T I A, this is Africa, is a phrase we’ve learned here to express the way things happen here. For example, classes start tomorrow but our group isn’t completely registered yet. TIA. Things will get done when they will and it’s best not to worry too much about them. Adjusting to “Namibia time” has been an ongoing process for us coming from a university in the states where registration, for example, happens months in advance. Anyhow, I’ll be blogging and posting pictures from the past month as I am able, this is Africa, and it will get done eventually.
For our third weekend in Namibia, the 10 of us took a “town hopper” (a 12 person van that travels between towns at a reasonable rate) to Swakopmund, a town on the coast to the west of Namibia. We had a very lovely time. Jan suggested and booked our three nights at a self-catering accommodation, Bush Babies Inn- we essentially rented two small houses for the weekend for $75 US per person. On Friday, we took a touristy boat ride from Walvis Bay to see pelicans, seals, and dolphins. One highlight for me was meeting a French couple on our boat and chatting about Namibia, Oysters, and US education. The following morning, 7 of us went Skydiving!! I was much less nervous than I had expected to be and had a great time looking out over the desert and Namibian coastline from the plane. Once I jumped out, attached at the shoulder and hip to the professional person behind me, it didn’t even feel like falling. Everything below is so spread out and far away that it just felt like floating (albeit with more air than usual rushing at my body) and was really quite nice.
We headed back to Emona early Sunday morning (a four hour trip) and prepared for the final week of our Namibian history class. I wrote my final paper connecting an article I read about the controversies of DNA testing with Native American populations to an article about human remains in Namibia (the gruesome and unethical means of collection in the early 1900s) and the controversies surrounding their repatriation and/or display. I also started and finished a couple applications for summer research programs back in the states. It was a busy week, but I got everything turned in by 9:45am on Saturday, just in time to pack for an 11am departure on our 10 day study tour up North.
I’ll give more details soon, but we had a fantastic time including an informative visit to the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a day trip to Epupa Falls on the Angolan border, a visit to a mobile school and rural homestead, three days of driving in Etosha National Park (including but not limited to elephants, lions, rhinos, and more zebras than we could count), and a two night rural homestay. It was a fitting way to end our J-term course and have a bit of a change of pace before beginning the semester in earnest this week. I know some classes here don’t really get going until the third or fourth week, but I’m not sure what to expect with chemistry courses. I’m looking forward to having more of a schedule, meeting more students, and hopefully meeting with the faculty member that I’ll be doing research with this semester.
Sorry about the dearth of photos this time around. I have very many and will do my best to post them throughout the week.
Now to get some sleep!