Video: My Home in Opuwo

Africa Day

Unbeknownst to me, but knownst to others, Monday, May 26, is Africa Day.  You may say, ‘Surely You Jest’ but I say nay.  Tis truly a holiday.  A little research shows that it commemorates the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU)…that’s organisation with an ‘S.’  Don’t say I never taught you anything and don’t say that I only care about days that I’m not working because this one would have passed me by had I not had a late afternoon conversation…say…4:45pm…explaining the finer details of telecommunications.  Real nerd moment for me.  I still get Monday off though.

You Can Call Me Al

Thanks to my shiny new DSL line, you can now call me on my Skype account.  The number is (513) 277-0502.  You can even leave me a message if I’m not online or available.  I don’t know how well it works given that I’m in Namibia and talking on my computer, but I figured for $5 a month, unlimited I’d give it a shot.

Shower vs. JB

Due to the fact that my new house does not have hot water at the moment…fingers crossed…I had the first of hopefully few cold showers this evening.  Welcome to Africa!

It’s On

Mosquitos everywhere beware…you are in my sights.  What’s the over under on this you supposed for the next few months?  Day one I’m at 9 and counting.

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More Q&A with the Kids

1. is there milk or juice at africa?

Sure is…milk comes in boxes and only needs to be refrigerated after opening. Plenty of juices…many that you can’t regularly get in the U.S. such as mango and guava juices.

2. what’s your favorite movie? mine is horton hears a who

Horton Hears a Who…pretty good and pretty good for you. Because there are so many I have to say that one of my favorites at the moment is The Fifth Element.

3. what is your favorit show that kids like?

What do kids like? I know that I like South Park, but that is not exactly a kids show…more of a big kids show…like me.

4. do you like us?

Sure do…as long as you have been good for Ms. Reid lately.

5. are you going anywhere alse than africa?

I sure hope so, but not in the immediate future. I’ll be back in the U.S. in time for Halloween…one of my favorite holidays.

6. witch one is your favorite: the saints, the giants, the vikings, the 49ers, or the cowboys? (football teams)

Trick Question….The Bengals…Who Dey!!!

7. do you like elmo? (from ryan)

I don’t personally know elmo so I can’t pass judgement…I do like his new dance moves though

8. what is your favorite animal (including miss reid)

If you put it that way, miss reid…otherwise, blue whales.

9. do you like africa or north america better?

Tough question….let me think….i plead the fifth.

10. do you like to ride a horse?

Sure do… a little unnerving, but it’s always a good time.

11. have you seen a turtle in africa yet?

No turtles…just scorpions, giraffes, wild boars, giant crickets, oryx, birds and monitor lizards.

12. do you like the george lopez tv show?

Not sure, but my guess is no.

13. do you like drake and josh? (this is a kids tv show)

Honestly haven’t seen it, but if you guys think it’s good then send me some dvds…no tv here…which is a blessing.

14. have you had a cavity?

Yes, not too many though, brush at least two times a day.

15. when were you born?

February 19th, 1982…mark your calendars.

Opuwo Ministry of Health Workers

I learned something this past weekend when I asked if people were headed home for the day…assuming it meant that they were just going to go to their house here in Opuwo. The response was ‘No’ and that it is too expensive to just go home for a weekend. I was confused, but then realized that most people don’t actually live here in Opuwo. They got a job here at the hospital, are placed in housing at the hospital and have their families and homes elsewhere. Now it makes sense.

Room with a View

No view really, but I do have some rooms.  Check them out at http://picasaweb.google.com/jonathan.woodruff/2008518NamibianHome.

JB Gets a Place to Live

This place is strange, but weirdly awesome.  Get this.  Huge porch.  Nice kitchen with a couple of chairs and a table.  Then the bedroom is on the other side of the wall.  Huge bedroom and not sure why.  The wall clearly did not used to be there and is a makeshift wall as it is hollow.  There are two bathrooms…seriously.  Two whole bathrooms with two sinks in each.  Two toilets and a shower in one with a bench.  A urinal, a toilet, shower and bench in the other.  His and hers.  In each, one of the stalls was locked…creepy.  Door number one revealed a brand new, basically untouched toilet.  Door number two yielded a spider and dirt infested mess…good times.

I have high hopes for the place and am busy planning on remodeling efforts that may or may not involve knocking down part of the wall…painting absurd pictures and phrases on the wall…and making a bedroom out of one of the bathrooms.  So one thing I really want….a hammock for the porch.  Perfect for a hammock.  One of those lightweight camping ones.  Perfect.

Pictures and video will be soon to follow as the weekend is sure to be full of experimentation, cleaning and basic Bob Villa.  More to come as the weekend progresses.

Bikes’R’Me

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So I buy this thing for about 100 USD.  I ride away and notice a significant wobble coming from the rear…the wheel is not balanced 🙁   I go back and they say I can have my money back or take it to the local garage and they’ll fix it.  I keep the bike and take it to the garage…30 Namibian for each wheel, both end up being messed up.  I go back to place i bought the bike and ask for a refund….manager says no…I ask if he ever wants me to shop there again…he doesn’t seem to mind.  I up the ante with a sympathy angle…But I’m a volunteer on my way to Opuwo and I can’t afford not to be reimbursed…bingo!  60 namibian back in my pocket.  I better get that money back for a brand new bike.  I have my eye on you Cymot!

Stunt Riders for Christ

Kind of an oxymoron, don’t you think?  If you’re interested, they’ll be in Ojiwarongo on June 9th.

On the Road Again

That was a short stay in Opuwo.  What gives?  I’m off to Outjo and Khoraixas (sp?) to do some surveying of the hospitals there.  I found this out this morning.  Here’s to flexibility.  One huge perk…I think i’m getting a bike on wednesday 🙂

Don’t Feed Beggars

Or at least, not when you around other Namibians.  They understandably get mad because they think these people should be working instead of begging…I tend to agree.  I like to cite South Park, Season 11, ‘Night of the Living Homeless’ as an example of what can happen.

Clouds in Opuwo

There are clouds in Opuwo (not many though) and rumors of overnight rain…what is the world coming to?

Return to Opuwo

Had another rip roaring great drive back to Opuwo on Saturday.  Sure…we didn’t get a flat tire…run out of gas…or have 9 people in the car, but it still managed around 10 hours to get from one end to the other.  The drive was filled with cows jumping out of the bushes in an apparent attempt to commit suicide, colleagues yelling at one another for hours on end about relationships, life saving ipods, wimpy burgers (much better here than in kenya), back pain (inevitable), roads made for and by people who love seeing how many bumps it takes to knock your wheels off and the occasional head nod doze off.  I’m back though and happy to be here…too many people in Windhoek.  If there’s one thing that being here will do it’ll make me hate crowds.

IT Status in Namibia

Let’s just say that I learned a thing or two about how IT is viewed at the Ministry of Health and Social Services.  Annual development budget of N$500,000 for all of Namibia…roughly $66,000 USD.  There are a total of 4 people working on IT for the entire health system.  This is not promising.

My question is why am I up in Opuwo when the central Ministry is where the real help is needed?  This will be discussed.

Epupa Pics

New pics from Epupa can be found on my website.  Enjoy.

Books

Books are more expensive here than they are in Canada, but worth it when the author is Bill Bryson. I’ll be sure to put together a book report when I find the time to be that bored.

JB Travels to Windhoek

3 am wake up to mosquito who has super speed and unable to kill after numerous attempts

4 am actually get out of bed

4:30 am Find out that the water is off so no shower

4:45am Step out front to find 8 people waiting to pile into small car

5am Depart

7:30am Punctured Tire

8am Spare on and we’re off…for a bit

9 am Run out of gas due to a ‘miscalculation’

10:20am Gas comes

11am Reach Outjo and get to get a small bite

12pm Stop to get tire fixed

1pm Waiting for people to do some shopping…stop at 3 places..come on people!!!

2pm Dozing in car but can’t get comfortable as one butt cheek is apparently dead

3pm I can’t take this anymore just as we enter Windhoek proper

4pm Find out windhoek proper is pretty big and drop some folks off at 2 hospitals…wander to find a man to give him a piece of mail…definitely could have waited until tomorrow

4:30pm Arrive at guest house…my room has three beds on account of them being fully booked.  Massive amounts of pee on toilet seat is always a welcome surprise.

5pm Eat food and rest my back

Bumble Bee

Tuna that is. Prime Fillet Albacore Steak…Ginger & Soy to be exact. Already Cooked! Just Heat & Serve! I may have stumbled upon the greatest camp food ever…or no kitchen in Opuwo, Namibia food…however you want to look at it. I look forward to trying the Lemon & Cracked Pepper and Mesquite Grilled…I’ll let you know. Please send more immediately…are you still sitting there? Thank you.