It’s been a bit more than 8 months since I sold my stuff, bided my family and friends goodbye, and boarded a plane with 15 other people who would become my ‘Namily’ here in Namibia.
Truth is, it doesn’t feel like 8 months, more like only 4. I don’t feel as if I’ve done enough, though my supervisor insists that I’ve made a difference. I have projects that I’m working on and am determined to make real headway in the coming months.
One such project I may have mentioned in an earlier post, Dreamland Gardens. The owners, Joseph and Elizabeth Makina, are hard working folks who are trying to make a business of growing vegetables here in the desert. Sometimes it seems that the cards are stacked against them. The biggest issue, as one might assume, is water. Oddly, there is water available, it’s just unreliable. When it’s not available everything dies and we have to start again. So, I’m trying to come up with ways to increase the reliability of the supply and more efficiently use what we have when we have it.
Spinach growing in Dreamland Gardens when we do have water
Another project is the Ûiba Ôas Miners. They are 50+ kilometers away and I have no reliable means to visit them, yet I need to help them somehow. The miners produce and sell raw semiprecious stones to tourists who stop at their kiosks on the roadside. There isn’t much I can do to improve that situation, but I think I have a way to increase their sales.
This petersite could make a great necklace!
The miners have equipment that lets them finish (turn raw stones into cut and polished gems) the stones they mine. The problem is that they don’t have the skills to finish the stones in ways that are aesthetically, therefore commercially lucrative. There is training they could take, but it would have to be tailored to them. So, that will be my focus for them.
Many other projects too, but that isn’t why I’m writing this post. What I really wanted to do was to send a big hearty THANK YOU to my family and friends who have supported me in my decision to do this Peace Corps thing.
The past 8 months has been a wild roller coaster of an adventure. I’ve felt the full spectrum of emotions, some I didn’t think I was capable of. I’ve seen and done things I know I could not have had I not boarded that plane 8 months ago. And the ride looks to be even wilder in the coming months.
And I’ve grown since coming here (not just in girth), and I feel that my path for growth stretches out in many directions, and all are positive.
None of this would have been possible without the support of the people who are the foundation of my social life, and who mean so very much to me. Again, to you I offer a deeply felt thank you.
To my new friends, those I have met physically and those I’ve met virtually, thank you as well. You’ve added to my adventure, and will continue to do so in ways I can’t imagine now. I hope that our meeting was mutually beneficial, and that our friendship continues.
To everyone, a Very Merry Christmas from beautiful Namibia.
And I hope that you will continue to…
Merry Christmas, Vern
What a lovely message! We are always eager to hear from you, learn from you, get a whiff of your energy, curiosity, insight earned, observations and experiences. Wishing you a continued journey filled with accomplishments, goid health and wonderful connections.
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I really enjoy your posts and your photos are incredible! It is so good of you to take time to share your experiences with us. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and looking forward to continuing to read about your adventures in 2017!
I meant 2018! 😉
I knew what you meant 😁
Hope you holidays are joyful.
Merry Christmas to you too Vern. Your projects sound very interesting and worthwhile. The spinach looks amazing and the gem is so beautiful. I agree, it would make a beautiful necklace. Thanks for the continued updates. Hope your holidays are peaceful.
Merry Christmas to you too, Vern. Thanks for writing this blog – I very much enjoy reading it!
Thanks Ed. And thanks for reading
Merry Christmas Vern! What an amazing adventure…and the best kind because you’re making a difference in peoples lives along the way! Wishing you and your new friends there a happy and healthy new year!
All the Best,
Merry Christmas, albeit a tad late! I’m still binging your blogs. Those stones are truly lovely. They would make lovely necklaces, earrings, etc. That would be a good project, as the locals could sell the finished pieces to tourists, yes? Or maybe find a way to export the finished pieces to the US? The American Indians make beautiful jewelry, and other carvings from turquoise and other stones. Are these stones like that?
Anyway, good luck with all your project ideas in the New Year! I’m sure living there is an eye opening experience.
Glad you’re reading and I hope you’re enjoying it.
There different types of stones here, some you can’t find anywhere else. Pietersite, for example, is primarily found in Namibia.
The miners have very basic skills in finishing stones. My aim is to increase their skills. They don’t have the resources here as native Americans have, so we have to create the supply chain and then get them up to a level skill level.
Hopefully I can get them there with some help.