August 15, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Advice to future Peace Corps volunteers heading to Namibia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Namibia: Peace Corps Namibia : The Peace Corps in Namibia: August 15, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Advice to future Peace Corps volunteers heading to Namibia

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, August 15, 2003 - 9:13 am: Edit Post

Advice to future Peace Corps volunteers heading to Namibia

Advice to future Peace Corps volunteers heading to Namibia

Advice to future Peace Corps volunteers heading to Namibia


Women: Donít believe what PC tells you about women only wearing skirts.
Bring pants (and some skirts). Youíre going to be walking everywhere, and a lot, so above all else, bring comfortable clothes. Bring only one pair of jeans because they are a pain in the butt to wash by hand, but theyíre nice to have just to feel normal every once in a while. Bring comfortable, durable shoes that are good for walking through sand for up to an hour. Flip-flops are great for bucket-baths. You can never go barefoot because there are thorns everywhere, not to mention psycho-biting ants. Peace corps will tell you to dress conservatively, but just keep in mind that see-through shirts are quite the rage here. It is for your own safety to dress conservatively, but sleeveless shirts are fine and quite comfortable.

Men: whatever.

General: Bring cotton/breathable clothes that donít stretch. You will be hand washing and line-drying clothes for two years and anything the least bit stretchy will way too stretched out within a few weeks. We learned this from experience. Bring light-colored clothes because the sun is HOT. (and dark colors will soon fade from being dried in the sun). Bring a safari-style hat (you will look like a dork, but get used to it. Everyone will be staring at you anyway.) Bring sun glasses and sun block. Peace Corps gives you sun block that basically turns you a purple-pink color, as if we donít look weird enough. *Donít over-pack. You will be moving around a lot in the beginning, during training, and the more bags you have, the more you will start to hate yourself for packing so much. Just bring a few outfitsóitís perfectly acceptable to wear the same outfit for 3 days in a row here. Plus, itís less to hand-wash. Also, you will be showing up in some quite poor places, and if you come with five bags, itís just doesnít look so good.

Donít worry about the lariam (anti-malaria drug) or being trampled by rhinos. What you should really be worried about is starving to death. To put it extremely mildly, the food here is not so good. During our first ten weeks, we stayed with a host family. We were lucky, because we could cook for ourselves and survived on noodles and rice. Others were not so fortunate, and were subjected to sandy oshithema (the staple food), rancid goat, sandy spinach, mysterious alcoholic beverages, etc. They love cooking with oil, and not much flavoring. Fridges are rare, and even when they have them, they donít use them. Many people claimed to be vegetarian to avoid eating 3 day old (unrefridgerated) meat. Basically, start sending food to yourself now. I recommend power bars because they have lots of energy to keep you going on those hour long walks through the sand.
Packets of gatorade mix are also good. However, I must say that some people did like the food, and some are still eating with their families.

It exists, and is a little expensive on your peace corps budget, but if you feel it is essential to your existance, you will find a way to use it. Plus, itís becoming more and more popular all the time. But get used to really slow access. I mean really slow. Remember modems? Yup, they still use those here.

Just buy a cell phone. The pay phones arenít very reliable (the operators donít seem to work 24hrs/day) and there is an anoying beeping sound the whole time you talk.

There are no bookstores here. You will desperately want to escape into a fantasy land, so bring along some good books. You will soon form a mobile lending library with your fellow peace corps volunteers. Music is also important and the radio tunes are terrible, so bring a discman, cds, and lots of batteries.

Iím not very good in this department. They like American culture, so maybe bring some t-shirts, souveniers from your hometown, some little things for the kids, magazines, whatever. Just remember, families are huge here.

Expect culture shock. You will find yourself wondering how on earth people live like this, and walk around like itís perfectly normal, but youíll get used to it soon enough. If nothing else, thereís a lot to write home about.

Be prepared for lots of peace corps bureacracy. In the beginning, you wonít be allowed to do anything, but after a while they lighten up a bit.
By the end of training you will be uncontrollable. Just know that like all bad things, training does come to an end, and once at your permanent site you can start having fun again.

You will have no privacy for two years. Just accept it.

Language Training:
Good luck! Some people learned the language really well, others never got much farther than the greeting (myself included). But the greeting is really the most important part anyway because itís great for convincing taxi drivers to take you to your hut way out in the bush. Taxi drivers will be your best friends.

Job Assignment:
When you join Peace Corps, they send you a nice packet with your job description. Throw it out the window. If youíre coming to teach, you will teach whatever your principal asks you to teach. If youíre coming for some other program, who knows what youíll be doing. Be flexible.

Above all, just keep a positive attitude and laugh a lot.

Zac and Sera Arcaro
Ekulo S.S.S.
Private Bag 77003

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Namibia; PCVs in the Field - Namibia



By kleopas ( - on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 9:10 am: Edit Post

I am Kleopas Nambahu and I am studying at unam, I thefore want to express my graditutes to all my former teachers for being helpfull to me during my secondary education.

I need the shcool e mail address if it have.Hoping to meet you in the labour market.

my e mail tumwene@fastmail fm

By Anonymous ( - on Sunday, November 05, 2006 - 7:58 am: Edit Post

hi,i am Selma Shiyanga,2nd year student at unam. what else can i say, ekulo was the best to me, i really appreciate 5 years being at ekulo, i really learnt a lot from my teachers,friends, colleagues amd most of all from Zac and Sera(volunteers). longlife EKULO SSS.

By Anonymous ( - on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 3:27 am: Edit Post

Long live Zac and Sera. Still remember you -- walking up and down the dusty roads of Omuthiya.

By kleopas ( - on Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 8:03 am: Edit Post

Zac! If it wasn't for your support and kind help, than I could not be a Mathematician as I am now.

By Josef Nekongo ( on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - 11:22 am: Edit Post

long life Mr Hishekwa and your dedicated teachers, i thank you for educating me when i was at yor school. Josef Nekongo 1st year student Unam, 2010!!!!

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