Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Namibian New Years

Wu uhala po! (That's 'good afternoon' in Oshiwambo!)

Well I made it to Namibia safely! After a short flight from Boston to NYC, I spent Saturday night getting to know other volunteers and enjoying the last of luxuries such as TV, fast  internet and hot showers. We then got up early on Sunday, made our way to the airport, and with no major incidents, made it onto our flight to Joburg. Fifteen (very long and uncomfortable) hours later, we landed, then had to sprint to the other side of the airport to make our connecting flight to Windhoek. As it turns out though, we needn't have sprinted- we waited on the bus to take us out on the tarmac for another 15 minutes. First lesson in African time I suppose. Our flight to Windhoek was a comparatively short two hours. We landed at the much-smaller-than-expected airport, made it through customs, and then were delighted to find that all of our luggage had arrived! We met with Bret, our Field Director and stepped into the hot Namibian sun for the first time. We took a van into the city though the gorgeous countryside. Namibia is much more hilly than I would have expected. In a way it reminds me of southern NH, but all the trees are only like 5 feet tall so you can see over them and way off into the distance.

Once arriving at the hostel, we met with the rest of the volunteers who had come the day before and settled into our rooms for the next few weeks. We had the first of our orientation sessions on introductions/the basics and then took a run to a store to buy beer for the night! I was thrilled to find that they have a really good brand of cider from South Africa called Hunters- still not Woodchuck, but really good. I also managed to get some peanut butter (phew!). We came back and hung out for awhile, then had our first Namibian braai (BBQ) which Bret and his friends cooked for us. It was absolutely delicious, and I now have no fear of not eating while I'm here! By this point it was about 10PM and I was determined on making it until midnight, even though I hadn't really slept in about 36 hours and was exhausted. A group of us played some games to keep us up, and then turned on the TV to see how Windhoek does New Years. Let me tell you, it is no Times Square. There was a musical group on stage who we later found out was Namibia's most famous group, but you would not have known that by looking at the audience. They were still and silent- no dancing, no singing, no cheering, nothing. The act consisted of some rap, and the singers basically just taking their clothes off. Then some girls in bike shorts and sports bras came out and danced with them. It was all quite interesting. A few minutes before midnight, the guy that owns the hostel invited us outside to countdown and for a champagne toast. I rung in the New Year by dancing and drinking with new friends in a new city.

More to come (hopefully with pictures) at a later date. I miss and love you all so much! Thank you once again for all the support you have all given me, I would not be here without it. Happy New Year everyone!
Love from Africa,

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