Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
but i will say we are enjoying being in the village despite the learning curve for me. One of the hardest things has been cooking on the fire. Today i discovered something that makes it all worth it. After my work is done i take advantage of the coals. Two words: coconut marshmellows.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
I know this scripture in Matthew 7 is talking about people that hear the words of Jesus and don't listen, but the words keep echoing in my head: like a foolish man who built his house on sand. I feel like that foolish man. As I've said before I know nothing about building houses especially traditional mud houses in Namibia. Sometimes I feel like I've bit off more than I can chew. Fortunately I am not building alone. Elton is an excellent builder. As with any kind of building project, everything costs more than we expected. The roof alone cost $1000 USD which was actually already at a great discount. People here normally build with thatch but unfortunately I am terribly allergic. We are struggling to finish the house properly.
As I've been recently reminded (thanks scott!), one of the reasons I was running from being a missionary in Africa was because I was scared of the very life I've just chosen.....this simple life living in the bush. Its amazing how God has eased me into this lifestyle. First He got me to Africa and allowed me to fall in love with it (and my wonderful husband) so that when it came time to chose this more simple life I was more prepared. We won't have electricity or running water. We are even going to fail to put in a concrete floor I had wished for so we will have mud floors. (What is that going to be like when Quincy starts crawling?!)
Life just becomes more difficult when the baby is crying in the night and you have to light a candle to see what's the problem rather than just flip a switch. Or when you need water, you have to go draw it from a bore hole this is way down the road instead of just turning a tap. Or when you want to cook, you have to light a fire instead of just turning on the stove. Or when you want to wash clothes, first to carry water then to scrub by hand. The great thing about being human is our ability to adapt. I am learning how to do these things, but it takes so much time there is little time left for anything else.
These things I can learn to live with. What I'm really struggling with is this idea of going to the toilet in the bush especially at night. We bought a toilet at a really cheap price, but we are failing to put in a septic system which makes that toilet obsolete. So off to the bush I will go. I don't know how many grown up people you know that are still scared of the dark, but I am one of them. And the darkness here isn't like in America. There are no street lights or city glow to brighten the sky at night. If the stars aren't shining or the moon is small, you can't see you hand in front of your face or the snake that is underneath your feet. I think I just won't drink much before I go to bed.
Another thing is I don't know how I'm going to manage is to cook daily over a wood fire. I am trying but I manage to burn everything including myself. The bottom line is when you are camping cooking over a fire is kind of fun but when it is everyday life, it will get very tiresome. We can buy a simple gas stove with an oven for about N$1500 (about $200 USD) but right now it is also outside our budget.
One of the biggest rookie mistakes I've made in building this house was to ask for more windows. The window frames are sort of expensive, but in my head I thought it was worth it. Since we won't have electricity, why not use the sun to our best advantage by having more windows, right? What I didn't know is that window frames are sold without glass and glass here is ridiculously expensive and somewhat difficult to get. It is almost essential to have either glass or netting on your windows, not only to keep our malaria-ridden mosquitoes but also snakes and other critters.
So I say all of this as a plea for help. We are building this house on our own. The best thing is after it is build our daily living costs will be significantly reduced. But we need help to finish some of these basic things. If we are especially blessed, we can add some of the more modern conveniences to make my life a bit more manageable. In the future, we are praying for the money for a generator or solar panel system both of which are about N$5000 or in our wildest dreams a transformer to be able to hook into the government power which begin at N$20,000. As for water, they say sometime next year the town will be installing a public water line that will pass by our village. Again, it will be affording the connection fee. As for right now, we are praying for the money for a small water tank on a trailer approx. N$5000 that can be filled and parked next to the house.
If anyone is willing to make a donation to help us to finish to build the house, you can mail a check to my parents or contact me personally for the address. You won't receive a tax-deductible receipt.
We will be moving into the house before the end of August with or without these things. Pray for us and especially for my sanity as I struggle with so many changes at one time. We know it is super expensive to come visit, but if you want to make the trip, we welcome any of you. In November, one of our friends who is finishing her peace corp contract is hoping to visit us. Early next year, we expect a friend from the US and possibly a student group. Hopefully in the next year or two somehow Grandma, Grandpa and Auntie will manage to scrape together enough money to come visit Q in her natural habitat.
Matthew 7:24-27 "Therefore everyone who hears these words
of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise
man who built his house on the rock. The rain
came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew
and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because
it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone
who hears these words of mine and does
not put them into practice is like a foolish man
who built his house on sand. The rain came
down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and
beat against that house, and it fell with a great
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
My dear friend Ms. Hoose assumes correctly that she is the umpeenth person to ask me about the movie Babies that was recently in theaters: http://www.filminfocus.com/focusfeatures/film/babies/ Rightfully so because how often do movies that has anything to do with Namibia come out, right? So she has inspired me to blog in response to all your questions.
We are no where near where this movie was filmed. Namibia is a pretty big country and fairly sparely populated. The people that live here are as diverse as its terrain. Opuwo is almost a straight shot west approx. 757 miles/1218 km from Katima Mulilo. (http://www.travelmath.com/drive-time/from/Opuwo,+Namibia/to/Katima+Mulilo,+Namibia)
The tribe featured in this movie are the Himba. They are one of the more unique tribes of Namibia having retained most of their traditional lifestyle. Where we live is mostly Mafwe/Lozi people like Elton. Like the Himba they have maintained a tribal structure, but unlike the Himba have adopted more Western dress and some Western lifestyle. I have never traveled to the Northwest but I have seen a few Himba people selling their crafts in the capital of Windhoek. As you can imagine they draw a lot of stares when they walk down the street.
I didn't actually get to see this movie before we left the States since we were busy with our own baby but I am quite interested in seeing it. Maybe someone can mail it to me when it comes out on DVD.
Last weekend, we finally made it out to Lisikili where Elton's dad is stationed as part of the Namibian Army. It happens to also be where his Grandmother Elizabeth, lives. Grandpa Candy is normally a quiet, pensive sort of fellow but he was in rare form when meeting his newest granddaughter. He doesn't get to see his other granddaughters very often. Elton's sister, Mwenda, lives in the capital Windhoek and can't visit very often. He took Quincy and I shopping on Friday and bought her some diapers, a warmer blanket and some other misc things.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Last night before going to bed I was trying to clean my glasses because everything was looking blurry. I put them back on and realized they were still blurry. After taking a closer look I realized that the left lens has a bunch of cracks right through it. So weird. I don't remember dropping them or anything.
It seems like at any minute it could snap in half. Fortunately I have another pair and large supply of contacts. It's just these are my favorite pair.
Quincy is sending this photo to Tom Rivers.
It basically involves using some sort of bucket or tub. You boil water. Pour it in the tub with some some powdered soap so the soap will dissolve and then add cold water so you don't melt your skin off. In goes the clothes, you swish them around and start scrubbing. You take the clothes in your hand and rub the knuckles of your right hand against the wrist of your left hand. When it is clean, wring it out, put it aside. When you are finished washing everything, fill the basin again and rinse. Its not the scrubbing that is a problem for me, its wringing them out. Quincy's clothes are no problem, but for the adult clothes or blankets, towels, sheets, etc. my hands are SO not strong enough. Having suffered from carpel tunnel syndrome in my office work days, I think I am at a disadvantage. I'm praying that over time I'll grow stronger.
Today is my third time in less than a week and I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. Though the funny thing is its quite a spectacle for people to see a white woman hand washing. Its like Barnum and Baileys has come to town. Very few people have said anything but I have gotten a lot of stares. After finishing what has been the largest load I've done since being here, I stood back and admired my work with a sense of accomplishment. Now if I could just figure out how to light this Namibian wood, I wouldn't be starving my husband. Fortunately his auntie we are staying with a great cook. Maybe I should have been a girl scout or something?
Sunday, June 6, 2010
As I mentioned earlier Elton's already been making arrangements to start building our house in the village. First order of business was to place an order for bush poles.
African construction is quite informal... so different from American. You don't need building permits, deeds to the land or make a lot of fuss over the stuff we normally would. Since Elton is a member of this village, there was little formality other than to chose the location. We picked a lovely shaded spot under a tree just near his paternal grandmother where they recently took down an older house. And in the spirit of recycling we will reuse some of the termite mud from the old house to build ours.
The style of construction we are using is the traditional mud house with some American-friendly modifications. I originally wanted a concrete block house. But relying on Elton's wisdom in construction, I realized how much more economical and time-efficient it would be to build a mud house which is nearly as strong. It is basically a frame made out of thick bush poles as the support, thinner bush poles as the rafters which are then packed with mud from a termite mound. When its dry it looks just like concrete. It will have a zinc sheet roof and a poured concrete floor (one of the modifications). I also requested a shower and toilet inside the house which will be made out of concrete block...also something you don't normally find in a traditional home. They have more of a shower/latrine surrounded by a grass fence. If you have more serious business to do, you head to the bush. At this point a toilet and shower are almost moot because there is no running water in the village. The manual pump on the borehole well in the village has been broken for nearly 8 years without being fixed by the government. They have to travel quite a distance to fetch water. We bought a new pump head thinking it would solve the problem, but alas it hasn't. We've applied to the government water company to dig a new well but they said it won't happen until January 2011 unless we can pay something to the equivalent of $10,000 USD which is, of course, out of the question. Be praying this complication works out.
The other sticky wicket is the cost of a transformer to get our village hooked up with some electricity. We've heard it can cost nearly N$30,000 plus labor which at an approx. 7.9% exchange rate... you do the math, it's expensive! Not only would it service the whole village, but it might help solve some of our water issues if we could use an electric pump. We're exploring the other options like solar power, battery or generator. Fortunately for cooking we can get a gas stove, but for our other modern conveniences like a refridge, TV/DVD, laptops, and Elton's playstation we need to make other means.
So today Elton came back from buying bush poles to build our new house. His cousin Blanco handed me some reddish sticks. I thought they were samples of what we were buying. They were rather short and looked rather weak to hold up a house, but what do I know about African construction, right? Never in a million years did I realize within minutes I'd be enjoying a lovely afternoon snack. Turns out it was sugar cane! You take off the hard the bark and chew on the inside sucking out the sweet juice. Then you spit out the cane. What a treat for the whole village, young and old alike. I highly recommend it!
We've arrived safe and sound back to Namibia. Quincy's been busy meeting her new family. She's quite popular as you can imagine especially with all the small children. It's been non-stop visiting since we've arrived. It's been great for her to get to know Elton's grandmothers, her great-grandmothers. They fuss over her with the best of them. They are constantly worried that she too cold or too hungry. Our friends Fortune and Sophia had a girl, Ariel, 1 week before Quincy and Elton’s cousin Benstien and Doreen just had a girl named Anna 2 weeks ago. Quincy will have lots of playmates her age. She has yet to meet her maternal great-grandmother and Elton's dad.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The clock is ticking.... 12 more hours from now the Mubuyaeta's will be on a plane back to Namibia.