Quick summary: I am currently in Windhoek, Namibia volunteering with an orphan rehabilitation community center (Family of Hope Services, http://familyofhopeservices.org). In four months, I have gone from teaching a small group of students to now both running the remedial education program for the center and its ambitious birth certificate allocation project. It’s been such a privilege to get to know so many young people here and learn about what they want, what they hope for, and what drives them; I hope that whatever path I decide to go down in 2012, I will remember their voices, perspectives and stories.
It’s also been a significant personal experience for me as I live as a concealed black American in Katutura, the former black township which means in Oshiherero, “the place where we do not want to stay.” This is where all black people in Windhoek were forcibly moved during the brutal years of apartheid, and where most black people continue to live. Most assume that I am a really educated Namibian and don’t believe I’m American, and through this unintended “disguise” I’ve really been able to learn a lot about the lives that people live here.
After a quick vacation to Botswana, Johannesburg, and Cape Town, I’m back in Windhoek until May 2012. All the best and more to come!