Monday, June 26, 2006

So things are going ok in Nam… For the most part. Since the last post, there has been quite a bit of random happenings. I put up last post while reroute to Swakop for the all PCV conference. After a tremendously long bus ride – by the way, good job PC for getting us transport, hiking that far is always a huge downer – we rolled into the Namib dessert and descended upon the big city. I think there were some 100 or so volunteers present at the conference. (Side note – 100PCVs + Big City + Night Clubs + Months of Stress + Other = 3 Day Party) The conference itself focused on how the individual PCV can implement HIV activities into his or her service. In many ways it was infinitely useful, and very cool to meet volunteers who have been around in-country longer than our group, but it also also had its redundant moments. Also, as before illustrated, the fact that we were all chillin in a huge city, complete with upscale restaurants, warm showers, and even night clubs and posh bars, made the trip into a much needed vacation and mental break. Not tying to say that the Bush isn’t cool though…
The couple of weeks leading up to the conference had been some of the hardest that I have been through since the start of my service; though, in many ways I think that they were good weeks for me to go through. It started with me getting back from a vacation, which though fun, was extremely challenging, both physically and mentally. At some point I want to make a post about the trip. I pretty much just bounced along the Angolan border from Oshikati all the way to Rucana Falls, staying on traditional Owombo homesteads and eating traditional foods (it was really an incredible journey). So, I arrived back in Aranos really exhausted.
Things were in so so condition you could say. I spent a week and a half going from house to house in the squatter camp registering orphans – something that can really get to you emotionally – by the end of the week I was breaking down in a sense. On top of everything going on, I’ve also been working on setting up a soup kitchen for kids in need, so the stress level has been higher than normal. The second week back I spent preparing things for the Southern Girls Conference, and by the end of the week was off to the conference. The SGC was organized by PCVs and was a really cool event. We brought together something like 50 girls, 8th-10th grade, from the Karas and Hardap regions. It was a three day camp that focused on leadership, self-esteem, women’s issues, empowerment, HIV, and a ton of other stuff. I was facilitating a section on HIV, and had a really good time with it. I hope to write more on the conference later because it was a really cool thing to be a part of.
The SGC ended Sunday morning, and after I saw my seven girls from Aranos off, I headed out to the B1, the main highway, to hitch-hike up to Oakahanja for a week long training on a new program called Journey of Life. It’s an interesting program that used pictures to get the community thinking about issuses and ways to solve them. It covers subjects like dealing with death and dying, teaching life skills, and working with kids. I think that it will be a useful tool, but it was a long week.
At the moment, I’m on my way back to Aranos. Its looking like it will be a tough day for hiking, but I sure I will get there. Next weekend is a long weekend, and I may be on the move again. Hopefully, I will be able to catch an internet Café. We will see.
So… Until next time… Cheers


At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Beth said...

Hey Patrick, Love your blog. It is nice to get to hear about some of your adventures. They sure are lucky to have you over there. I can't wait to read more, the pics are great too.. Are you going to be staying in the same area for the rest of your term? I would love to see you back in Mobile for school.. Ashley (my daughter) will be attending south this fall. I am very excited. I will keep looking you up... miss ya, and take care Beth


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