So for the past week or so we’ve all been with our homestay families around Windhoek. It was really odd at first…and still is in a lot of ways, because we all had just gotten settled in OUR house, and are very used to being on our own. To add to that, we come back to our house almost everyday, since alas, our living room is the classroom. So in some ways that’s nice- I didn’t have to pack a lot, I can get stuff I need everyday, but it feels really forced to have to leave my house just to go sleep somewhere else. And I realized after not seeing these people that I’ve spent all my time with from Friday until Tuesday that I REALLY missed not being around them.
But that being said, all in all my family is pretty good. There is Porshia who is 26, her boyfriend Denzel and their daughter Faith who is 7. I think it is really different than a lot of people’s homestay since my “mom” is 6 years older than I am. They live in a nice house, it is just big enough for them, so I’m in their daughter’s room- but the house is really nice. Though they did preface the first night with- “Faith has a little bedwetting problem- I hope you don’t mind sleeping in her bed.” Awesome. Once I’m there, I do really like hanging out with Porshia and Denzel. It’s definitely awkward at times, but I think I’m lucky to have young parents that I can talk with. Faith…I generally really like children. But somehow the combination of only child + hyperactive whiney 7 year old that speaks mainly Afrikaans drives me out of my mind. The very first day, in the midst of our playing beautyshop she puts a towel on my shoulders, then all of the sudden pours a whole cup of water on my head…to make my hair look pretty. The very second day I bought stuff to keep her occupied. Ends up though she’s been at her grandma’s house since Wednesday, and I don’t know if I’ll see her again. I was expecting there to be lots of other family or people around- since that seems to be the case for a lot of families here…but it is really just us. So it gets a little slow at times.
Most nights I get home from “school” at 5:30ish, I either do my reading or help cook. Then we watch the news, eat dinner and watch the nightly soapies. The most popular one, When You Were Mine, is amazingly bad. It is a Mexican Soap Opera dubbed in English- and the voiceovers are TERRIBLE. Which I find hilarious, and nobody here really seems to notice. I’m not going to lie though, we might start watching it in our house- because we’ve all gotten pretty hooked and discuss each morning before class. After that…we pretty much go to bed at 9:00. No complaints here though.
Saturday we spent a good portion of the day at a local cultural festival that was a bunch of bands performing. It was neat but to recover from my spell of what I have most recently diagnosed as whooping cough, I had taken both Codine cough syrup and muscle relaxants when I woke up. (for the consequently hurt ribs/muscles…both you can easily buy cheaply in a pharmacy without perscriptions…) A really bad idea if I had any intention of being conscious for the day, so I was pretty zonked for the most part of it. Like every good cultural imersion experience, I spent Saturday night eating KFC and watching White Chicks. There is something about the movie White Chicks here and South Africa- people love it…it’s a little odd. It’s not going to win any awards…but it was a nice night- it was fun to have such a normal night with them. Sunday was a two nap day if that’s any indication of how the rest of the week end went.
Other than that the week has been pretty routine…in the mornings at my internships I spend loads of time standing awkwardly in different places. In the afternoons there are about 60 some children who come to the afterschool program. In some ways program is a bit of a euphemism- I mean it is a great place, a lot of these kids don’t have much other place to go and they get lunch, but it is also mass chaos. The kids can do puzzles or read if they want, but there isn’t really any organization or supervision. I find kids as young as 18 months just wandering around. So far I’ve just spent my afternoons playing, and essentially being touched a lot, which is the standard for most kids anywhere, but it still took some getting used to. There are some really cute kids, and hopefully come next week and after our fall break I’ll get a chance to get to know them with a bit of organized activities. If not, I’m sure I can play with the best of them for a couple of months- who knows if my hair will survive that trauma of being touched so much though. Even my supervisor grabbed my eyelashes- MY EYELASHES- the other day, because she wanted to know if they had highlights.
Otherwise I have class Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings. Fridays with development class have been great so far- it is all really interesting stuff, and the professor is doing a great job breaking up the 4 hours. Today the deputy US ambassador came to talk to us and I was really impressed with how much he was willing to actually talk to us- irregardless of what his official position was supposed to be. The other two days of classes have still been a bit of a struggle…but still 18 people classes, even if they are really long are such a change from a boring 200 person class at UNC.
So that’s it for me for now, I have been really bad about taking pictures, but here are a couple ones since I know the good portion of you will only read things that have pictures. There aren’t that many fun ones, but I’ll work on it.