Schools let out on December 1st when I headed for the Peace Corps Group 46 Reconnect Conference just outside of Windhoek. After that, I bounced around from place to place for the entire month into the beginning of January.
The first place I went after the conference was Windhoek, the capital of Namibia and I stayed there for a couple of days. We ate good food, including some incredible Chinese food from Chinatown, went to a couple of fun bars, and even went to see a movie, a first for me since my birthday back in August (we saw Thor: Ragnarok and it was great).
After Reconnect and Windhoek, I briefly visited another volunteer for a couple of days at her site in order to complete a collaboration project. We worked on her school library and developed some ideas that could also work with my own. However, we were locked out of the school for the second day, so we couldn’t get everything done that we had hoped to get done. But it was really great to visit another site and I hope to do it more!
After I got back, I hopped around to a couple of farms. The first was very close to my site, staying with a woman who runs a café in the village and her family.
Even though my site is in the middle of the Kalahari Desert, the farm grows a lot of fruits and vegetables. There are several agricultural farms in the area. The plants grow by using a special piping with tiny holes running through it that regularly allows for water to drip down into the soil throughout the day. Everything grows beautifully!
One night we went to one of the local tourist lodges that also operates as a flight centre for glider planes – apparently this is one of the best places in the world for it. We got to watch a special ceremony for a pilot who flew his first 1,000 km. Each pilot that does this gets to plant a palm tree out by the airfield. It was really interesting to see. I even met a couple of Americans hailing from Colorado and Alaska.
On the weekend we went out to a dam around 100km away for a day out by the water. It almost felt like a summer day back home in the States – lying in the sun and eating hot dogs.
I then moved on to the farm of my principal’s family, which is located further south than my site and far off the main highway. The area was much rockier and more arid than where I have been, so they days were incredibly hot while the nights were incredibly cold. But, the stargazing was incredible.
The farm was made up of two zinc shack buildings and a smaller concrete building. There were also two outhouses: a concrete drop toilet and another zinc structure.
I slept in a little tent outside except for one night when the bottom fell out of the sky and it rained and flooded the tent. So, I slept in the car that night.
This farm wasn’t agriculture like the first one. This one was dedicated to goats, and I even got to see a goat give birth to an adorable baby boy, which was pretty cool.
After almost a week at the farm, I went back up to Windhoek and hopped on a plane to the UK for Christmas to spend time with my grandparents and my mom. It was so nice to see everyone and a little weird to feel so cold.
We spent the week spending time with each other and working our way through the list of foods I wanted to eat while I was there (fish and chips, Indian, Chinese, and a Cornish Pasty).
The four of us went to town for the day for shopping and to see a traditional English Pantomime. This one was (very loosely) based on the story of Sleeping Beauty ad was so incredibly Cornish. But, Mom and I held our own and understood almost every joke except for one!
We also went to see the new Star Wars movie. Mom really enjoyed it and I was left with a lot of feelings. But, I got to see it again on New Years Day and liked it much better the second time.
I came back from the UK on December 30th and headed to Swakopmund, a small town on the coast. It was such a nice place to be to ring in the new year with some other volunteers from my group.
It was an awesome way to end a month of vacation!