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Opuwo! (“The end” in Otjiherero) October 15, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Communication, Cows, Culture, Eh?, Home and away, Ovitoto, VSO.
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It was time to make my final visit to Ovitoto a few weeks back. I had this nagging feeling that there was something really important that I’d forgotten to do. I also hadn’t heard from Tjono in weeks. No matter which phone I called in the village, I either found the line disconnected, or received a response of “Oh, Tjono…. He is not here,…. He is in the place” (where “the place” really is often depends on who you are talking to, but all I knew was that he was not where he should have been, on the end of the phone to me).


Having set up a last minute meeting with the Regional Councillor, so that he can meet my replacement and that I can say cheerio, we made the immediate decision to drive up that day and take our chances with having the room to stay at the school and that everyone we needed to meet would be there. I felt pretty groggy as I took the turn-off on to the gravel road to Ovitoto, trying to give my successor a crash-course in Herero customs and greetings, whilst choking on the dust that blew in through the broken cover of my friend’s Jeep I was borrowing.



Ethical giving September 25, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Culture, Goodness, Home and away, Money, Namibia, VSO.
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Earlier this year, my old housemate Matthias went home for his father’s 60th birthday. It sounded like they had quite a party, but with a warming message: instead of receiving any presents, Matthias’ father would rather accept money to donate to worthy causes that Matthias knew of in Namibia. Together they raised over 3000 Euros, a hefty amount by any standards. (more…)

Alcohol gives you AIDS July 24, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Communication, Culture, Danger, Namibia, Ovitoto, Violence, VSO.

My intention of doing this alcohol awareness campaign wasn’t to tell the kids not to drink; it was to educate them on what alcohol is, how it effects you physically, socially and emotionally, and to open a discussion on how alcohol is used in their society and what the consequences of these activities are. The legal age to drink alcohol in Namibia is 18, same as back home, but having been an underage drinker myself, I know that kids start drinking at a young age, and that by telling them not to will just encourage them to go out and try it.

I used some of the excellent resources that the Portman Group and Drink Aware Trust produce to figure out ways to develop this workshop. But the reasons and situations of kids drinking alcohol in the UK differs hugely from why and how kids drink alcohol here in Namibia. After weeks of research on alcohol abuse, domestic abuse and HIV and rape statistics, I decided to scrap most of what I had found out and get the kids to tell me what they knew. They weren’t going to care about statistics, or understand about the function of the liver or how many units were in a bottle of beer. I had to go local, and so roped in Milly and Tjono for translation (and later proven, crowd control).


A global education May 29, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Creatures, Eco-goodness, Education, Home and away, Hot, Namibia, Oh..interesting, Out of the city, The job, Time out, VSO.
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One of the perks of being a VSO in Namibia is that we get Global Education trips (other VSO countries don’t get them!). VSO subsidise trips for about 30 volunteers to go to a particular part of Namibia to learn about an aspect of the country. The trips are decided and arranged by volunteers, and are a great opportunity to meet other volunteers from different backgrounds and living in different regions, as well as a chance to catch up with some of the group that I came out with. This trip was to look at Desert Conservation and Tourism, based in Swakopmund on the coast with a night camping at Gobabeb Desert Research Station in the er.. desert. And being a Global Education trip, and the VSO motto being “Sharing Skills, Changing Lives”, I feel it is appropriate to share my findings and learnings with you.


Flip chart pads at the ready March 23, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Communication, Eco-goodness, Gender, Namibia, The job, VSO.

Last week I was feeling more than a little frustrated with work, mostly stemming from the lacking sense of urgency and apparent disinterest in communicating important information by certain members of the village. I spent the weekend fretting about the follow-up trainings that we had had to postpone to Monday, the first day of the week of Independence Day. To the best of my knowledge, Tjono had not received my fax of military-style orders on how to recoordinate this training so that people turn up, nor had the Otjiherero radio retransmitted our broadcasts with amended dates, set to confuse all trainees.
I spent Sunday searching through VSO’s Participatory Tools Manual for appropriate activities to do with the trainees, taking into account the language barrier, the unknown literacy level, the social hierarchy within the group, and the fact that, in my experience, Namibians in a group will often agree with whatever is said, even if it contradicts something said earlier, and will spend much of the time complaining about the food. I also did not want to end up in a lecturing position, I was there to facilitate the workshop, and let them run it themselves.
Armed with leafs of flip chart paper, coloured pens, biscuits and notes scattered between scraps of loose paper, we set off for Ovitoto. We arrive a bit late, and there is no one at the Regional Councillor’s Office or at our ECO-C. But then a few familiar faces appeared from the local shop. Trainees!! 4 of them! Well, better than nothing. Rather confusingly however, these 4 trainees were from different training groups, which totally threw my structure of Tso-tso-Stoves-in-the-morning and Home-Garden-in-the-afternoon, so we combine them. Another two trainees arrived a little later and we got started with the activities. We had also managed to commandeer the Board Room at the Councillor’s Office, so no squatting under a tree for me!
Instead of us telling them what they learnt in the trainings last year, we ask them to make a list of what they learnt and present it to the other groups, highlighting what was most useful, what wasn’t useful and so on. This worked marvellously, as they set about it arduously, arguing over the smallest details. VSO would be so proud.
When doing these sort of brain-storming activities back home, participants often scrawl down key words, which often only make sense when presented to the group. Our participants however wrote neatly in full sentences, in English, even though we encouraged them to write in whatever language they felt comfortable. Since English is the third language for most people in Ovitoto, this became quite a long process, as they conjugated verbs, bickered over grammar and asked me to spell words for them. I may have mentioned before that the Hereros are very proud people, and it certainly shined through as they were determined to present their ideas to us as well as they could. The presentations and discussions went really well and the results of this activity were far beyond what I expected, and I felt bad for underestimating them. They even listened to me when I joined in – more often than not, I am ignored (still), as my status as a young, unmarried, childless woman commands it.
At 2, four more trainees turned up for the afternoon follow-up training, which was confusing for all as they hadn’t realised we had started early. Alessandro took them through a discussion on why you would want to run a business, and put them in groups to discuss what they would need to set up a Tso-tso Stove Manufacturing or a Home Improvement Enterprise, with a little hope that these groups may become more solid in the future
At the end, it was time for them to receive the training manuals, which I had pain-stakingly prepared for them, and their certificates of attendance. Although we weren’t able to grant them actual qualifications, Namibians are super-keen on certificates and formal bits of paper. After Alessandro had signed the certificates, I too signed them and began handing them out. Elvis, the first guy I handed one to, gave me a stern look and handed it back to me and then nodded at Alessandro. So I handed the certificate back to Alessandro, and a dramatic certificate-exchange-hand-shake began, which Alessandro was to perform with each trainee. Clearly being given a certificate by me was not enough, and they would only accept them from the Man, with the handshake. Again, I was put back in my place.
In the end though, we had 4 trainees turn up out of the 7 trainees from the Tso-tso stove training, and 10 from the original 15 from the Home Garden training. Not bad, considering I was anticipating a day on my own, waiting in a field. It also meant that those who turned up were genuinely interested in the project, and hopefully we can begin setting up a few income-generating enterprises in the community. Or maybe it was the biscuits, fruit juice and N$20 they each get for coming that brought them along. But I put my bets on my addition to the radio broadcasts: “Trainees will be able to collect their certificates at the follow-up trainings.”
There’s nothing like a little gentle persuasion.

New Year’s Eve, and our return January 8, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Namibia, Out of the city, Peculiarities, Raaah!, VSO.
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Grey, cold and rainy. In Africa? ‘fraid so (it’s rainy season). After a lazy brekkie with all of our crew, we set off to see the real reason for visiting Livingstone… Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World no less! Despite no sun to reflect rainbows, and some saying that the water is quite low at this time of year, it was incredible. The geology of the area is actually fascinating, creating the falls through a series of fault lines, which present themselves as a series of zigzagging gorges (like the one I’d jumped into the day before). We had a good wander around, viewing it from different angles (not the Zimbabwean side though – too pricey!), including some time admiring the brave/stupid bungee-jumpers. Back in the car park, we had a baboon jump in the car and steal a bag of rubbish, which startled those who were present.
Back in town, I went for lunch (which I suspect could’ve been the cause of my poisoning), and then it was time to get ready for the festivities (amazingly some of the girls spent two hours doing this – even as a girl, I’m still not really sure what takes so long about washing and putting on clothes).
4.30pm: our party congregated at Alexa’s place, where a bus took us off to the shores of the Zambezi. Finally the sun had come out for us, heating up the already humid waters. After a quick drink on land, we board our private cruise for the evening: a perfectly-sized, floating deck, full with (free!) bar and braai. Our little party had volunteers from Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and of course Namibia, as well as some local friends of Alexa’s, and two lovely Aussies we met in the hostel who are volunteering in Tanzania; about 25 in total! Our cruise took us up and down the Zambezi, where we spotted lots of lovely squidgy hippos and a token crocodile. It was so great to catch up with everyone and meet some locals and new people.
We docked around 8pm, where the party got started at the Taonga bar. [Sadly this was also where my salmonella started up, so I started on the water, whilst others were knocking back shots and Mosi – and I was still the most ill the next morning!]. However I still got involved in the party, which was split between the thatch hut bar and next door stage with a live performing band, both packed with locals and tourists alike. The band was a great hit with us, playing lots of Mr Marley, and even allowed us to sing along. I was invited up to sing back-up to ‘In The Jungle’, doing the ‘a-wum-a-way, a-wum-a-way….oooohhhh’ bit (get me!!) – various others got involved in other renditions too. By then the rain had started, but no one really cared, as we danced away on the sand, under the palm trees. Later on, a group of 5 acrobats broke out in the most dazzling performance of balance, strength and bendiness, causing quite a stir amongst the female members of the audience.
Midnight was celebrated dancing in the tropical rain, with much hugging and jumping around, followed by a fumbled attempt at Auld Lang Syne, which no one knew the words too.
Around 1am, the bus took us back to the hostel (where I bailed), and the party continued on to a nightclub, where the fun and frolics continued. I tried the club a while later, but lasted about 10 minutes, before returning to my bed.
(I think I lasted pretty well considering I spent much of my evening emptying my stomach)

New Year’s Day was highly unpleasant, and involved a trip to the doctor. We left on the 2nd, with Ant (a VSO from northern Namibia), and crossed back to our homeland of Namibia. We spent the night at Rose’s, another VSO, house in Rundu, who we’d bumped into in Livingstone (small world!). We got back to Windhoek in good time on the 3rd.

And that’s the end of our adventure.
No car-jackings. No kidnapping. No violent attacks.
Only one serious illness, and one robbery (it wouldn’t be a complete trip for me without it!). I wouldn’t say Southern Africa is much more dangerous than any other place I have visited – it gets a really bad rap. But it certainly has the beauty, charm and life that you would expect of it. And some.

Swinging from low to high, to low and up again January 8, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Out of the city, Peculiarities, Raaah!, VSO.
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Day 11: an early start prompts me to be active with laundry (there’s only so much dirt I can stand), breakfast, moving to a private dorm for just our group, and looking at all the tourist trips in Livingstone. Then panic strikes, my wallet is missing. With about US$150 and all of my bank cards in it. I report it to reception and all the staff set about searching the site for it. Since I hadn’t left the backpackers that day, I knew someone there had taken it. I just couldn’t understand, as I hadn’t left my bag unattended for barely a second all day – and I never keep all my money and cards in one place, but had forgotten to change it around on this one occasion. Rah!! Fretting and miserable, I head off to change the rest of my traveller’s cheques, calculating how I would be able to live without my cards or money. The lady at JollyBoys reception reassured me that the wallet could still turn up, and to not cancel my cards yet as credit card fraud is so rare in zambia as they just don’t have the technology. To delay returning to the hostel to be told that my wallet was still missing, we stopped off at the surprisingly good and informative Livingstone Museum – I’d highly recommend it to anyone passing through the area, if you like that sort of thing.
I get back to the hostel for lunch to amazing news….they had my wallet! The maids had found it wrapped in the sheets of a bed in the 16-man dorm, which they were stripping after the occupant had earlier checked out. Needless to say, the cash was gone (apart from a bit of Malawian kwatcha!?), but I had my cards, which brought me great joy. On retrospect, I think my wallet was pinched whilst I was washing up in the kitchen, and the suspects had immediately checked-out, and had been staying in that dorm. Bastards. But there’s no point in crying over stolen money and I didn’t want it to ruin a so-far amazing trip (although there was lots of swearing, sulking and feet-stomping); and they have just given themselves some hideous karma which will pay them back in due time.
And the day had plenty more excitement to come….
At 1.30pm, we were picked up to go jump into a 70m deep gorge. Livingstone is the place to do action, and being on a volunteer’s budget meant that white-water rafting, microlight flights and bungee was out the question. But the Gorge Swing was worth every cent. We were taken to the ridge of a massive gorge downstream of the Victoria Falls, where we were harnessed up and told to literally step into a 53m free-fall, before the swing cord would become taut and would swing us across the gorge bottom to the other side, and back, and forth, before being lowered to a platform where ‘the catcher’ would, well, catch us and put us back on the ground. I was quite ok with this until I was taken out the platform, had my toes curled around the ledge, with nothing to hold onto other than a wire cord attached to my harness. But as told, on the count of three, I stepped out into the gorge and plummeted 53m in 3 seconds, grazing the gorge walls (or so it felt!) before swinging widely across the gorge. Only on my fifth swing did I actually start to appreciate the view, which was awe-striking. As I was lowered down, Joost (who had jumped just before me) was there laughing at me, as I found the ground and stumbled around shaking uncontrollably. We then had to hike out of this gorge, up steep rocky terrain in a hot, humid and windless valley (they kindly lowered out shoes down after the jump for this). It took quite a while to get ready for the next one after this hike.
Next Joost and I did a tandem jump. They don’t tell you this beforehand, but you can’t step off forward in tandem, but have to roll off backwards!! So side-by-side with our back to the gorge, one hand gripping each other’s harness and the other gripping our support wire, we squat down and gently roll backwards off the ledge. Falling on our backs, we could only see the gorge whipping past us backwards, as we plunged faster than before. The tandem was by far more terrifying option. It made me feel alive at least. Thankfully a cold beer was waiting for us after our hike back to the top! (I would also like to take this opportunity to apologise to any children who were present to witness my terrible language as I fell.)
Back at the hostel, we bumped into the rest of our party, had some dinner and then hit the town.

And so our trip continued… January 8, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Out of the city, Peculiarities, Raaah!, VSO.
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Day 8, 27th December: If we wanted to make Livingstone in time for New Year’s, we had to leave the little paradise that is Kande Beach, and hit the road again. With Liz and Hill as new passengers, we set off to drop Hill off in Mzuzu so that he could get back to his village, and then set off for Chipata, to crash again at Sally-Anne and Henry’s. Some of the other YfDs (Anna, Kat and Alexa) were meant to join us there, but didn’t have their hire-car insurance papers at the border so had to spend the night back in Lilongwe.

Day 9: Leaving Chipata, now with Sally-Anne and Liz as passengers, and the relief that Sally-Anne could do some of the driving, we set off to Lusaka. We stopped at the mall on our way in and discovered a Subway, where we embraced all the generic fast-food flavours we could. Swinging by the VSO Zambia office (in a city-centre tower block, total contrast to our leafy suburban bungalow in Windhoek) to collect keys for Hilary and Hannah’s, and went to let ourselves in, as they were at Lake Kariba. The other girls arrived later with Henry after an exhausting mission from Lilongwe to Lusaka, and we treated ourselves to dinner at the mall, and the new Bond movie at the cinema. There isn’t a cinema in Malawi, nor in the rural areas that the others live in, so this was a real treat for them (I’d actually seen the film back in the UK during my visit, but could’ve seen it in Windhoek as we have an OK cinema there – one of two in Namibia…..ohhhh!).

Day 10: Now with Sally-Anne and Henry as passengers, we set off for Livingstone from Lusaka. As I was driving out of the city, I was flagged down by a policeman on the freeway: uh-oh! I pulled over and was informed that I’d been speeding at 90km/hr. ‘But isn’t it a 120km/hr speed limit?’, I fret. ‘No, it’s a 65km/hr limit, the 120km/hr speed limit starts in about 300m. Please get out the car and speak to the lady officer over there who will advise you on your fine.’ I wobble over to her, to be told I owe a fine of 67,000 Zambian kwatcha. Muddled by figures and different currency rates, I freak out thinking this is close to a ton, and start pleading that I’m Namibian, driving a Namibian car and that I had no idea about the area’s speed limits. Back in the car, Joost gives me a 50,000 and a 20,000 bill, which I take back to the lady. ‘Do you have any change?’, I ask. She looks at me, takes the 50,000 kwatcha, leaving me with the 20,000 bill, and whispers, ‘Use this for petrol. Now drive safely.’ !!!! So not only did I get a speeding fine, but I managed to get a discount on it, without even flirting! (NB: 67,000 Zambian kwatcha is only about 8 quid, but I was thinking in Malawian kwatcha, which would have been about 270 quid – phew!).
The rest of the journey was quite uneventful in comparison, but a total delight again as this stretch is just stunning.
We arrive in good time, check back into JollyBoys, swim in the pool, chill in the bar, change some traveller’s cheques, and relax.

Road trippin’ (Part 1) January 5, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Namibia, Out of the city, Peculiarities, VSO.

Distance travelled: 6136km.

Transport method: Mazda 323, 1991 model, 1.3l engine, red aka ‘Red Rachel’.

Countries visited: Namibia, Zambia,Malawi. Countries viewed from a distance: Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique (and nowhere near DRC!)

Whole days spent in the car: 10.

No of times the car broken down: None!! (although we did have to visit a mechanic on day two…).

Speeding tickets: 1.

Obscene taxes paid at border crossings: too many (carbon emission tax anyone?!?!).

No of creatures that suffered their fate at the bumper/windscreen of Red Rachel: sorry, but it was us or them!

Our beloved mode of transport, Red Rachel

Before embarking on this perceived-‘unachievable’, ‘dangerous’ and ‘reckless’ Christmas adventure, friends, family and strangers urged me to keep them up to date with our progress, and to share our adventures on our return. Unable to do the former, I shall begin with latter. And following complaints that I write too much (you don’t have to read it all!!), I shall draft it in bite-sized chunks, starting with a summary, and eventually filling in the details of people met, sites seen, lessons learnt, and unforgettable experiences never to be forgotten.

I was back in the UK for the two weeks before I left on this trip. When asked why I wasn’t staying for Christmas, I would share our plan to drive from Namibia to Lake Malawi in 5 days to be there in time for Christmas, in a car almost as old as myself. Friends generally cast out cries of ‘wow, you lucky thing, that’ll be amazing, etc’, whilst my family and most people over 35 exclaimed ‘are you stupid? Do you know how far that is? Do you have a death wish?!?!’. I will only admit now that I was hugely concerned about this trip, which I had whimsically thought up when other Christmas options in Namibia seemed rather bleak (everyone was leaving town!).

It was really my frightfully concerned mother, who I have worried sick with silly adventures over the years, that got me really worried but also pretty prepared. Her constant questioning and fretting forced me to come up with a wealth of worse-case-scenario-solutions and justifications for why this trip wouldn’t end in a sombre phone call from the Foreign Office. So Thanks mum. And may I add a slightly smug, ‘I told you so’, since we made it, with little incident and only one known potentially-fatal illness.

And so to the trip, here is our rough itinery…

Day 1, 20th December: my dear companion Joost and I left Windhoek in a fully-packed Red Rachel, heading to Rundu, 700km away in the north. We were joined by Hesron, a student from the College of Arts, who had no money for petrol for his journey back to his home in Rundu for the holidays, but in return allowed us to camp in his family homestead by the Kavango River, with a great dinner and breakfast included.

Day 2: after a stressful visit to the mechanic (details to follow), we drove  from Rundu, 500km across the Caprivi Strip to Katima Mulio, and the border to Zambia. Here we got scammed and ripped off by various officials, including my visa (I had to haggle a price! N$540, down from N$1000), Council Development Tax (N$75), and Carbon Emission Tax (N$100) for all the carbon we will emit during our time in Zambia – how could we have not thought of that!!

We were slightly shocked find out that our destination, Livingstone, was a further 200km, not the 70km that some joker had previously told me! We made it to Livingstone around 7pm, checked into the lovely and very helpful JollyBoys Backpackers.

Day 3: We left Livingstone along pot-holed roads, and had the most enjoyable drive 580km to Lusaka, through the lush rolling hills of
Zambia. We passed beautiful and vibrant towns, and I fell deeper and deeper in love with the country with every km we made. In the contrasting dirty Lusaka, we stayed with Hilary and Hannah, and were joined by Rachel, all other VSO YfDs for a chilled evening of delicious food (courtesy of the VSO cookbook) and laughter-filled catching up.

Cruising through the Zambian countryside

Day 4: Crawling through the Lusaka Saturday morning rush-hour, we made it onto the winding road 700km to Chipata, passing many a jack-knifed lorry and flipped car – we took the roads vigilantly! In Chipata, we stayed with Sally-Anne and Henry, two more YfDs, and shared a charming evening with them and Henry’s Zambian boss and his wife. 

Day 5, Christmas Eve: after having got brutally ripped off by black-market money-changers, we left Chipata and drove the 20km to the Malawian border. This was less eventful, and almost enjoyable, and then drove through to Lilongwe, the capital. I stupidly had left the directions to the beach on my email, and desperately needed to find internet – in a developing country, on Christmas Eve – er…nice one! Whilst inquiring at a hotel, the receptionist informed me that the resort we were heading to was closed after a drugs bust. £$%*!!! We found internet, which bared no emails from my friends saying the resort was closed, got the directions, and set off to the lake. We arrived just before dusk, to meet yet more YfD volunteers and the most moving sunset over the lake. After a well-deserved swim in the warm waters of Lake Malawi, we scrubbed up and joined the others for a hearty meal and celebratory drinks in the beach bar. We were a party of 9, with Pete, Hill, Hazel, Kat and Anna from Malawi, Li from Mozambique, and Alexa from Zambia, and of course Joost and I.

Day 6, CHRISTMAS DAY: woke up in paradise, and opened the presents from my brothers that I had saved to open on the beach – what a treat! I spent the morning learning to play Bao, a popular African board game, with a local guy called Andy from Kande, whilst freaking out that the clothes I’d given to another local were being washed in the lake and left to dry on the sand (they came back way dirtier and I paid £4 for the privilege!).
After lunch, the resort’s scuba instructor, Stu took Hill, Joost and I out on canoes to Kande Island, for exploring, snorkelling and a little cliff-jumping. There were so many fish, of all colours, like swimming in a big fishtank. Such a treat! Some of the girls went horse-riding along the beach. A beach football match broke out when we got back.
In the evening, we had a huge traditional Christmas dinner at the Soft Sand Café, with crackers and turkey and even Slade and Wham! playing in the background. After dinner, we migrated to the beach for fireworks, a bonfire, some dubious ‘local wine’ and lots of drumming and drunk Malawian men.

Day 7, Boxing Day: what a lazy day, spent lounging on the beach, although I did manage to get burnt in the shade in SPF 40! A half-arsed attempt at a volleyball started around sunset, and then we retired to the bar. An early night was had by all.

This is as far as I can write for now, as I feel a wave of nausea and the shakes starting up again. Part Two shall come shortly, followed by more details of the weird and wonderful encounters we had on this adventure.

Go to my Flickr link to view pics….

…. and a salmonella new year!! January 5, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Namibia, Raaah!, VSO.
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So after two weeks on the road, we arrived back safely in hot sunny
Windhoek. I’m grateful to be back; to not spend another day pushing to reach our destination before sunset, to not encounter another official wanting to rip off the muzungus, to not have to repack my bag of damp dirty clothes, to be able to sleep in my own bed. But my main delight in being back is because I’m ill. Starting on New Year’s Eve, and gradually resembling the girl from the Exorcist more and more throughout NY Day, I was eventually whisked off to the doctor to be diagnosed with a nasty bout of salmonella. Happy bloody new year to me! Two days in a (now stinky) car back to
Windhoek didn’t help of course, nor does the fact the antibiotics I’m on make me nauseous, feverish and shaky. But I’ve been to the doctor here (once I found one, as they all appear to be on holiday!), and they think I’m on the mend (although they don’t seem to know what’s really wrong). The main problem with this whole sickness thing though is that I haven’t been able to take my antimalarials for the last week or so, but was bitten heaps up north all the same, and so am at risk of developing malaria shortly after I recover from this. And bilharzia could be a risk too after spending Christmas frolicking around
Lake Malawi. Oh dear! Don’t worry though, I have the doctor on speed-dial, and the VSO office is clued in and is fantastically supportive.


Another plus is that my boss has gone away and shut the office til Monday, so I am working from home on a funding proposal. I wouldn’t have been able to make the 30min hilly walk anyway, especially in this heat. The problem with this is that I am house-bound, but
Windhoek is still empty due to the extended holiday everyone takes at this time of year, so I don’t really have any reason to go out! It’s quite a treat to spend a few days in bed, even if it is because I feel pants, and even if I am working!