The Year in Review
With all the commotion, it was almost easy to forget that I’ve spent an entire year here in Namibia. My one-year anniversary and my 24th birthday coincided, so we did have a few reasons to celebrate and to reflect on all that has happened this year. It has been a rollercoaster to say the least.
So what did happen this year…?
• I traveled throughout Namibia, including the most northern and most southern parts of the country, and spent time with people representing all walks of life
• A small boy learned how to read and speak English
• I found my Namibian family
• I learned a few new languages
• I felt the color of my skin for the first time in my life
• I played soccer barefoot
• I lived without water and electricity
• I sat with a leaner as he fought to live
• Some teachers touched a computer for the first time in their lives
• I climbed a mountain
• I taught in 6 different schools
• The democrats won control of the house and the senate
• I attended a funeral for one of my learners
• I attended too many funerals in general
• I went sandboarding down some of the world’s largest sand dunes
• Some orphans received their first pair of shoes ever
• My brother got married
• I perfected the art of hitchhiking
• I drove a stick shift and almost ran someone over
• I saw the greatest disparity of wealth in the world
• I danced with a Namibian transvestite
• I slept on a beach in Cape Town
• I spent too much time in hospitals with kids too young to be facing things they were facing
• I ate goat head, mopane worms and lots of donkey meat
• Some Namibians experienced the joy of chocolate chip cookies, fajitas, quesadillas, mashed potatoes and American chili
• I went cage diving with sharks (aka bird watching)
• Some Namibian kids learned a bit of Spanish
• I helped slaughter a goat and a chicken, and I offered moral support to both a cow slaughtering and a kudu slaughtering
• The Packers beat the bears
• My family made their way to Africa
• One Namibian may have looked beyond skin color
• Brad and Angelina had their baby and pretended to care about Africa, Wesley Snipes evaded his taxes, Prince Harry went canoeing and an Israeli-born US billionaire wanted for stock market fraud hid from US authorities… all in Namibia!
Oh so much. Lots of firsts, indeed. Some things I’m so happy I had a chance to experience; some I hope I will never have to experience again. And as 2006 came to an end, I did feel some sense of accomplishment. Year one offered me the opportunity to try many new things, to make mistakes and make changes in my work and in my life, and to learn so much about things I may have never learned about anywhere else in the world. If for no other reason, I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to serve two years so I can try to smooth out everything that didn’t work this year. It may be overly optimistic, but I truly feel that things can only get better from here.
And I definitely don't feel 24.
Happy Holidays! Be well.