Sunday, September 20, 2009

GLOW 2009

Camp GLOW (Guys and Girls Leading Our World) 2009 is finally over! After all the stress and hardword that went into the weeklong event it was such a great success. I have tons of stories but for lack of time on a computer my planning co-chair Jill has updated our GLOW blog so check out the pics and stories at we were really lucky to have such an amazing group of Namibians this year, both learners and facilitators.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

the circle of life....

Outjo lost a great man this Thursday. Dr. Samuntu (Outjo Hospital's head doctor) passed away in a car accident outside Outjo. He was a great and knowledgeable doctor, a caring and loving husband and father and a kind soul. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and their children.

Also, our most recent VSO addition became a father today. His wife delivered a boy in India and will be joining us in Outjo in a few months. Congrats to the new family.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Outjo Book Project

The first group of books are being delivered to schools in Outjo. A big thank you to all those who made this possible either by donating books or money for sending the books, Chenoweth Elementary School in Merced, CA and other family and friends from Merced, especially my mom and dad!

Jack Francis Primary School-742 books
Maraasen Primary School-301 books
Etoshapoort Junior Secondary School-245 books & magazines
Outjo Primary School-70 books
Lutheran Preschool-24 books
Hai//om Kindergarten-13 books
Other Preschool-10 books
TOTAL 1405

as of 6 June 2009

only more to come....again thanks to everyone for providing the learners in Outjo with reading material of all levels in English

Sunday, May 31, 2009

dear May....

Dear May,

Whoa, you are already over? What in the world happened during the last 31 days?

Missing time,

Dear Muggers,

Thank you for returning my passport. If you are feeling extra generous I would love my sleeping bag, eye glasses and backpack. Let’s be honest you have no real need for these items but they mean the world to me. Just throw anything you want to return over the police explosives unit fence, you know the place.

The girl from the B1,

Dear Capetownians,

You really saved our American butts in Fish River Canyon, thanks again,

New camping guru,

Dear Fish River baboons,

Please stop laughing at me. When I was lost and couldn’t find my friends and was maybe taking an animal trail rather than the normal path you just sat watching and mocking me, help a sister out, it’s 90km and I didn’t have a map. I didn’t appreciate being your daily entertainment in the canyon, just know what goes around comes around monkeys.

Made it through the canyon without your help,

Friday, April 17, 2009

What happens when you miss or are late to meetings…

Within 24 hours I managed to miss two important meetings. One, I never knew I was suppose to attend the other I couldn’t get transport until two hours later so by the time I showed up I had missed two thirds of the meeting. During the second meeting the entire CACOC nominated me to go around to all the schools to inform learners about National HIV Testing Day and to help start up any HIV/AIDS awareness clubs, you know because I’m not busy enough already. The other meeting was with our hospital and no one told me about it but today I show up to work to not only find out about the meeting but also that I have been selected as the data analysis for National Testing Day statistics for our entire district. What the @$!# ?!? This is what happens when you are not there, you get the most insane and hardest jobs for whatever events and you can’t say no because you are the bottom fish in this ocean. Going to schools…eh whatever it’s annoying cause I have so much other stuff to do for National Testing Day but it’s something I really enjoy doing and I offered the Principals last year to help set up these clubs but I was assured they already existed and functioned perfectly. The data analysis?!? I have no epidemiology programs or tools so I can’t do what I want to do, instead it’s going to be making simple excel worksheets and charts, something that’s really easy but time consuming and sadly I’m one of the few at my hospital who can do it.

Ugh. How many more National/International/World _____ Day(s) do we have left until I leave in December?


The Outjo Support Group’s garden was one of 13 projects in Namibia to be chosen for a new hydro-cultivating (can’t think of the name) garden. Along with their regular garden the Support Group will be growing the same crops in little wooden basins filled with water, sand, sawdust and…..oh I can’t remember the fourth. They are trained by the Ministry of Water, Agriculture and Forestry on mixing the nutrient solutions, how far apart everything should grow, proper garden management and more. It’s really exciting because this is a huge thing in Namibia and the fact that Outjo got chosen even though it’s not the Regional Center is a big thing. MWAF said they were so impressed with their garden last year it seemed like the obvious choice for Kunene! Our garden is such a small area it’s great that we are learning new ways of planting so we can maximize our space. It’s really really exciting and I’m so proud of them and I know they are going to do amazing, congrats again Outjo Support Group!!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lessons learned after 17 months in Africa…

1) Nothing is too rotten, moldy or disgusting when you are broke. Also if you’ve used a costly ingredient and the meal comes out bad/horrible, you eat it anyway.
2) I can change a flat/blown out tire on almost any terrain.
3) When you get a flat tire in a game park with a high lion population keep driving. It’s ok to ruin the rim rather than become a meal.
4) It’s worth the exercise to walk the long way on pavement rather than take the short cut in the bush and risk another encounter with a black mamba or any other snake in Namibia.
5) It’s all about how it looks. It doesn’t matter if your report is jiberish or your event is totally pointless if it looks nice and professional that’s all that matters. This is why we put official hospital stamps on EVERYTHING, including the envelope.
6) Corruption influences all people and you’ll be surprised by what people can be corrupted by, a t-shirt, cool drink, cell recharge?
7) Six large adults in a small sedan is considered a ride with room to spare.
8) Sometimes walking for three hours, washing all the clothes you brought to Africa or flossing is just something to keep you busy, no other purpose.
9) A mosquito net does more than protect from Malaria-more importantly it protects you from every other bug that will crawl/buzz around on you in the night and either bite or annoy the crap out of you.
10) Chocolate chips cookies can cure almost anything.
11) You’re eyes glaze over and you began to dream just like the locals when you talk about America, never mind it’s your home, now it’s only a magical place to believe in and hopefully visit.
12) An ink pen is worth getting in a fight over, especially after your first 10 go missing.
13) Better to not get harassed than to chance offending someone by not greeting a sketchy, drunk man as you pass by.
14) If you feel ugly just go walk around in the location and you’ll have at least 4 marriage proposals within 10 minutes, make the system work for you!
15) Words “Must” and “Now” and “Friend” will never have their simple meanings again.
16) I can accurately estimate when in the afternoon it will rain by the morning clouds.
17) Thou shouldn’t judge co-workers playing computer card games all day, give it a few months, you will be joining them.
18) If the locals warn you about lion/elephant or snake attacks you should listen and stay away from those places, there’s always truth to their warnings.
19) Sometimes baboons just don’t want to get out of the road no matter how many times you honk or threaten to run them over.
20) Although I work for the Ministry of Health I should not be surprised when I get dragged out of my office to attend an urgent Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry meeting…didn’t even know we had that ministry in Outjo.
21) If it’s a perfect day outside you can expect the power to go out.
22) You’ll steal free wireless internet no matter where you can get it, it’s their fault for not locking their account.
23) Sometimes it’s worth buying less food and paying someone to clean your flat or do your laundry.
24) Ideas from the best intentions will probably fail.
25) Africa will win, it always does, don’t ever try to fight it just play along with it.