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.

Friday, January 23, 2009

My New (Temporary) Home

I went to the (only) bank (in town) yesterday to exchange currency and to inquire about opening a bank account. When I was asked for my home (local) address, I didn't have a real answer; I simply replied, "next to the purple house." My street doesn't have a name and I'm not sure if my house has an actual number. Throughout Namibia, P.O. Boxes are used, rather than direct mail to homes; however, there are streets with names, just not mine, and probably many others in small towns and villages such as Khorixas.

The house picture (of the non-purple house) is of my home, it has three-bedrooms and has been used to house Volunteers for quite a while, it seems. Over the years, numerous break-ins/break-in attempts have forced host and sponsoring organizations to install bars and padlocks all around the dwelling. The town is so small that I have not heard of anyone fearing personal safety, because within a very short period, the assailant would be quickly identified and brought to some form of justice or subject to some form of retribution. On the other hand, the "volunteer house" is sometimes unoccupied and has apparently served as an easy target (in the past) for thieves, even those small enough (kids) to fit through window panes (to steal food and the like). Since the bars, however, I don't think there has been any trouble.

I live with two other Volunteers, one with the Volunteer Service Organization (VSO), an international service organization through the government of the United Kingdom; the other with the Technical Aid Corps (TAC), an international service organization through the government of Nigeria. I was thrilled to learn about TAC. It has been operating since 1987 and sends professionals to developing countries/territories in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. I hadn't heard of a Peace Corps-like organization in an African country before, though I've imagined how valuable and powerful a statement one would be. The TAC Volunteer in my house is a veteran mathematics and science teacher (and an ordained pastor), while another TAC Volunteer in Khorixas is a doctor at the local hospital. The VSO volunteer with whom I live is an IT specialist for education throughout the region (Kunene).

The home is not in the best of shape; but, is surprisingly comfortable and I'm glad I am placed here. There is no running hot water (solution: take a shower in the early evening when the water pipes are still warm from the HOT! sun). The bathroom sink does not work (solution: brush your teeth using water from the bathtub). The shower does not have a catch system for water causing mini-flooding after bathing (solution: use a mop). The home has not been exterminated possibly ever (solution: regularly spray the room with insectiside, sweep insect carcasses away, keep them off the bed, and get over it). I have also begun to form relationships with various local ministry (government) officials; they may have solutions that are a bit more permanent.

I enjoy my housing situation because I have privacy without being pushed to the feeling of isolation. My door has a lock and key (that works with a little wiggle-jiggle action) and the house has a few common areas. It also seems that as Volunteers come and go, appliances and home furnishings come and stay. We have a (fuzzy display) TV; a (fritzy) iron (plus ironing board) and hot pot; dishes, pots, and pans; cookbooks (which I HAVE to use lest I starve) and spices; books and country guides; and plenty of things that I would currently be without if I were placed on my own. I have two offices right now (one at the Ministry of Education and one at the Khorixas Teacher Resource Center(TRC); although, neither is actually MY office, more on the later) and I can walk to work with either roommate, since one works at the Ministry and the other works across the street from the TRC. I also live three houses down from the Deputy Director of the Ministry of Education, who has driven me to or from work a few times in the past week.

The pictured "purple house", which can be seen from the moment you enter Khorixas, belongs to the town clerk.

There are many gravel roads and not many tarred roads throughout town, which makes walking in my sandal-pumps challenging. It also makes riding in "bakkies" (pick-up trucks), which are everywhere, a bit bumpy.

I'll write more about my job, my diet/eating habits, and people of Khorixas later.


  1. One more Obama newspaper. I love the purple house and your quarters are not too shabby either. Boil your water to be safe. Can't wait for the next posting. Love and Prayers

  2. T, looks like you are deep in it! I love it. Doing good work and adventure at the same time. You won't be the same when you finished...you'll be better, stronger, faster...