Izzy Richard’s Second Term at Otjikondo

Parents’ Day Project

We’ve spent most of this term getting ready for the Otjikondo’s annual “Parents’ Day”. It’s a day where parents and guardians of everyone in the school are invited to come and have a look around. They can speak to their child’s teacher, look in their exercise books and be present for the big parent meeting. On top of all this, the day is scattered with many stalls and events. There is a tombola run by some of the staff and a food and drink stall run by the some of the hostel and kitchen staff.

There is also an art exhibition, a craft sale and a drama performance which the Gaps (my project partner, Skye, me and all the 3 month volunteers) were in charge of. Parents’ Day was set to be July 2019, so since November 2018 we have been doing work with the children to put up on the walls for the exhibition. Things got really serious, though, in February this year when Parent’s Day was moved forward by a month to June 2019. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but we’d suddenly lost 4 weeks worth of making craft to sell, putting up displays and at least 15 drama rehearsals.

Freddy, a German Gap who was with us for three months between February is a very talented seamstress, so she got on with doing lots of sewing with craft groups whilst Skye and I pushed on with a suddenly increasing number of drama rehearsals. We had a cast of 25 children aged between 10 and 14 who are excitable at the best of times. They were an amazing group of children who were all talented when it comes to acting and full of character and ideas. However this meant they were a little challenging at times (almost all the time). The extra pressure on us meant that as time went on , drama rehearsals could easily become battles between us and them.

A much-needed break in the holidays

By the end of term in April we headed off for a much needed break from school. First up, we headed to Sossusvlei (the Namib desert). We camped and scaled many sand dunes before heading to Swakopmund to relax for a few days. The time was spent walking on the beach and in town, a trip to Walvis bay where we saw hoards of flamingos, learnt a lot about the salt mines and kayaked with seals, an exhilarating morning of quad biking in the dunes that surround Swakopmund and finished with a fantastic meal on the pier, right next to the president!

Next stop Zambia!

We headed back to Windhoek where we parted ways with Freddy, who was flying back to Germany. Skye and I continued travelling – next stop Zambia! We took a 24 hour bus up to Livinsgtone where we stayed for an eventful few days at Victoria Falls. We started by white water rafting down the Zambezi river which, when calm enough, greeted us with some beautiful views of the gorge and that evening saw one of the most mesmerising sunsets I’ve ever seen whilst cruising down the river, surrounded by hippos and crocodiles.

That night plans changed massively when, at about 4:30am, I took Skye to hospital because she had chest pain and couldn’t breathe. It turned out she had dangerously low blood pressure. After a stressful few hours, we headed back to the hostel to sleep where I found myself missing Otjikondo a lot.

That afternoon I signed myself up to zip wire from Zambia to Zimbabwe – right across the gorge! I felt like a bird as a glided through the sky, looking down at the river below, the falls to my right, a clear view down the gorge to my left and found myself wanting to do it again and again. Completely knackered by this point, but not wanting to miss anything, we headed into the national park to get as close as we could to the thundering waterfalls and stayed there long after sunset until we really had to leave.

Touring Damaraland

Skye and I had agreed long ago that we both really wanted to see more of Damaraland, so in the final week of our holidays we joined a tour. It took us to my third time in Etosha, right through the depths of Damaraland, along by the Skeleton Coast and to Swakopmund (again). Despite the rather racist couple on our tour, we thoroughly enjoyed it. However, neither of us could wait to be back in Otjikondo.

Our last term has begun!

Term 2 (which is my third and final term here) has just begun and already I can feel Parents Day whizzing towards us. The new three month Gap, Anna, has just arrived form Germany. We all get along amazingly which makes the mountain of work to do seem like a lot less. Despite the mountain sounding rather stressful, everyday with the children is a lot of fun. Evenings cooking and doing preparation in the Gap Flat are always full of jokes and good times. I don’t find myself missing home at all and know that I’m so lucky to be living with the people that I live with.

 

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