Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nine Days

(I know I promised a new post as soon as I found out my placement, but I'm afraid I'm a week late. What can I say, it's been a busy week.)

Last Tuesday, I got the email that I had been waiting for for months. I will be teaching...drumroll please...8-9th grade math and science in a small village called Onamutai in northern Namibia! (Click on the village name for a map!) While the village itself is quite small, I am only about a half hour away from three large towns where I can easily go to buy anything I need. I am also within about 45 minutes of five other volunteers, so I won't be completely isolated for the year. I still don't know exactly what my housing situation will be, it's possible that I'll be staying with a community member and his family, or I could be in teaching housing, which is an apartment with 3-4 local teachers. Either way, I'll have my own bedroom, electricity, running water (though not hot), and a fridge. My school is small-grades 8-12 with around 430 learners and 22 teachers. Within the last year, they received a computer lab with 35 new laptops, internet, and a smartboard! I'm excited to have the opportunity bring some technology into my lessons, and to increase the use of technology at the school as a whole.

With only nine days left until I leave for Namibia via NYC, I am back at home in NH to begin packing. I had a whirlwind last few days at THS and had a hard time saying goodbye to both my amazing coworkers and my students. Leaving MA also meant that I had to say goodbye to many of my friends for the year. But now I am home, ready for one last round of goodbye visits, and the impossible task of packing a years worth of my life into two suitcases. If anyone has any suggestions for this, I'm all ears!

Many people have asked me recently for ideas of things they can could get me for Christmas to use on my trip. I greatly appreciate everyone's thoughtfulness and I will let you all know if I think of anything, but at this point, it seems most of the things that I will need to buy, I will buy there so as to not have to pack them. Therefore, as unexciting at it is, if you would like to help out with my preparations  money is the most useful thing. I have paid my volunteer fee, but my bank account took quite a hit, and I would be extremely grateful for any contributions that people can make.

I think that's all for now, I'll try to post one more time before leaving and then again as soon as I can once we land. If anyone has questions about my upcoming adventure that I didn't answer, feel free to post them in the comments and I'd be happy to answer! Also, if you want to get emails when I update my blog, be sure to enter your email address where it says "Follow by Email" at the left of this post.

Once again, thank you SO MUCH to everyone for your continued support, it means more than you could know!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Getting Real

So, it's been a LONG time since I've posted and so much has happened in my life since my last post. Here's the quick version: I got a last minute job teaching 8th grade math at the school I student taught at, so instead of spending my last few months at home working and preparing, I moved down to MA at the end of August and started a full time teaching job two days later. Yup.

Because of the job, I have been extremely busy, hence the lack of updates. As stressful and crazy as it is to teach 82 8th graders, I do love it. I know it's preparing me really well for both teaching in Africa, and for whatever teaching position I get when I get back. It's nice to be back in the Math Dept at Taunton High where I know everyone is looking out for me.

The job has also caused preparations for leaving to become slightly complicated. I haven't been able to start packing since I'm not living at home, and being in another state has made all the medical components into a nightmare (HUGE thank you to my mom who spent days on the phone with the insurance company and probably like twelve different doctors...). That being said, my shots are (mostly) done, my visa application is in, I'm submitting my loan deferment application tomorrow and aside from actually packing, I'm starting to feel like I have most of my stuff together. Oh! and I found out my departure date! I leave from NYC on the morning of December 30th, and will land in Namibia on the 31st. Happy New Year to us! I haven't found out where exactly I'll be, or what I'll be teaching, but I hope to hear soon, and I promise I'll let you know!

I wish I could say my mental preparations were going as well as my physical preparations, however, as anyone who has been around me lately can attest, I am an emotional basketcase. I've been joking that I feel like I'm pregnant with mood swings every hour. I go from being wicked excited to finally being able to live out my dream, to incredibly sad that I will have to leave everyone I love for a whole year. I've gotten really comfortable with my new life-I have a good job, I'm close to a lot of my friends, I've started dating someone-and the fact that I'm about to give all of this up for a year is terrifying! I know that it will all be worth it, that my friends will all be here when I get back, I'll find another job, que sera sera, but it's still hard to think about. So to everyone who has listened patiently to me complain over the past few weeks, THANK YOU. Your consoling has done wonders and I would not be managing right now without you. To those that haven't seen me in a while-fair warning, I'm not the bubbly optimist I usually am...
I've also recently gotten in contact with a handful of other people who are going to Namibia with me, which has been really exciting. It's nice to talk to other people who are going through the same thing, and I can't wait to meet them. I know that by this time next year, I'll have 13 great new friends.

Before I finish this very long and extremely overdue blog post, I want to ask everyone for a favor. Since I suddenly landed this job, it means that my planned fundraising efforts at home in NH have gotten squashed. Although I am making pretty good money, I still am hoping to raise a bit more to help cover the expense of the trip, as well as to have some to use for an in country project (building a library, starting a new club at my school, etc). I have gotten donations from a few people and would really appreciate any amount anyone can donate. If you would like to contribute, you can donate online (the information is in the previous blog post) or if you'd rather mail something to me, you can let me know and I'll send you my address. I really appreciate everyone's support!

Make sure you bookmark this link, or enter your email in the "Follow by Email" box to get emails when I update the blog. I'm hoping to be updating fairly regularly from here on out! Thank you to everyone, this wouldn't be possible without you! =)


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Begging for change (well, sort of)

Hi again everyone!

I promised to let you know how you can help, so here goes:

In order to take part in this program, I have to pay a $5,995 program fee. "But wait," I hear you say, "why do you have to pay to volunteer?!" That's a good question. This fee covers my housing for the year, my airfare to and from Namibia, basic health insurance, as well as the costs to run the orientation and training sessions. Although some wealthier nations that WorldTeach operates in subsidize these costs, Namibia cannot afford to, which is part of the reason why they need volunteers so desperately. It is a lot of money to pay, but when you look at what it covers, it is a very fair price (I wouldn't be able to live many places in the US for a year for $6000!)  Once I am there, I will be paid a $350 per month stipend to pay for food and living expenses.

This is where you come in; I need your help to raise the money to participate in this program. Remember, you are not just sending me to Africa, you are providing a classroom full of deserving students with a qualified teacher for a year that they would not otherwise have access to.

If you would like, you can make a tax deductible donation to WorldTeach on their donation website. Just make sure you put my name in the "Name of WorldTeach Volunteer" box and select the "Contribution to Volunteer Fee" option on the "Donation Specified For" box. (Please note that there is a $1.50 transaction fee on all credit card donations under $100.) If you would rather make a donation directly to me to be applied to my program fee, please contact me and I will send you my address. 

I appreciate anything you are able to give; every little bit helps and a promise to bring you back a souvenir as a thank you! Thank you so much for your continued support! Keep checking back for updates, and as always, let me know if you have questions!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Welcome to WorldTeach-Namibia!

Hi everyone, and welcome to my blog!
As most of you know, I will be leaving after Christmas and spending 2013 in Namibia with WorldTeach! I will be placed in a village school and will most likely be teaching math. I have been hoping for an opportunity like this for as long as I can remember and I could not be more excited to embark on this journey!

In case you've never heard of Namibia before (I hadn't before finding WorldTeach so don't worry!), I've provided a map for you. The WorldTeach website also has some great information about the country and the program if you want to find out more, and of course you can also always ask me!
Namibia is in yellow.
As you can imagine, internet in Namibia is not the easiest thing to come by, so updates to the blog will likely be less than frequent once I arrive, but I will do my best to keep it updated as much as possible! Before I go, I plan on updating with more information that I get as I receive it (like the village and school I am placed in!), as well as things that you all can do to help me get to Namibia (hint: think donations!).

Thank you all so much for your support and friendship! I hope that this blog will prove to be a (somewhat) effective way of keeping in touch while I'm gone! But that's not for a little while, so for now I suppose just enjoy reading about Namibia? Haha =)