August 30th, 2009
So I have spent quite a bit of time with my new family and must admit that I love it. Any fears that I had were swept away as I slowly have become part of the family. One thing is for certain; my family is big. Everyone seems to be related to everyone somehow. It is especially confusing when there are no things as aunts. Sisters are considered close enough that they are called mom even though it would generally be considered an aunt. I have another mom just down the road with another PCV.
First off, I have Mamas Caroline and Dadub Jacob, and a 17-year ole brother Richard. The first night we met we all went to the Spar (the local grocery) for shopping. Five of us piled into a taxi the size of a corolla to get there, with myself found in the back between my new sister and mom. While at Spar, I would have been a lost if it hadn’t been for my new sister/cousin Madeline who is from London, home visiting. She has an impervious British accent, quite strange for Namibia. My new family seems to take great delight in me fumbling through KhoeKhoe and is very patient in explaining things over and over. On the way home from Spar our taxi died partway through an intersection! He had to start it up par way though. That night we all gathered at me aunts/mom/s house and watched soapies, which is their version of soap operas. They are all from Mexico and dubbed in English. Needless to say quite different. We also watched the local music videos. It was quite interesting to see how much the States music influences the world. Everyone uses autotune now. Their idea of "balling" however involved chilling in a regular sized bathtub and shooting a video in a department store. Last night we had a bri (BBQ) where I became the chef cooking pai-e (porridge) as well as !noi(sausage). BBQing under a different set of stars was certainly a moment to remember.
Having lived with a host family for 3 days now, I can now say I am starting to feel like I am in Africa. I cannot comprehend most of the language wherever I go. I need to speak slowly and often rephrase my requests for myself to communicate. While running on a local track, a PCV and I gathered an audience of local children to run with us, while others hid in the bushes too shy. Everyone is very friendly, though the children love to heckle for money commenting on me being burro (white). I definitely stand out being a good six inches taller than most in my area.
Anyway I want to keep these short and sweet too not overwhelm individual reading. I will end with a cultural discussion I had about marriage. My host family took me outside to singing where there was a group of women two houses down singing in beautiful harmony. My father explained that they were locking the bride to be in a room for a week in preparation for marriage. She is not allowed any visitors for a week until she is to be married. She is only allowed to leave for the bathroom and fed. As ft the guy, when asking for the hand in marriage there is a process of stabbing a goat in a place where it will die quickly (and painlessly) while following up with dash towards the house where his way is blocked by a few men. The process is to show he is a man that can provide and defend. My family apparently videotaped the last one of their son and are going to show it too me. I will let you know if it is as different as it sounds.
Till the next Internet café visit.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, no more hot showers. : (