Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A few notes...

Ok, first and apology. It’s been far more than a week since our last blog update. It looks like a monthly update might be more realistic. We’ll do our best.


We have had a few short showers of rain but nothing significant. However on Saturday afternoon it started raining and carried on through the night and on through Sunday morning. Hurray for rain! The timing of it was an extra blessing because our church services here are quite long (between three and six hours) and it can be a bit grueling sitting there with sweat rolling down your back the whole time, so it was truly wonderful to have it be nice and cool this Sunday.


There was a nurse here named Margeaux who bought a dog a few months ago and then, shortly after we arrived, decided to go home earlier than expected for health reasons. So, we adopted her little dog Cado (which means “girl” in Rukwangali, one of the local languages here). She has brought much joy and tears to our family. She is getting good at fetch, likes to chase kids around (although I think they enjoy it more than she does) and has a tendency to wee wherever when she’s excited, bored, happy, mad, sad etc…


Not long after we adopted the dog, Mckenzie was walking with her through the village with one of our friends, Dinna, and an old lady approached her to ask if she also liked cats. McKenzie replied “Yes but we don’t want one right now,” at which time the old lady brought out a bunch of baby kitties and our family grew again. Maizey is a very lively little cat who likes to climb everything, is very good about going potty in her box and even though Cado picks her up by her head and sometimes leaves her bloody, she can’t get enough of her “sister from another mister.” At this point she is an inside cat but she knocked over a cup of water and got a bunch of our books wet so that’s one strike, two strikes and she’s an outside cat.


We also have a chicken, the most productive new member of our family. Her name is Tamwa, which actually means “uncle” in Rukwangali, the name the boys always call each other. We got her from our dear neighbors the Mukoyas, a very sweet family that we knew from our time here in 2008. We tried to buy her but they insisted on giving her to us as a gift. Since they live very close to us we had Tamwa on a string tied to our water spout for quite a while so she wouldn’t run back home. We’ve since let her off the string and, though she managed to eat most of the new green shoots in our garden and we contemplated eating her for dinner, she’s now laying eggs fairly consistently and behaving herself after some fortification of the fence around the garden.

Our colleagues

Blair is a 24 year old “big kid” from Sydney, Australia. He spent 7 weeks out in Kaisosi with McKenzie and I and did a phenomenal job of engaging with the young guys of the community through sports and lots of hanging out. Blair left for Uganda on November 13th and will be traveling in Africa until after the new year. We enjoyed him very much and miss him.
Adam and Hannah are from Saskatoon, Saskatuwan, Canada. Adam is a second year family resident and Hannah is a nurse. They are here on Adam’s elective time which is 7 weeks.
Julie and Mark are a delightful couple from Pennsylvania. Mark is an electrical engineer who specializes in computer systems. He is working on developing computer capacity at the hospital as well as mentoring young people at the project and working on the garden with McKenzie. Julie is an ER nurse so she is working in “Casualty” at the hospital. They are planning on staying for eight months.
Allysse is most recently from Indiana though she has lived all over the US. She is an operating room nurse so she is working in the “Theater,” where I have spent a good portion of my time. She is planning on staying in Rundu for 1 year.
Laura is an Occupational Therapist from Washington state. She has joined the physiotherapy department at the hospital which is actually pretty well developed due to the large amount of amputee and maimed from the war in Angola. She is planning to stay for at least 8 months.

Moving plans

So after much debate and careful contemplation we have decided that we are going to move from our house, which is part of the OVC project “compound” at the edge of Kaisosi village, into the house of our friend Daniel, who has just returned to Rundu on Christmas holiday from banking school in Windhoek. He is one of our very best friends here and was our constant companion when we were in 2008. We will move into his house and he will move into another empty house next door. We are very grateful for his hospitality and plan to stay there until he returns to school in February. His house is located deeper in the village and surrounded by neighbors. It is the same as the other houses in the area, made of mud with a tin roof (we actually helped build it in 2008, fun!). Our purpose for moving there is to try and get a better understanding of the daily life and culture of the Lucazi people that we are working with. The house does have electricity, but water is a short walk away at a community tap and at this point, there is no toilet of any kind (we are planning on digging a latrine). There is no shower and we will not have a refrigerator, in keeping with the standards of the neighborhood. McKenzie is busily brainstorming what kind of food we can eat that will last in 100 degree weather and is easy to cook on a fire. Any suggestions would be welcome! We hope to get a better insight into peoples lives, make more friends, continue to learn the language and become a more real part of the community.


Though we manage to stay pretty busy most of the time, there have been a few quiet nights with nothing to do and I’ve had a chance to record a few songs on a portable recorder that I brought along with me. These are songs that I have been sitting on for quite some time and it’s quite gratifying to finally get them recorded. The recordings are very simple, just guitar, vocals and harmony, and I am quite pleased with how they have turned out. I plan to keep recording as time allows and hopefully have enough material for a new David August album when we get home. We shall see.


You may have heard us talk about the marathon church services that they have here, never less than 3 hours and sometimes 5 or 6. The biggest component of the church service is singing. Between the three different choirs and one or two other singing groups, plus hymns sung by the whole congregation, it adds up to hours of singing. These people love to sing! So, we have decided to join the church “youth choir” partially to keep awake during the long services, to make friends, to learn language, and to join them in doing something that they love. We have been planning on going to practice for the last couple weeks but things keep getting in the way, but eventually, we will up there singing and dancing with the rest of them, sticking out like a couple of pasty pale sore thumbs. We’re both a bit nervous, they’re good singers and it’s a bit overwhelming but we are looking forward to it.

In other news, Happy Thanksgiving! We are going to have a small get together here in celebration and will be remembering all of you in our long list of thankful-for's. Check McKenzies facebook for pictures...

More when we get a chance,
David and Mckenzie

Monday, October 4, 2010

Finally, Africa!

Hey Everybody!
Well, we are here in Namibia, getting settled in. We arrive about a week ago after a weeks holiday in Cape Town, South Africa. We stayed with some really lovely Cape Towners, Brett and Louise, who we found on They showed us around, told us all the good places to go and let us stay at their house for free! Louise works at the Mt Nelson hotel, a one of the nicest and oldest hotels in the city where movie stars (and Elton John) stay, she treated us to afternoon tea there, which was amazing! We felt pretty rich and famous! They also directed us to several really awesome restaurants, we were super spoiled in the culinary department. One day we went down to Hermanus, a small town about two hours from Cape Town that is famous for its shallow bay where whales come to calve. There are cliffs all around the bay and we spent about two hours watching a pair of whales play with each other just a few yards from the shore. It was pretty incredible.
Another day we took a cable car to the top of Table Mountain, where we had a breath-taking view of all of Cape Town. Speaking of which, Cape Town has got to be the most beautiful city that either of us have ever seen. It’s got huge jagged mountains right up against white sandy beaches and cold blue water. We looked at pictures before we went but were blown away when we actually got there and saw how beautiful it actually is, we were amazed. Cape Town should definitely go on your lifetime to-do list! The last thing we did in Cape Town was take a tour of Roben Island, the former prison and leper colony where Nelson Mandela and other South African and Namibian political prisoners were held for decades during apartheid. This was very interesting for us as the repercussions of apartheid are still felt in South Africa as well as in Namibia, which was a colony of South Africa until the early nineties. All in all, Cape Town was a wonderful experience and we would absolutely love to go back sometime, thanks Brett and Louise!
At the end of the week we said a sad goodbye to our hosts and hopped back on the airplane to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. After a short flight we touched down and passed through immigration without much trouble. Our team leader and good friend Dr. Rob Greidanus was there to greet us with two of his daughters, Shea and Sara and one of our very best Namibian friends, Daniel. It felt great to see them all again and get started with our term in Namibia. Another volunteer, an Australian named Blair, arrived on a different flight later that so we met him and talked for a while and then went to sleep. The nest day we did some shopping, grabbing a few kitchen implements that McKenzie wanted and most importantly, bikes! The last time we came to Namibia, we were driving a Toyota truck that belongs to the OVC project. This became not only quite a significant expense, but also we felt sort of like we were a slave to it and it was one more thing setting us apart from our neighbors and making us look like stereotypical rich whites. So we had been planning to ride bikes instead of driving as much as possible. So far we have made two trips into town and back on the bike and it has been fun, but challenging. We live out in Kaisosi, a village outside of Rundu. The road to town is about 4 km of dirt, and since it hasn’t rained in months, it is filled with pot holes and, worse, sand traps. Riding a bike in sand is very very challenging and sometimes impossible. So the ride to town is also partially a walk to town. Also it is very hot right now and it’s only going to get hotter, the rains aren’t due until December-ish, and it’s windy, which help on the ride to twon, but can make the ride home a fair bit tougher. Despite this, it’s only a 20-30 minute ride so it’s very doable and we are determined to make it work as much as possible.
In other news, we have been having a great time reconnecting with the Greidanuses (and their 7 kids) and our Namibian friends, as well as making new ones. Most of the kids remember us and were very happy to see us, as we were them. In two years, some of them have grown and changed so that we almost don’t recognize them, others are exactly the same. The OVC project is still going on but has changed a lot since we were here. There have been some issues with dependency on missionaries and thus, our organization has pulled back in hopes that nationals will step up again and it can go on in a sustainable way. We are living in a very nice house near the OVC Project building, right in front of the playground where the kids gather to play soccer, swing and hang out. We are very comfortable here but we are considering making a move to another house, deeper in the village in order to have more contact with locals, learn the language and culture better and be more a part of the community. More details to come. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, we are happy to be here but missing home as well. Talk to you soon.

David and McKenzie

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hey Everyone!
We just had a great weekend in the flat head area at David's family cabin.
We leave Great falls on wednesday and get to Cape town South Africa on Friday night.
There is still lots to do but we are excited to get going!
Mckenzie (and David)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Our new blog. Weeee!

Hi everybody, welcome to our blog. We're excited to have a new way to keep everyone posted on what we're doing in Namibia. We're going to be doing a weekly update on how things are going, including preparations and plans before we go and of course, highlights of what's going on while we're there. Check back often and we'll keep you in the know!