Going Guatemalan

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

Monday, August 04, 2008

More holiday photos

Meeting Elise's Namibian family
Elise and her learners
In Etosha Nat'l Park
Zebra crossing
Jeffrey and (Toys R Us) family
a young pride in the shade
God's Glory - an African sunset

Holiday Photos (April-May 2008)

Reunion in Swakopmund
Swakopmund on the coast

Damaraland - Kokerboom or Quiver tree

The Family Wagon

visit with Himba people and village

Ruacana Falls near Angola

Friday, August 01, 2008


This email is to inform you all of one of my less life-inspiring, but very entertaining problems of being the only white person in a 30 mile radius. As you might have gathered from the title of this email, that problem is pumpkin. You have seen in the news that this year brought a very heavy rainy season to Southern Africa, which makes for a good harvest. A good harvest means people like to share the fruit of their labor with appreciated members of the community and it seems word has gotten out that I like pumpkin.

It started in April when my parents were visiting and a neighbor brought them a massive pumpkin as a gift. Since they couldn't take it back to the states, it remains with me. This pumpkin fills an entire shelf of my refrigerator, weighs about 30 pounds and took 10 weeks to consume. But if thats not good enough, 3 more pumpkin of comparable size have been given to me since school reopened. I'm still working on the second pumpkin but I'm only one person and I can't seem to eat it fast enough. I'll be eating pumpkin up to the day I leave in December.

The problem then: I'm drowning in pumpkin – its oozing out my ears and the thought of it makes me want to vomit. I eat pumpkin at least four times a week, sometimes twice a day. As soon as I make a cut into the pumpkin, somebody is presenting me with another one. Its like those villains from cartoons or video games that come back doubled each time they're killed. Its tempting to throw some of this pumpkin away, or out right reject it, but that is very rude in this culture where people have worked so hard to produce this food and so many people go hungry. I have tried sharing the pumpkin with my host family and colleagues, but they insist the pumpkin was given to me alone, thus I must eat it, alone.

A better person would be more grateful upon receiving a gift which required so much effort to produce, and at first I was very surprised and appreciative, but now I can only smile politely on receipt of my gift while grimacing on the inside at the horrific thought of having to consume yet MORE pumpkin.

What have I been doing with all this pumpkin you might ask? I have taken to the inspirational character Bubba of Bubba-Gump Shrip and applied his ideas to pumpkin:
mashed pumpkin, stewed pumpkin, baked pumpkin, fried pumpkin, dried pumpkin, curried pumpkin, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin salad, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin and rice, pumpkin and tomatoes, pumpkin and raisins, pumpkin and mushrooms, pumpkin and chicken, pumpkin and beans, pumpkin and peppers, pumpkin and onion.

But I'm fast running out of ideas. Please if you have any thoughts, ideas or recipes, forward them to me and assist my troubled soul.

In other events, the term is quickly coming to a close and as a conclusion to the reproductive health section of my syllabus, I forced my learners to babysit eggs for a week. This was a similar project to the one most American students do in 8th grade health class to stress the importance of family planning and as an introduction to childcare. As a student, I hated it. As a teacher, its been one the most fun activities of the year. I do admit there is very little educational purposes to the project, but is more for my own and my fellow teachers entertainment at watching 66 learners try and protect an egg from being destructed by the mishaps of life. I was afraid that the learners would eat the eggs, but I managed to bribe them with enough goodies that most of them kept the eggs. Out of 66 learners 54 managed to keep their eggs.