Backpackers Unite

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Hostel in Windhoek

Hello Windhoek

After two days of unbearable travel conditions (me being uber sick with a sinus headache and perhaps strep) I have finally made it to the hostel in Windhoek. I met my group of 12 in Newark, Zurich and the last few in Johannesburg. During the beginning of the journey I realized I was starting to get sick and as the people around me started to notice, each would go out of their way to take care of me. It was truly humbling. A group of complete strangers, who I have only known for a few hours, were essentially bending over backwards lending me their blankets, any medications, and offered the use of cell phones and other devices as mine were not working. I couldn’t have asked to be with a more generous and sincere group of people.

The hostel is actually pretty awesome too. It has a pool, full showers and bathrooms, a lounge with a TV, and a shared kitchen. The temperature is in the low 70s and comfortable. Humidity is low so it is nice to sit outside and be in the cool summer air. I took a shower and plan to go to bed early so that I can hit the ground running tomorrow.

Three of the girls have really gone above and beyond, including Jordan, Martha and Elizabeth. I found out that Elizabeth and I will both be living in the Erongo region and will only be roughly about an hour from each other’s placements which is very exciting.

This week is packed to the gills with teacher training, language seminars, and culture adapation/shock.

Let’s hope tomorrow I feel better after a good nights rest.

Klaar Gepak!

Finally. It only took 15 trash bags, 50 boxes and a strong cook to help. Not too bad I would say. My once warm, friendly apartment now looks foreign and cold. It feels strange as I walk from room to room making sure I haven’t left anything behind. I didn’t realize how bitter sweet packing is. As I sit writing this, I know in two weeks I will wish I was sitting in this same chair looking at the fireplace wishing I was back in a place that has supported all my career, relationship and life changes over the past five years.

The cook took me to REI this week and bought me some oddities that he deemed “necessary” including a leatherman (for all the kills I will make in the depths of the wild), iodine pills for my water bottle, a spork, and some DEET. I also got an inflatable pillow… not too uncomfortable. He also felt it absolutely imperative that I have extra shoe laces for all the knots I will need to make. Quite curious I would say. Feeling as though I still do not have everything I will actually need. I haven’t packed all of my African apparel quite yet but it seems like I am getting all life threatening buys in – I won’t have trouble eating/drinking with my spork, thank goodness.

I am off to head north for the weekend and can’t help but feel a little down that I will be missing all of my favorite winter activites – sipping cider by the hearth, getting into the hot tub after skiing all day and big brunches all surrounded by friends and family.

Enjoy a hot tottie for me over the next few months, please.

http://www.youtube.com/watchv=yxXBhKJnRR8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Petrus !Ganeb Secondary School!

Hurray! I am teaching at Petrus !Ganeb Secondary School.  The school is located in the small town of Uis in the Erongo Region. (Uis is pronounced best with duck lips and with a deep voice as the cook can easily demonstrate.. naturally as he is German).  Uis is a fairly well equipped town with banking facilities and a grocery store!  There are also a few tourist facilities as Uis is close to Brandenburg Mountain, the largest mountain in Namibia.  The school is located 3k from the main town in the location or township.  The next closest town is Omaruru.  To hitchhike there costs N$100.  The people in Uis speak Afrikaans, Damara, or Oshindonga. The town is also two hours by car to Swakopmund which is right next to Walvis Bay – which I hope to visit frequently.  
 
I will be living in teachers housing with other teachers in a flat connected to the hostel building.  I will have a private room, however will share a living room, bathroom and kitchen with my housemates. The flat has running water and electricity. I know…. amazing.  
 
The school has requested help with Physical Science, Agriculture, and English, the priority being Science, for grades 10 to 12.  Additionally they have asked me to help with computer instruction.  They currently do have a computer lab, but it seems as if no teacher is utilizing the resources available.
 
The school has about 300 learners and 16 teachers with grades 8 to 12.  There is a Peace Corps volunteer at the Primary School nearby, but Petrus !Ganeb hasn’t had a volunteer since 1994! That is a lot of pressure – I hope I live up to it.

I did a little digging and found that there is essentially a resort in the town of Uis called the Brandberg Rest Camp. As I mentioned above, the Brandberg is the highest mountain in Namibia. It is also famous for the White Lady and other Bushman paintings as well as its diverse Geology. The mountain is very popular for hikers doing 3 to 5 day hikes. I guess there is also a river nearby that is a common waterhole for many game including large packs of elephant. The resort has day tours to go and view both the elephants and other animals. I am definitely going to go on all of their excursions if I have the time!

http://www.brandbergrestcamp.com/