Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Books, groceries and Paula

I still have 62 pounds of book scheduled to arrive at the US embassy in Windhoek.  I also packed many books in our suitcases.  So when I met this afternoon with Juanita, the colleague who will be my partner this year,  it felt good to be able to give her numerous books that will be informative resources for her college courses and her own education research.  I think in the US, college professors become accustomed to receiving book samples from publishers—they arrive in our university mailboxes for review and the hope we will select the text for one of our courses.  Juanita told me that doesn’t happen in Namibia and so she was thrilled to have a variety of books with research based methodology for reading and math at the elementary level.  I also created more space on my desk in the den!  Meeting with Juanita was the start to map out my year.  Although we didn’t develop a specific plan we talked about the areas I could help teach in the education program as well as my focus of new teacher development.  There are universal needs for new teachers and there will also be country and region specific needs for teachers in Namibia.  I think that understanding the needs of new teachers provides a strong foundation for a new teach program, but in order to make a difference for new teachers and the students, it will be important to learn about the challenges and highlights of early career teachers in Namibia.  Juanita and I are meeting with the Dean of Education for dinner Wednesday night, and we plan to continue the discussion of my plans for the year.  Juanita and I seem to share the same passion for helping educators develop into strong, informed and effective teachers.

A cleaner desk after filling 2 bags of books for Juanita
In addition to my afternoon meeting with Juanita, Tony, Lindsey and I went to the SuperSpar for our first big shop. I experienced another juxtaposition of feelings. By the time we arrived at the shop, Paula (one of my best friends from WA) had a full grocery cart.  She is here with the PLU J-term and this was our first time seeing each other.  We had coffee together and it felt normal chatting and catching up with each other, but when I looked around I was in a Namibia supermarket. It was great to see her and I am glad we planned to go to the PLU house for dinner.
In Namibia with Paula
Tony, Lindsey and I spent a lot of time just wandering through the store isles. We have a variety of food choices and there is a strong German influence in the types of products available.  One of the best discoveries of the day was a new (4 months old) bakery named Flaunt.  In addition to mini lemon meringue and apple crumble tarts that are baked daily, there are wholesome breads, savory pies, meals like chicken lasagna, and a variety of spreads like hummus and pesto.  The manager sensed our excitement and described the different items. We came home with her recommendation of a lamb and mint pie (delicious lunch) and a few tasty tarts.  We plan on sampling weekly and choosing our own favorites to serve when we host visitors. 
Lemon meringue and Apple Raisin Crumble
 While at the grocery store, we picked up a lot of fruit so we could make a fruit salad as our contribution to the evening dinner.  It was their first day of teaching and Paula was baking her 4 cheese macaroni with a green salad. Everyone enjoyed the large fruit salad. We had a great evening with the students and listening to their excitement about the teaching and their students as well as hearing all kinds of stories about the trip to Etosha.

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