Monday, January 27, 2014

Our First Weekend

Monday January 27, 14
Lindsey and I are sitting at the kitchen “island” both creating blog entries and talking about our social weekend. Rather that chronicle the entire weekend, I’ll use bulleted fragments to give you a sense of our first full weekend in Namibia.
·      Maria at our house from 7:30-12:00—Maria works at Casa Blanca during the week and we have hired her to help with cleaning and household chores.  She taught me the art of washing and drying in Namibia.  Even though we separated lights and darks, Lindsey and I had some of our light colored undergarments color in the wash.  We CANNOT figure that out.
Tony creating the clothesline

Maria hanging--she said she goes faster than me

·      Katutura Single Quarter Market—We drove Maria to her house in Katutura, other wise she would have taken a taxi home, and because she was helping us we offered to drive her, and then Lindsey and Tony could have their first glimpse of the Single quarter.  During the time of apartheid, Blacks were relocated to Katutura and housed in small cinder block homes.  Single men, mostly laborors from the Ovambo group were house in dormitory like rooms and that area became known as the Single Quarters.  It is now an outdoor market where there are along rows of wood burning grills where fresh beef is cooked.  Lindsey said one of her favorite sounds was hearing men hack away at the beef to prepare strips for the grill. Several men offered us tastes, and we had two tastes but didn’t buy a newspaper full of meat and spices like the locals.  Maybe another time. I didn’t take pictures this time, but am including some pictures Steve Leitz took last year on our visit with the students.
Shoes anyone?

meat before cooking

All of the grill stations use wood, and someone is always chopping

·      Shopping and lunch—we needed to purchase a fan for Lindsey’s room and stopped at a store called Game.  I believe the layout of the selection of items in the store would be similar to a WalMart in the US.  We selected a fan and picked up a couple other items like another set of towels and waited in line10-15 minutes.  The line moved efficiently and there was a system that would announce “next customer” and display which cashier (1-12) was open.  There were just a lot of people ahead of us in line.  All of us were hungry so before doing our grocery run we ate at Flaunt.  Great salads and a tasty grilled chicken salad.  Lindsey wanted to pick up some treats at the bakery, two doors away, but it was 2:00 and that is the Saturday finishing time.  Oh well, we know we will be regulars.  Our new find at the Super Spar is the hummus from the deli.
·      First house guests—Amanthi’s* parents came over for a evening snack of hummus, cheese, fruit salad, nuts and crackers.  Alwis, Amanthi’s dad helped Tony put Lindsey’s 19 piece fan together.  Lindsey, Renuka (Amanthi’s mom) and I wondered if we would ever get to eat.  Seeing they didn’t arrive until after 7:30, we didn’t eat until around 9:00! Whoa is all I have to say, but at least the fan was working! (*Amanthi is student from Namibia at Ohio Wesleyan who spends holidays with our family.  I met her mother, a high school math teacher when I was here in 2010 on the Fulbright Hays award)
·      Lunch at Juanita’s—I followed Juanita in our car to her amazing house on the outskirts of Windhoek at the base of Windhoek’s surrounding hills.  No one will ever build behind her and we saw mongoose and guinea fowl while we drank wine in her back yard.  This was our first home cooked meal—sage chicken, orange sweet potatoes, bean and mushroom casserole and a green salad.  Juanita’s son and 84 year old mother joined us for a varied conversation—Dave had traveled with no set agenda in India for six months and spent about 4/6 months with a guru who also spends time in CA at an ashram she started there.  Juanita’s mother talked about antique collections and South African diamonds.  It was a fascinating afternoon furthering our connections to people in Namibia
·      Chocolate chip cookies and Sunday dinner—it has become a tradition that every time I come to Namibia I bake chocolate chip cookies with Emmy and Edwin’s children.  They had been waiting all afternoon for the baking event, and we finally arrived  around 5PM with chocolate chips and brown sugar from the US.  In addition to baking, we were surprised that Emmy and Edwin had planned  a delicious braii with ribs, chicken, potatoes, Emmy’s infamous Herero bread 
Delicious Herero bread

Lindsey plans to gain bread making skills from Emmy
      and a new treat called “roastabraat”_ which is a traditional bread of the Baster group cooked over the fire ( I probably butchered the spelling but it translates as roasted bread).  We ended the evening with an early celebration of the youngest Maiai’s 9th birthday (need to recheck the spelling of her name)  with gifts from the US.  Paula and I had found dresses this summer and I picked up some Barbie dolls for the girls and Asics jerseys for the boys.  It was a fun ending to a great dinner--gifts from the US are always exciting.

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