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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Big Packdown – Part 2

It’s pack and upack time again. On Monday, 1 February, I moved out of Khorixas, my home of the past 12 months, and I relocated to a home in Keetmanshoop, another, albeit larger, town in Namibia. As I drove out of Khorixas, I was quiet and was not able to keep back a few of the tears. The year was eventful and I have a lot of memories to hold dear and close.

Keetmanshoop is located in the south of Namibia in the region of Karas; while Khorixas is located in the Northwestern region of Kunene. The full 1000km trip, with stops and meetings, took about 13 hours. We departed Khorixas at 8:30am and arrived at my new place at 9:30pm. As such, I haven’t actually seen Keetmanshoop yet because it was dark when we arrived.

Packing was interesting. Unlike my trip TO Namibia in December 2008 and my study abroad experience in 1993/94, I CANNOT carry all of my current belongings all-by-myself (see my post on packing). I arrived in Namibia with simply a duffle bag; a large suitcase, a small suitcase, and a backpack, so about 3.5 bags. As shown in the photo, I now have at least twice that many bags and all kind of extra knick-knacks. My possessions have definitely grown over the year.
A few big items that I have now that I did not have when arriving in 2008 are:

* A Standing fan (the heat in the desert is a bit wicked)
* A Night/Reading Light (although I didn’t really use it because I was usually too lazy to turn off the overhead light AND it attracted bugs closer to me)
* a Big Blanket (it actually does get cold during the winter nights – ask my mother and my girlie, Denise)
* a Toddler Tub (yes, for me. Laugh if you like. I have no running hot water and sometimes a soak, even partial body, is necessary)
* Books and Files (textbooks, country guides, academic records, centre documents)

I also packed consumables (pasta, canned food, oatmeal, spices), cleaning supplies, insecticides, and toiletries (big Costco bottles of vitamins I’ve never used and why do I have 10 bottles of hand sanitizer?) that will relieve the bulk once they’re used up. Oh, and I also have a small suitcase entirely full of items for the Centre and schools. So that doesn’t really count either.

My packing also felt out-of-control because I have expanded my clothing wardrobe over the past 12 months – dresses, skirts, blouses, pants, shoes. I honestly do not know how I have like 30 pairs of socks. Underwear, yes, but socks? Some clothes do not fit any more (yes, a little “freshman 15” – all in the hips and thighs); others, I simply do not wear; while still others, mom sent to me from the States and I have yet to actually wear them. Accordingly, I donated a bag of clothes to the Catholic church in Khorixas and passed others on to friends of similar size. I’ll deal with my shoe-collection later.

Luckily I had a bakkie (pick-up truck) to transport me to Keetmanshoop and I was the only passenger, so I kept all the big items. I can donate the blanket, fan, light, and toddler tub before leaving Namibia. My mini-library of books and files will definitely remain with me for future reference and research.

The trip wasn’t really that bad. I learned more about Herero culture (I think I’ll do more research and write a post about various marriage rituals and customs in the country), I shared with the driving, and no one blinked at the amount of luggage I brought.

And my new home is nice. I have running hot water, which I’ll soon use to wash my hair. I’ll miss my housemate and actually having a housemate, though. I’m by myself in this house. And I’ll miss the TV, universal DVD-player, and satellite dish from Khorixas. BUT, I guess I’ll make do.
By the way, I did NOT pack the baby in the suitcase pictured in the photo.


  1. No TV wow! But you now have hot running water and a ride, not a bad trade off (well). You will find entertainment soon.

  2. I don't have a ride. I'm actually more stuck here than in Khorixas. I'm somewhat removed from town and can't walk to the stores/markets.

  3. I thought you have a ministry vehicle available to you? Not true? Then how will you get groceries and stuff? Don't like this too much.