Monday, December 12, 2005

Day 33 - 35

Sunday was a great day. I stayed home from church to enjoy a movie with Hermanas. After that we went down to the ORC to hop on the Internet for a while. We then met up with Myrial, Beth, and Suzie to go swimming with our host brothers and sisters. The kids had a great time and the pool was thoroughly dirtied when we were done. It was so nice escaping from the heat!
We wrapped the day up with another movie (X-Men 2) and some computer games. Ahh, Sundays...
Today (Monday) was work time. Jay and I were tasked with getting the computer lab at Okombahe ready for classes tomorrow. Most of the leg work was done last week, so all we had to do was copy software from computer to computer. We now have 14 operational computers, up 5 since I arrived last week.
Classes tomorrow will be fun. We have come up with a great activity to introduce basic concepts and start teaching mouse skills. We'll be using Microsoft Paint in a sort of pictionary-gone-wild activity. Each person will have three minutes to start a picture, then everyone switches computers. The participants will learn about icons, menus, styles, clicks, and dragging. It should be a lot of fun. Pictures and stories to come tomorrow (computer permitting).
It is so hot in that computer lab! The day's high of 105 was made much worse by the orientation of the computer room- broad side facing west, and the heat-churning nature of these older computers and monitors. The room only got up to 94, but hey, that's freekin' hot. Imagine trying to learn something in that environment! It's going to be interesting...
The TRC's all went to different sites today. It was great hearing back from them at the end of the day. It sounds like most are doing well, but being challenged. Everyone was pretty impressed with the level of competency and creative styles that the PCT's employed in teaching. We've got a great group here, and they're going to be doing great things all over Namibia.
Our evening language session was more like a high school giggle fest than a productive learning session, but we got through it. For the first time I felt a bit of pity for our trainer, she was honestly trying to get us working; but if the heat doesn't knock you out, it makes you insane.
I've really enjoyed the drive to and from Okombahe. It's about an hour drive from Omaruru, in the middle of the desert. It's easy to find; just drive south west from Omaruru for about 45 minutes, perfectly straight. Then make a left hand turn when you reach a lonely store that seems to have gotten lost some years ago, giving up on a quest to find a village and just deciding that here was as good a spot as any other. Another 15 minutes brings your through some impressive jagged rocks down into the Omaruru river valley and into the small town of Okombahe. The near side is the location, tattered and broken. The far side is the city proper, formerly white, very nice. One store. One school. One church. That about sums up Okombahe. The streets can barely be called that, most snake around trees and potholes like a river meanders through a prairie. The hundred (maybe two) residents of this town seem almost trapped here; pinned down under the tall canopy of a few African trees, tied forever to an unreliable but solitary source of water. I have not met many residents; I wonder what they think of this place, a small oasis in the vast space of sand and rock. I'll ask tomorrow.
It's cool tonight. Maybe somewhere in the 80's. Yes, that's cool. It's only when the sun finally is hidden behind the earth that I remember that the sweltering conditions I endure each day are merely temporary; I don't have to put up a fight for long. It's the nights and mornings that we enjoy, letting our guards down. Only then do we plan walking routes without concern for shade. It's then that we are able to let our thoughts drift to wonderful subjects, not torn away to reality by heat. Yes, it's cool every night. I think some of my humanity would fail should it be otherwise.
Computer update: I spent most of last night and some of today reformatting on a new hard drive (a backup I brought). Same problem. But now it's been working fine for 6 hours, save the blue screen that I got flashed twenty minutes ago like a big middle finger from the HP computer gang. It is horribly sluggish when first starting up, then acts fine. I just hope it lasts me until January. Please God, just let it make it through the year!
There's more I want to write, but the battery is nearly dead and I left the power cord in Okombahe. For now, I want to let Dad, Mom, Grandma, and Richard know that I am drafting emails to all of you and will send this weekend. Jana and Cheli, I'm working on a short video and hope to send that to you early next week. To everyone else, riddle me this: Why, oh why, is the lightning so much stronger here? Someone's got to have an answer! Seriously, I don't have Internet like you guys do, help me out here.

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