I realize that my already sporadic posts dwindled within the last 6 months to a year or so. Perhaps because things became so normal, so it didn’t cross my mind to write about them. I figured it was time to do another in honor of my service coming to an end.
I’ve been in Namibia for 26 months. One month left and I’ll be an RPCV (returned peace corps volunteer). Not surprisingly, I am excited and nervous and exhausted and anxious. Mostly excited because of what I’ve set out for me during the next five months.
This term has been full of a lot of continued frustration with my learners. Don’t get me wrong, I love them outside of the classroom, but through this experience I’ve discovered that I am not meant to be a teacher. My patience has become short over the last year and I’m tired of yelling at learners to be quiet, breaking up fights, watching little boys cry, grading their workbooks, listening to complaints about who does and who does not get to watch movies and dealing with stolen (insert school supplies here). So, while I will of course miss the crazy brats, I will not miss being their teacher.
Luckily, this last school term has been interrupted on a few occasions by activities that took greater priority and let me miss a few days to spend it with other volunteers. For one, I spent an entire week in Windhoek for a final medical exam to make sure I am fit and healthy (yes, I’m fine minus the 20 *gasp* pounds I’ve gained since coming to this country). I took a day off from school to visit a section of the country that I had missed out on. The North. Which holds the majority of the Namibian population and is mostly Owambo. I stayed on a traditional (yet slightly modern because of the shower and flush toilet!) homestead with another volunteer. Ate worms (yes I enjoyed them), got drunk at the shebeen, explored the maze of China shops in Oshikango, ate mounds of Chinese food while enjoying four hours of karaoke, and spent time with good company in Ongwadiva before heading back to site. This month also greeted me with the Lucky Star Marathon which took place in Swakopmund on the coast. No, I didn’t run it. I enjoyed the coast. A large group of us took the overnight train from Okahandja to Swakopmund. The train took 11 hours. It’s maybe a four hour drive. We kept ourselves plenty entertained, though our portable speakers were not enjoyed much by the other passengers.
And now I’m in the home stretch. Four more weeks of teaching which seems entirely do-able. I’m handing off some of my classes to my replacement who arrived last week. I’ll be busy making the grade 6 English exam, putting in the learners’ final grades, and using class time to take class photos. I’ve already started trying to organize my house to make packing easier. This process has only made me feel even giddier for what’s to come: a four month vacation.
I can’t even begin to explain my excitement. Two other volunteers (one of my fellow Caprivi volunteers who I used to live close to, and the volunteer who lives in my shopping town and hosts me almost every weekend) and I are using the money Peace Corps gives us for “readjustment” to travel. Our tickets are booked and we are very ready to go, sometimes asking ourselves why we chose November 23rd as our final date when we could have been done by now. We will begin by hitchhiking for the last time up to Katima Mulilo. Afterwards we will make our way over to Malawi, set up our hammocks, and lay on a beach. After Malawi we go to Zanzibar and then hopefully over to have a look at Kilimanjaro. We end that month of Africa travel with a flight from Nairobi to India. We’ll travel India for a month before heading to Thailand for 3 weeks, Bali for 3 weeks, a week in Singapore, and the last two weeks in the Philippines. And then it’s back to Chicago. Where I’m sure I’ll be an emotional mess.
And then who knows. I’m still trying to figure out what I am supposed to be doing. Though the time here has made this uncertainty much easier to handle. The fact that I’m not tied down to any one place is kind of exciting so I guess I’ll see where I end up.