So much has happened since my last blog post, and since I waited so long, it is difficult to summarize it all in a way that captures the essence of my holiday season and captivates the reader at the same time. But since I feel like an update is long overdue, and I find myself with access to internet at the moment, I will do my best to crank this out.
Thanksgiving started with a visit to Alex’s site – Khorixas- to enjoy dinner together before we met up with a larger group of volunteers for a more robust, traditional, acknowledgement of our beloved U.S. holiday. Below are some photos of the first leg of the trip. Unfortunately, my camera died that evening and I do not have any photos from the second Thanksgiving celebrated at Elizabeth’s lovely site – Arandis- where we had a fantastic time. Purchasing items from the nearby Swakopmund equivalent of Whole Foods, resulted in the enjoyment of homemade bread, lemon and herb roasted whole chicken (seasoned by yours truly), green bean and bacon salad, sweet potato and apple pies (thank you Ms. Elizabeth), craft beers (cheers Jordan), and I am probably missing some other dishes. In addition to the great food, we took a nice hike out into the desert to enjoy an amazing sunset, and then watched Age of Ultron when we returned home. Although I truly missed family and friends back home, this was the perfect way to spend Thanksgiving in Namibia with four other great people.
After this little shindig, or what have you, we headed down to Windhoek for an all-volunteer conference commemorating PCs 25th year in Namibia, as well as celebrating Namibia’s independence for just as many years. It was a nice celebration and was neat to see the 130 or more other volunteers serving across this country. We were put up in a pretty nice lodge and got to enjoy huge buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; no complaints there.
After returning from all-vol, there were just a couple of weeks until Christmas, when the party continued.
It started off with my first visitor in Mpungu to date, who spent a couple days in my village before we shipped off to Katima to meet up with two other volunteers we were going with to Zambia to see Victoria falls. It was nice to enjoy some downtime in my village before all the traveling began. Our time in Mpungu consisted of cooking a bunch of food and laying around in a hammock all day. We also celebrated my host sister’s birthday. Because of the holidays, most of Kerthu’s brothers and sisters were around, which made for a really nice time. I have as good of a host family as anyone could ask for- truly.
After time spent in my village we traveled to Katima-Mulilo in the far north eastern corner of Namibia. Again, because I am terrible with my camera, I don’t have any photos from my time in Katima. But know that I had a great time cooking Christmas dinner, playing games, and watching movies with three of my favorite people here. The day after Christmas we went into Zambia, where the highlights of the holidays happened. When we arrived in Livingstone, we checked into a hostel and immediately made our way over to Victoria Falls. Magnificent. We walked around the falls doing our best to appreciate the magnitude of the beauty around us. At one point during our walk we came across a family of wild baboons, so we turned around and went back where we came from. As cool as they are to see, they are not to be messed with. After seeing the falls, we walked around Livingstone, a great town in an otherwise rural country. The tourism undoubtedly plays a huge part in that. We found an amazing Italian restaurant to eat at, and another place that served gelato made in-house. The next day we got up bright an early for our all day, 31k, 25 rapid rafting trip down the Zambezi river. It is hard to put this experience all into words. It was beautiful, powerful, scary, exhilarating, and humbling. We all got banged up pretty good and sunburned, but it was an incredible trip.
Zambia was a great time, but couldn’t last forever. We meandered our way back to Mpungu, but made some stops on the way, visiting volunteers at their sites in Kavango. It is always nice to see how other people are living and hear about the projects they are working on. We made one last stop in Rundu to see how they bring in the new year at the “beach,” located close to town just off the Kavango river. It was a good time, but nothing I would say you need to experience. I mean, there was alcohol, food, and music; so the basics were covered. But I would say it is simply something to do if you are around, but doesn’t warrant a special trip for.
And that is a short synopsis of the festive season for me here in Namibia. The holidays were a lot of fun this year, but now it is time to get back to work and refocus on service. I will provide a work related update next. Until then, and as always, thanks for reading and stay well.