Dan

A Web Development Professional with experience in entrepreneurship, web applications and digital marketing.

Africa Chapter I: Arriving in Namibia

Where was I the past month? Why was I even there?

Over March of 2016, I travelled to Outjo, Namibia to visit Peace Corps volunteer and girlfriend, Christine Callahan: ChroniclesofNamibia.com, on her 2.5 year tour working in a hospital. The full trip was about 23 days as I learned about her lifestyle there, travelled around Namibia, flew to South Africa for a week long trek in the Drakensberg Mountains, and enjoyed the beaches of the coastal city of Swakopmund.

namibiastar

The trip begins

I began my journey with a 30 hour flight from LAX to NYC to Johannesburg to Windhoek, Namibia. Christine’s hometown, Outjo, is a 4 hour drive from Windhoek, so naturally we had to rent a car. However, 99% of cars in 3rd world countries are manual, so the week prior I was taught by the one and only Hai Nguyen of Caju Company how to drive a stickshift in LA. Funny story – I got in an accident the second day practicing. Ask me about it later…

20160304_014950

The first night we stayed in a hotel in Okahandja. Halfway between Windhoek and Outjo.  The hotel was on the more expensive side and cost us $63 for one night two people.

The first night we stayed in a hotel in Okahandja. Halfway between Windhoek and Outjo. The hotel was on the more expensive side and cost us $63 for one night two people.

Day 2, jet-lagged as hell and already hiking.  I chose this pic because you can see the landscape of Namibia. This is exactly how 99% of the country looks. Cisco Brewers owes me commission on this one.

Day 2, jet-lagged as hell and already hiking. I chose this pic because you can see the landscape of Namibia. This is exactly how 99% of the country looks. Cisco Brewers owes me commission on this one.


We met up with Esterline for the mini hiking day.  She is another of the many Peace Corps volunteers scattered throughout Namibia.

We met up with Esterline for the mini hiking day. She is another of the many Peace Corps volunteers scattered throughout Namibia.

The Life of a Peace Corps Volunteer

Christine is lucky. She is one of the few who has access to: hot water showers, in-town grocery stores, and most importantly – Wi-Fi (enough to at least work online with).

Grocery stores have most of the products you can find in the US.  Though to Christine's chagrin, they are missing fine cheeses.

Grocery stores have most of the products you can find in the US. Though to Christine’s chagrin, they are missing fine cheeses.

She works in the Hospital of Outjo, doing administrative tasks and learning about the cultural impacts of nutrition as part of her Tulane Public Health graduate thesis. She lives directly on hospital grounds in the nurses dorm with her colleagues.

Hospital grounds

Hospital grounds

Christine's office.

Christine’s office.

The toughest and most powerful thing a Peace Corps volunteer can do is integrate with the local customs and culture. Christine wants to make her mark in the Public Health sector – and therefore focuses a lot on teaching proper nutrition and exercise to everyone she can. She teaches a cooking class to local community members, grows a vegetable garden with colleagues, runs a health club at the local school, and plays on the nurses’ netball team (a version of basketball).

I could help weed and water the veggie garden or I could stand and take pictures.

I could help weed and water the veggie garden or I could stand and take pictures.

Today at health club we focused on exercise.  Christine taught the students several versions of tag and I taught them bodyweight exercises (i.e. push ups, squats, planks, etc).

Today at health club we focused on exercise. Christine taught the students several versions of tag and I taught them bodyweight exercises (i.e. push ups, squats, planks, etc).

Leading the warmups at netball practice.

Leading the warmups at netball practice.

Netball is basketball with no dribbling, no backboards, and no contact.  :(

Netball is basketball with no dribbling, no backboards, and no contact. 🙁

Perhaps the worst thing about being a Peace Corps volunteer – well the worst thing about living in a developing country – is hand washing laundry. As someone who can’t stand doing laundry with a machine, I now have a huge appreciation for the washer/dryer in the basement.

Fill tub with water and soap.  Hand scrub a small load.  Drain. Refill. Wash out soap.  Drain refill. Wash out final soap. Hang. Repeat until done.

Fill tub with water and soap. Hand scrub a small load. Drain. Refill. Wash out soap. Drain refill. Wash out final soap. Hang. Repeat until done.

You always have to keep an eye on clothes while they are hanging - otherwise people will steal items.

You always have to keep an eye on clothes while they are hanging – otherwise people will steal articles.

Outjo is a small town. Most homes are built with tin roofs and basic foundations.

Downtown has OK Foods grocery store, a few gas stations, a few restaurants, and a museum/visitors center.

Downtown has OK Foods grocery store, a few gas stations, a few restaurants, and a museum/visitors center.


The outskirts of town of town had a barber.  The barber on the inside of town didn't know how to do white people hair, so i had to go here.

The outskirts of town of town had a barber. The barber on the inside of town didn’t know how to do white people hair, so i had to go here.

These homes are called the 'Smarties' due to their bright colors.  Tin roofs and basic foundations.

These homes are called the ‘Smarties’ due to their bright colors. Tin roofs and basic foundations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One comment on “Africa Chapter I: Arriving in Namibia”

  • Joy Donohue says:

    Nice descriptions here and loved the video of netball. They are pretty good players and seem like they’re having a blast. What a different world — awesome updates.