Going Guatemalan

Very little planning,but sure to me lots of fun!

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Welcome! I debated a really long time whether or not to start a blog, but I realized what a help blogs from current volunteers in Namibia were to me as I prepared for departure. If you have received emails from me, there isn't anything different in this posting, but hopefully I will be able so post pictures for you to see.

Most of you know that I have accepted an assignment from the Peace Corps to teach high school and junior high math for two years in Namibia. As I'm getting ready to depart, I finally have a few more details I can share with you.

I am really excited about travelling to Namibia. It is a large country in south west Africa. It received its independence in 1990 from South Africa and is slowly gaining economic and political strength. A lot of the country is uninhabited because of the deserts that cover the south west part of the country, but it has beautiful landscapes and some excellent national parks; Namibia was the first country in the world to incorporate environmental protection into its constitution.

Namibia has a very conservative culture and most of the country is Christian. There is a rich diversity among Namibians of several indigenous cultures, mixed with the influence of German occupation before World War I. English is the official language, but the majority of the population speaks Africaans. Namibia suffers from a lack of qualified math and science teachers; average math scores were 18%. English teachers are also highly needed because examinations are given in English.

After a several weeks of training in Namibia, I will be matched to a school where my skills can be used best. I will be working under a principle, managing my own classes and curriculum. I am a little bit nervous about having to plan lessons homework and tests, but I am up for the challenge and hopefully I will find other teachers that can mentor me in this task. Namibian schools operate on a year round trimester system with a few weeks of in between each term. I'll be living withing walking or bicycling distance to the school, but I don't know if I will have running water or electricity yet, or if I'll be living in a town or more rural setting. I've heard that I'll be busy with work, but I'm excited to travel around Namibia and other parts of southern Africa.

I am flying to Washington DC on Sunday November 5, where I will meet the rest of my team. There are HIV/AIDS health volunteers and education volunteers teaching math science and English. After some brief training I depart Wednesday night for Africa, overnight in Johannesburg and arrive in Namibia Friday November 10.

The first eight weeks will be intense training which includes language and technical training, along with health and safety information. After a week in Windhoek ( the capital of Namibia) my team will be moved to the northern part of Namibia and train at a center closer to my permanent site. This period will include visits to my permanent site, stays with host families, and classroom time. If I survive all of this madness, I will be sworn in on January 5, 2007 to start my service as a math teacher.

I still don't know what type of access I will have to Internet and phone, but current volunteers in Namibia say they have been able to send periodic emails and many have purchased mobile phones. While I am training, snail mail can be sent to this address:

Elise Perry, PCT
Peace Corps
PO Box 6862
Windhoek, Namibia

Mail from here will be forwarded to me. Once I move into my permanent site, I will have another address where mail will come to me directly.

I am excited to start this new adventure, but I am really going to miss people at home. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers, because as rewarding an experience I'm sure this is going to be, I know there will be disappointments and challenges. PLEASE stay in touch! I have been told that there are some really frustrating times as a Volunteer, and your letters and emails will be a great comfort. I really want to hear what is happening in your lives.

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the Peace Corps.