Since Jules has left, life has certainly been a bit of a struggle. Everyday since she left Uis, every class begins with the kids asking me if I can either do the moonwalk, sing and dance for them, or teach them Spanish. None of which I can do with Ms. Julienne’s smile, energy or contagious laughter. I think she has made a lasting impact that even she won’t realize. The kids already ask me when will she and Mr. Matt will return nearly on a daily basis. As they ask me these questions, I can’t help but remember that I will be home in less than a month. It is coming up fast and I honestly can’t wait for daily hot showers, Starbucks, and salads and of course all my family and friends.
This weekend I was invited to go to the annual Otjiwarongo Carnival. Louis picked me up on Friday after school and we headed out to Omaruru and then to Otji. We were being met by Louis’ sister, Mary-Ann and her husband Raen as well as a few other friends. The carnival was nothing like I have ever experienced. On stage were high school performers in red and white sparkling dresses and hats with feathers. We were seated at a long table that spanned the length of the room and on the stage were big tables where people with feathered hats sat with pints of beer. The host spoke to the crowd in Afrikaans then would mid-sentence switch to English and then again mid-sentence would switch again to German. The girls in between the acts would dance up and down the long walkway that cut the room in half. The announcers would make toasts and then the girls would perform a short routine and then we would drink. More announcements in Afrikaans, toast, drink. It reminded me very much of almost an Octoberfest type seating arrangement and performance. Lots of cheering, singing, and dancing. It was a lot of fun. The following day the whole lot which was about 12 people, woke up early and headed to a friends farm. Louis’ sister told me that the game farm we were headed to had kudu, oryx, hemsbok, and eland. Eland is the biggest out of all of the antelope and they were planning on hunting two during the afternoon and into the night because of the full moon. (Apparently a full moon is good for hunting?) We drove from the small city of Otji and then began trekking into the bush. After about 30 minutes outside of the “city” we began to come across big metal gates that would separate farms. We would enter one farms property and then drive through on the sandy road to another gate. Each car in the line would take turns having their passengers get out, open the gate, and then let the rest of the cars through. This continued for another 30 minutes as we traveled through five or six farmers land. Finally we arrived at Espia’s farm, a quant lodge with a 4 chalets next to the main house. The house was surrounded by barbed wire and high fences to keep the game and leopards out. As soon as we arrived all of the men took off to go hunting. The women decided it was time for an afternoon cocktail. I took a long walk along the property and was met along the way by many warthogs and other small wildlife. I was eager to have the men return with the eland because I had never seen an animal that big up close or slaughtered.
Around 9pm, we heard from Raen that they were successful. I had never seen an eland however heard from a few of the women that they can get as big as a ton in weight. 45 minutes later the bakki arrived with the eland. The group brought a few of their workers who apparently had been known to slaughter a whole eland in an hours time. I was ready and eager to see this. Below are some pretty graphic photos. At one point, Fessy, Louis’ cousin, took my hand and shoved it into the brisket (essentially the breast area) of the enormous eland and my hand almost felt like it was burned because the blood was still so hot. It was pretty incredible. The precision of the workers and also the art of slaughtering such an enormous animal was remarkable and something I will never forget. At the end, I held the heart and my hands it it was as big as my head. The meat on an eland could feed a family for about three months time according to one of the men. Espia told me that he was planning on making biltong with the meat and selling it.