I’m bored sometimes…ok?
I’m bored sometimes…ok?
I’ve turned over a new leaf in my life over the past couple of years and look positively on most things. Volunteering in general I’m positive about, it’s a great experience, you learn a lot and you help if you can. The last one bears a very important word…IF. If is a funny thing. If you get out of bed today you could be hurt or all of your greatest wishes will come true. If you eat that mopane worm you could become very sick or you could gain super powers and be able to listen to more than one Milli Vanilli song in a row. Now, I tend to think on the positive side and try as hard as I can to get a positive result, but one thing to remember about IF is that it’s often out of your hands. I do have to admit, I’ve been pretty frustrated lately with work. I rarely get the support I need…well…I don’t get any support to help with the projects that I have been brought here to help with. I have felt as though…you know what…it doesn’t matter. What really matters to me is that I make every day matter to me and to those around me. I might not be saving the world, but at least I’m not trying to destroy it.
If the Ministry has money then they can use it to buy beds, life saving medicines, pay doctors, provide treatment for people living on $1 a day or they could use it to pay for Internet. This is why I am happy that I don’t always get my way.
By the way…I can now listen to more than one Milli Vanilli song in a row.
Let me tell you a thing about water. It makes our plants grow, it washes our clothes and dishes, it is used in cooking and it sometimes gets the stink off of me if I use enough soap. Now, without water, all these things become somewhat difficult. Not impossible, just difficult.
As I mentioned in a previous entry, upon my return to Opuwo the water was off. Apparently a water pipe had burst in town last Friday leaving the town without water. I arrive and lucky for me I’ve been in a hot car all day and would like to use my bathroom. Let me remind you, without water, things become difficult. I’m not one to go unprepared and now I’ve found myself up the proverbial creek.
I find out that there are some people who still have water. How can this be? Water tanks that don’t connect to the same system, that’s how.
Another thing about water, you need to drink some occasionally. I like to try and get a couple liters a day. In Opuwo you cannot drink the water here as you never know what you’re going to get from it. The water is especially high in calcium and magnesium. All water related items here are covered in white calcium deposits. One look and I decided I’d rather not have super strong bones and opted for bottled water. Yes…I drink only bottled water. Every trip to the store I try to haul at least two, 5 liter bottles back. I’m starting to have quite the collection. I occasionally give them away to locals who sell them to a local back alley alcohol producer.
So long story, kind of shorter, I had a bunch of these bottles laying around. I was able to fill up a few and use those for a nice bucket bath, some dish washing, cooking and to flush john. Made some mighty tasty sweet potato leek soup despite the setback.
Fast forward to Monday and still no water…ahhhh. Lenah, my cleaning lady, showed up a bit late but low and behold, she is my lucky water charm as the water came back on right when she arrived…note that this is now the second time this has happened.
I’m back to my usual ways…washing dishes, cooking food, taking showers and flushing my toilet. My recommendation…be sure to have a nice supply of water around just in case. Yes, even those of you in the world of the U.S.
The beloved Casio watch from the 80s has taken a turn for the worst. As you can see it has turned from mostly legible to gobbly gook. Amazingly unfortunate of me, I managed to set the alarm in its current state and get to listen to the soothing sounds of ‘beep, beep….beep, beep’ nightly around 6:30pm. Smashing thoughts have started to enter my mind.
While in Windhoek I decided to look for a replacement despite how much it pained me. Eureka was my thought upon discovering the exact same Casio…but for $25!!! Not cool Windhoek store, not cool. I checked out the Sportsman sports store next. The store was full of heart monitor watches…not exactly what I’m looking for. Deep down in the watch case at last I found was I was looking for…at least, I thought it was what I was looking for. A nice collection of $10 watches…with lights!!! My old one didn’t even have a light. I was sold.
I’m now very unhappy with my purchase due to the added bulk of the watch…so much for a new watch.
I’ve officially decided that driving from Windhoek to Opuwo does not equal fun. It takes at least 7 hours…I think that’s about the best and only reason I can give for my views. Today’s trip involved the abrupt end of a small bird’s life, the near death of a long-tailed sheep, questions regarding my political views, extreme head nodding with no meaningful rest, hot hot sun on my belly with no long term solution and a Wimpy burger. I know, I know, I swore off Wimpy after my experience in Kenya; however, the only thing the two establishments have in common is their namesake. Good to be back, minus the lack of running water.
Shannon left last night and is now sitting in London awaiting her return trip to Cincinnati. Time really flew by on that one. She nearly didn’t make her flight last night due to a slight change in the flight time…next time I need to figure out how to make it so she actually misses the flight. Originally 7:40pm changed to 6:15pm. We arrived at the the airport when boarding started. This was good as it left little time to think about her being gone, but sucked as left little time for a goodbye. At least I got to sit there and watch her as she was racing through the security line. Waiting in a line, finding out she forgot to fill out a form, sit in another line and find out it was the wrong one and finally me having to send someone back to get her as she was about to go through because I realized she had all the money and I still had to pay to get back to Windhoek. So things were basically a breeze. Back to Opuwo for me on Saturday. ‘The Dark Knight’ for me today 🙂
Today marks Shannon’s final day in Opuwo. Tomorrow we’ll be figuring out a way to get down to Windhoek by Thursday. This journey should prove for some interesting stories, but I’m hoping it’s easier sailing than not. Best part was that we had a potential ride this morning, but no one cared to inform me until they had already left…I should have none better to be more proactive. This afternoon we’ll see if we can find some tourists who can give us a lift. Keep those fingers and toes crossed.
Just thought about something the other day. The average person in the world really has no idea what is going on in the world, nor do they care. What they care about is that they have some food to eat and a place to sleep. 5 liter plastic bottles seem to be the highlight of the day for a young girl who drops by unannounced daily. When I’m generous, she takes the plastic bottles to a local entrepreneur and makes a quick N$5 on each one. The local entrepreneur is using the bottles to make none other than illegal alcohol. Am I liable? Where was I going with this post? Oh yeah…people have no idea. Here in Opuwo we receive the daily newspaper a day late. Television is fairly sparse. Internet is unknown to most. What would your day be like if you weren’t surrounded by all of this and had no idea what was going on with Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan? My thought is your day might be going a little better and you could focus on the things that you can control.
Some exciting developments have come into being since Shannon’s arrival and I’ve just been enjoying the company enough to not really care too much about blogging…sorry. So I’ll just go ahead and throw these out there as they have definitely changed things around here for the better:
1. Dart Board. A real Unicorn dartboard with real steel darts. We play this pretty much all night, every night. Thus far we’re pretty good competition for each other. Look out for us on the co-ed dart circuit this fall.
2. Mattress. Gone are the days of stiff necks and aching backs. During our travels around the country we stopped in Otjiwarongo, bought a mattress and strapped it to the top of the truck. I’m just thankful it never took flight during our drive. I would have been sad and some Himba man would have been extremely happy.
3. Hammock. Shannon was awesome and brought me this hammock for two that folds up into a bag about the size of a grapefruit. This is a daily pleasure and will continue even upon my return home. Slap strap!
4. Hot Water. Sure, this deserves it’s own post, but the less time I spend writing the more time I can enjoy the shower. When last in Windhoek I bought a new heating element for the 200 liter tank I have strapped to my house. After a day of scraping the calcium deposits out it was good to go. Goodbye bucket showers, goodbye!
5. Milk Chocolate Oreos. Have these hit the states yet? I’ll bring some home with me.
6. African Gas. nuff said.
7. Bike Wheel. Remember my tales of my ailing bike? Well, I attempted to solve all my problems by purchasing replacement parts while in Windhoek. I even managed to get a new rim to replace the rubber one that came with my bike. Success on all accounts minus the simple fact that the sales guy sold me a rim that was 3 inches to small. Nice. In my excitement upon finding this out, I left the tire and tube out on my porch. The two apparently felt they had enough of me and rolled away during the night never to be seen again. A local man came by not long after and was able to fix my old rim, give me a replacement tire and the bike has never been better. I’ll be training him in computers over the next couple of months to help him get a job as he is currently unemployed. I’m sure I’ll write more about Godwin as time comes.
8. Tobasco Sauce. I have managed to discover that the green tabasco sauce is right up my alley. I wonder if it’s good on cereal because it’s good on everything else.
We had to make an early start as today we had to drive from Swakopmund to Etosha…roughly 600 km. Did we get an early start? No. We woke up around 8, had a nice breakfast while planning our travels and readied our music collection. We knew we had to drive north so that was a start. We found out that the C34 was our road and it took us up the Skeleton Coast. It has come to be known as the Skeleton Coast due to pirates that inhabited the area during the 15th century. You see, these pirates loved building sand castles and the coast had a ton of sand. Due to the high salt content in the sand the castles were able to withstand centuries of mother nature’s abuse. Today, some small mounds of sand remain where once whole sand castle cities used to flourish. It’s pretty amazing. Now, if you believed what I just told you then you should also know that if you donate $50 to me right now then one of your wishes will come true. For each additional $50, another wish will come true.
So the Skeleton Coast is really named that because there is nothing there. Rock and sand. It’s a bit unsettling to drive through, but nevertheless a site to see. We decided to take a detour to see the Cape Cross Seal Colony. We paid the tourist fee and arrived at the coast. Thousands and thousands of smelly, cape fur seals were there to happily greet us with their goat-like cries. It might not seem like a big deal, but this was one of my favorite parts of the trip. I could have happily spent many days there just watching how their colony works, but we had some elephants and lions to see….besides, the gates to the park close at sun down and we had quite a drive ahead of us.
After a little back tracking we were on our way to Khorixas. I don’t think we could have seen more nothing if we had asked for it, however it was strangely appealing. The tricky thing with having no end is sight is trying to keep your speed down on the gravel roads. This all becomes easier when you go over 100km/h and the tail of your truck starts to swerve a bit after hitting some rough patches.
Shannon got her first taste of the real Namibia in the small town of Uis as we stopped for some much needed bread and fake cheese. You can pick up some nice colored crystals there if you were wondering what there is to do in Uis.
Outside Khorixas we stumbled upon the tar roads again and sailed smoothly to our final destination in Etosha some hours later. It was a long drive, not filled with much excitement, but sometimes that’s just the way things go.
That’s right. Corn on the cob in the desert. Yesterday we found the store stocked full of goodness that included, corn, sugar peas, strawberries, guava, leeks, spinach and other fine dining items. It was a little slice of heaven.
After a nice, relaxing morning in Walvis Bay we decided to take things up a notch…at least our travel agent felt like we should. Next up was Desert Explorers ATV excursions. Shannon and I started things off right with a bag of Mild Chili and Sour Cream Doritos and a can of Fanta, oh yeah. We were given our extremely white and large helmets and laughs followed. We were given the choice of ATV type: Baby Bear, Mama Bear and Totally Sweet Papa Bear editions. Shannon naturally moved to the choice of wussing out Baby Bear style while I moved to the extreme. Apparently, she chose the small version due to her small hands…or so she tells me. (I only write this because she’s sitting right to next me) I may be embellishing a bit, but you get the idea.
The trip was an hour long, which was more than enough, and we went out into the sand dunes. It was actually a prettty good time, but the older people on the trip made it difficult to go as fast as I wanted. Who slows down when they are going down a giant sand dune, honestly?
The views were great but something was lost by riding around on a motor vehicle. Still a good time. I think next time I’ll bring my mog, an android and a princess.