The ideas and thoughts expressed within this blog are not the views or opinions of WorldTeach nor the Namibia Ministry of Education, but rather my personal views.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Big PACKdown!

I’m surprised I can still carry a year’s worth of my living needs (clothes, toiletries, quasi-essential electronics, books/professional supplies) all by myself (or with only a little assistance). When I studied abroad for 9-months in college, I simply had one super-large convertible backpack. That was 15 years ago. I have amassed a few more things since then.

For this journey to Namibia, I packed all of my things into a large internal frame backpack, a large suitcase, a small carry-on suitcase, and a small backpack. En route to Namibia and with my current load, I have a flight from Phoenix to NYC, NYC to Dulles(Va), Dulles to Johannesburg, Johannesburg to Windhoek(Namibia), then from Windhoek to Khorixas; SO, I need to either be practical in packing or practice limping from the strain of the weight. There is some travel between my arrival in Windhoek and my arrival in Khorixas; but, I won’t have to carry all of my things with me during those few days. I think I did somewhat okay. Here are the contents of my luggage:

· Shoes (flip-flops, tennis shoes/sneakers, two pairs of sandals, a pair of dress shoes, hiking boots)
· Pants (jeans-2, cargo pants-2, khakis-1, slacks-1, gouchos-1)
· Skirts (1)
· Dresses (4)
· Suit (1)
· Blouses/Work Shirts (7)
· Casual/Sportwear (sweatsuit, t-shirts-5, shorts-3, bathing suit, sarong, tank tops-2)
· Pajamas(1)/Undergarments(20+)
· Jacket (1)
LINEN (Sleeping Bag, Travel Pillow, Twin Bedding Set, Towels-2, Washcloths-3)
ELECTRONICS (Camera, Laptop, DVDs, iPod/Speakers, Battery Charger, Batteries, Travel Radio, Digital Audio Recorder, Webcam, International Converter Kit, Phone, Electronics Cords/Accessories)
TOILETRIES/PERSONAL ITEMS (First-Aid Kit, Flashlight, Pocketknife, Solar Shower, Travel Scrabble, Uno, Sunscreen, Medication/Vitamins, Insect Repellant, Deodorant, Soap, Toothbrush/toothpaste, Snacks, Umbrella, Poncho)
GUIDES/LITERATURE (Country/Region Guides, Maps, Program Notebooks-2, Quasi-Pleasure Reading – 3)

In my next post, I’ll share more about my 14-hour flight to Johannesburg with 21 fellow WorldTeach Volunteers!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Change of Placement: Khorixas

A few weeks ago, I received notice that I would not be placed in Ongwediva because the Plato Center (which I would be coordinating) would not be up and running in time for my arrival. I was then reassigned to the Plato Center in Khorixas, which is located in the Kunene region (North-west Namibia). It was suggested that I could spend part of the year in Khorixas and move to Ongwediva when the Center there opens. Khorixas is considered the unofficial capital of Kunene and has shops and access by tar road to other parts of Namibia.

This morning, I received more details about the assignment. Here is an excerpt from the e-mail. I removed personal names.


"...the Plato Center is new in Khorixas so it seems that you will be one of the couple of people getting kids in there for the first time. I understand that they are going to also assign a Namibian teacher to be your counterpart or colleague. (The Namibia Ministry of Education liaison) said that mornings you will likely work with community members such as grade 10/12 failures who are trying to improve their skills and retake the exams. School groups from surrounding schools will also visit the center at times you determine with them. And there will likely be a need/opportunity for after school hours for kids to come by and use the software. I don't know if I told you, but in Keetmanshoop (the site of another Plato Center) there are sort of "drop in hours" after school. I imagine that you will have a big role in shaping the programming. Your work schedule will partly be determined by the programming you set in place (in terms of school appointments, morning and after school use, etc) but I imagine it will be a 8 am-5 pm type deal. My new contact says that you'll mainly be working with kids grades 8-12.

I spoke to the Deputy Director for the region today. He is the one sorting out housing. I understand that the housing they originally wanted might not work because only men are living there now. He's working something out, perhaps at a neighboring school. He assures me that he's working on it and I will continue to talk to him about it this week.

The closest volunteer to you will be (a volunteer) in Kamanjab, also Kunene Region. I'd estimate that she's about an hour or two north of you. Further north another two hours from Kamanjab will be three volunteers in the Opuwo area. I'll let you know about housing as soon as it's sorted.

Take care, (Namibia WorldTeach Program Field Director)