjoying the Firefly TV series that Luke (in Boise) gave me. It’s become a nightly routine.

It’s 19h40 and the sun has long set. It’s dusk, but with the clouds that have shaded us since dinner, it’s cool and eerily dark. The crickets are managing a near harmonious chorus, and something amphibian can be heard in the distance. Birds are scarce, the rooster may actually be sleeping, and the ducks have gone more than an hour without complaining. It’s an odd night at camp, not at all like the previous ones. But just a few hours will bring a new day and that damned hot sun, so I refuse to gripe.

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