Monday, December 28, 2009

From Omatako...

I know I have been saying lately that time flies away but I just can’t help myself saying that again. Almost 7 weeks passed since I stepped on the Namibian ground and it seems only like yesterday that I was in the airport saying goodbye to the loved ones. I know most of you are wondering how’s life in the desert and how do I find here. So, here I am to try to tell you about the challenges and the beauties of the desert life. As some of you already know, our camp is located in Omatako, somewhere in the North-East Namibia in the Bushman Land. 160 Km away for the closest town, we are pretty isolated, without cell phone signal or electricity. So, as you see, I’ve already got used to such condition. There are things that I experience again but there are also new experiences for me. Living in a tent is one of the new things I am trying out. My first tent was a small one, with a broken zip. No wonder that one night I woke up realizing that there is something heavy on my legs. Could it be a snake, or a dog, or another beast? You see, the boys kept finding snakes almost every day (black mamba, green mamba, cobra) and we have been also told that there are wild dogs around. I fearfully turned on my headlamp, scared to death at the thought of the things I might discover. Thankfully, it was only Luna, one of our dogs.  One other day I was cleaning my tent when I lift up a pair of pants to fold them only to discover a pretty big scorpion on them. Thank God it didn’t sting me. After only 3 weeks, I had the chance to change my residence. This time I moved into a big tent. In fact it is a married couple’s tent (there are 4 like that in the campus and I am the only unmarried person who lives in such a tent). I will have to change my big residence for a smaller one as soon as Sebastian comes but I am thankful I got to live in a wonderful place at least for a few weeks.

Living in the desert can be fun and can also be a challenge. One of the big challenges we have is not having a place to lie down when you feel tired. During day time is almost impossible to stay in your tent. At 50 something Celsius degrees, the temperature in the tent becomes unbearable. The same thing happens sometimes in the kitchen. I like heat and I am thankful that I can stand it.

So far, I have been working in the garden and in the kitchen. I am supposed to study the educational system in Namibia but we went to the Ministry of Education and they sent us to the regional offices. I am just waiting for a chance to go there, study the system and also the curriculum and try to make a curriculum for our kids. We have already 17 kids in our camp. We do not have an official school but we are trying to teach them a little bit.

Meeting Nora and going to Opuwo to visit the Himba land are two highlights of my staying so far. Nora is an Austrian teacher who was here for 8 weeks. I met her 2 weeks before she left. We both discovered we heard about Himba people and about a SDA missionary who is working with them and that we would love to find out more about this interesting people. So, as Nora’s cousin know the missionary very well, we give him a call to find out if we can go for a visit. Leaving for Opuwo was quite an experience. The car which was supposed to pick us on Monday or Tuesday didn’t show up. On Wednesday night we found out they are not going to Opuwo anymore but only to Tsumeb so we decided to hitchhike from Omatako to Opuwo (over 600 Km). The Lord was good and he arranged all the things for us. It took 6 cars and 12 hours to reach Opuwo and we reached safely. If only you could see the van’s drivers grabbing out bag and trying to persuade us to take their hike… That was really fun! As I was used to this from Guyana, it was not hard to ask them to leave us alone, to take my bag back and decide by ourselves which van we want to take. Getting to know Himba culture, visiting one of traditional villages, getting dressed (of better said undressed) in their cow-skin suits made the whole trip worth it. Then , meeting the 3 SDA missionaries that live in Opuwo and the 17 pathfinders they are working with, made it worth again. On Sabbath we had a picnic for girls. On Sabbath afternoon we went to close the Sabbath on a mountain with everybody. Friday morning we went jogging and ended up on a 6 hour hike being lost 2 times and with no food or water with us. Then on Sunday evening they had the Pathfinder investiture. Sabbath afternoon we had a Bible study with the kids. Sabbath morning I gave my testimony at the pathfinder Sabbath school group. So, as you see, we had an enjoyable trip.

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