My Namibian colleagues are fabulous. I really lucked out with an amazing staff of teachers.
Jen, my roommate and fellow volunteer, was out of town this week so I was on my own to start building ties with my fellow teachers. One of the nights I invited a group over to my house to watch the Ghana-Germany World Cup game. I picked up some cool drinks (what they call sodas), a six-pack of Windhoek lager (the favorite for beer), chips, and hoped for the best. It was a great turn out, with Miss Josephina, Mr. Kanjala, Mr. Enjala, Mr. Hamatuma, and Mr. Shivute coming over for the game. It was fun to socialize with them outside of the staff room and watch a great soccer match!
One of my favorite teachers goes by the name of “Kuku”. Kuku means “grandmother” in Oshiwambo. The first time I met her, she introduced herself as Kuku, and said, “You are now my granddaughter!” From now on, when she sees me, she greets me as her granddaughter, saying, “Good morning, my granddaughter! How is the morning?!” I’ve never met someone who embraced her grandmother-ly-ness so much! My favorite thing about Kuku is the entrance she makes into the staff room. She struts in with a little walk all her own, and loudly announces, “Kuku in the staff room!” Just so that everyone knows that she has arrived!
I also made a very strategic move and brought sweets to share in the staff room. This made me lots of friends, quickly. I just bought a bag of these candies called chocolate eclairs (dangerously good) and shared them during our break. People were appreciative and it was fun to share something with everyone. That is one amazing thing about Namibia – everything is to share. They really live the mantra, “What’s mine is yours” and it’s such a great way to approach life.