Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tomorrow and more

theme song: Leaving on a jet plane....(a tribute to J.V.)
attack of the flies and flying termite plague
girls' night sleepover 4am bedtime
packed and loaded with carvings and crafts and very little esle
rooibos and sweet chilli fritos, pap and veggie seasoning
bracing for -10 windchill
sad to leave now that rainy season has finally begun
excited for family and friends
Jedi and Amberpants
PA and OH
still hanging on to hope, but constantly learning God's choice is better than mine
leaning on joy whatever the choice
anticipating Maveja's freedom
learning to fly.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

one week and counting

anticipating. hopeful. excited. nervous. wondering. travel. family. friends. pictures. stories. laughter. coffee. hugs. changes. familiar. foreign. one. year.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A King and A Kindgom

"There are two great lies that I’ve heard: 'The day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die' and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican "

- Derek Webb, "A King and A Kingdom", Mockingbird

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Village Life

Basic life in the village consists mostly of milking, corraling, watering the cows, cooking, cleaning up and preparing the next meal, sitting around talking, sleeping, and watching the kids play. Wake up is anywhere from 6am to 8am, depending on if you are the one in charge of making the fire for coffee and breakfast in the morning, and how well you can block out the noise of everyone else who is already up. I usualy got up sometime around 7 or 7:30, except when Maveja and I had to make coffee and get breakfast ready. O the days were were “on duty” Maveja and I would get up early to sweep the area, then start the fire for coffee. We would make the coffee and pour it into cups and serve the elders first, then the younger adults and teenagers, and last the small kids. Everyone drinks coffee here – small kids included - instant coffee, with TONS of sugar. Maveja and I would usually make our own cup of coffee separately from the batch for everyone else, so as to avoid the entire cup of sugar added to the teapot of coffee. Along with the coffee there was usually bread spread with animal fat or jam. Then later omaire around 9:00 or so whenever it was finished cooking over the fire. As soon as we finished washing the dishes from breakfast, it was time to figure out what to make for lunch and begin preparing it. Lunch usually consisted of rice or pasta with brisket and some type of sauce. Then around 7:00 for dinner there was more omaire. I made one lunch this week that ended up being a real hit with everyone. With few ingredients at my disposal, it was time for creative cooking. I cooked borewors in a sauce that I made out of mayonaise, curry, a little bit of chutney, sugar and a can of tomato oninion mix. I topped macaroni noodles with the borewors and sauce and got lots of compliments.

Once the sun went down we would often sit around the fire talking, even on nights when it was raining, which numbered about 3 nights. One night was a particularly good night for fireside chatting, as one of Maveja’s friends whom she hasn’t seen in a long time came to visit. His name is Mbatjiwa, and speaks fluent english. He began talking with me and asked questions about what I am doing here in Namibia, and as soon as he heard that I was a missionary, God used the conversation for His glory. He began with the question, “If someone wants to repent, do they have to do it in a church or is it something they can do on their own?” This exemplifies the caliber of questions he continued to ask, and he was quite engaged in the answers. We actually ended up with a number of others joining us as we talked. Please pray for Mbatjiwa, because he is, as he puts it, ‘wanting to have all the facts to know what he is getting into’. The Bible calls it “counting the cost”. He is seeking answers to many God-inspired questions, and I pray that God opens his eyes to the Truth he is looking for, but as of yet unable to see or grasp.

I got to know many more members of Maveja’s extended family and I was immediately welcomed as family too. Many of them also live in Okahandja, so its not really goodbye, but ‘see you when you come back.’ But soon it was time to leave the village and head back home. Maveja will be staying on at the village until the next run to Okahandja which will not be until January 17th. Please keep her your prayers.

This is most of everyone who stayed at Maveja's place


Gathered under the tree for lunch




Keeping the rain off the fire

Rainyday fire

Kahuu (Maveja's dad) with some of the cows


For more pictures, go to my Flickr site at:


On Tuesday night, Maveja and I along with her two aunts, her sister, and approx. 5 others went to see Bullet in the town Ojtinene – about 20 minutes’ drive away. Bullet is a popular Herero performing group (singing and dancing). We took Maveja’s dad’s bakkie, and I was the driver, since no one else ot of the 10 people going knew how to drive. Driving in the village is a bit like driving in really deep snow. The sand is very loose and there are tire tracks cut deep into the sand. It began raining as we headed out that evening and we had to drive around Ojiteke picking up people, which meant turning back around and going out the way we came, as there is only one way in or out for most of the small outcropppings of homes. On the turn around at our last pick-up stop, I could see that the sand was just too deep to accommodate our turn around, but with no other way, we attempted it. And got stuck. After sveral minutes of trying to coax the bakkie out, people piled out of the back to help by pushing us back while I threw it in reverse, then pushin us front while I made the turn. Finally we were back on track and headed into the town. We stopped in at the hall where Bullet was going to be performing to see when it would start and how much it would cost. It was slated to begin at 8:00 and cost was N $15.00, which equals about $2.00 USD. Since we had time to kill, we drove to a nearby lodge. It was very simple, with a few little bangalows and a small restaraut area, surounded by bush. Maveja’s family laughed and said to me, “Welcome to a black people’s lodge”. We stopped in to have a cooldrink and sit to pass the time, but no there was only one man there as caretaker and the person who could sell was not around, so we just got a quick “tour” of the grounds and stopped to take a picture together. The caretaker showed us the three little bungalows on the property and explained that the price per night is N $130, which includes breakfast. (that’s about $18.00 USD, by the way). We took a picture together, but its on Maveja’s camera, so I will try to add it later after she comes home.

Going to see Bullet was sort if like a concert, sort of like a dance concert, sort of like a party, and sort of like going to a club. There were a couple hundred people there, gathered in a small hall in Otjinene - the nearest town to Otjiteke. People were sitting on chairs they brought from home, on beer cases, the foor, or standing along the wall or dancing. The music was both played live on keyboard and synthesizer with live lyrics sung thru mics, and also at times played from recording from a laptop and pumped through huge mains. Bullet consisted of 2 keyboard/synth players, a DJ playing the recorded stuff and hyping up the crowd, and about 3 singer/dancers who alternated, who sang, or danced to the recorded music, and sometimes sang while dancing. the concert tself was slated to start at 8pm, but true to African form started around 9. It lasted for HOURS! We left around 1am and it was still going strong. Who knows when it actually ended. Maveja says that sometimes they go on all night. I of course was the only white person and gots lots of looks. It was a lot of fun and very entertaining. I don't know what the style of dancing is called, but I like to call it, "I-just-got-electrocuted-and-I-really-have-to-pee,-but-who-cares-because-this-looks-really-cool". I have some video, but with my connection I can't really upload it, so I will have to settle for a still photo, which doesn't do it justice, but here is Bullet:



I attained immediate celebrity status, however, as I am the first tjilumbu (white person) to be in Otjiteke. Maveja and I were visiting some more of her relatives at some nearby otase (pronounced o-ta-thay) houses (homes made with sticks and cow dung) when the omombo omuti (directly translated: book of tree) ceremony finished. (it is a little bit like a Christmas Eve service, with verses shared and the singing of Christmas songs) All of the children who had been in attendance at the omombo omuti came running over to where I was standing and crowded around me, just staring and probably wondering what the heck I was doing there. Finally one brave little soul stepped up to me and put out her hand for a handshake. That was all it took. Suddenly I was shaking hands with 50 kids.

otase in Otjiteke


Monday, January 01, 2007

Christmas in Otjiteke

On Christmas Day I visited a little place called ‘south korea.’ Let’s just say that spending much of the afternoon trekking out into the bush doesn’t exactly say, “Merry Christmas”. But I survived. Also tried my hand at milking cows, driving a bakkie through very deep sand paths that barely qualify as paths, and eating Omaire.


Omaire is porridge (or pap) mixed with sugar animal fat and sour milk. Its pretty much a stapel in any Herero diet. Omaire and Onyama (meat) are the two main “food groups” I’d say. To get Omaihi (the sour milk) you take whatever milk you got from the cows that morning and put it in a kalabash (a large gourd) and let it sit out in the sun until the milk begins to turn. That’s pretty much it; then its ready to mix in the porridge.




My first bath in the village was taken with a small basin with about 2 or 3 liters of water that had been warmed by the fire. There is a tiny “bathhouse” behind the house. It is bascially a port-o-potty but instead of the hole being for a toilet, the hole is what holds the wash basin. It is actually quite refreshing to look out at the night sky while you’re in there. I could’ve taken a candle with me, I suppose, but my thinking is its probably best that there’s no way to see because I don’t really want to know what kind of bugs were sharing my bath time. I don’t have a picture of what it looked like early on in the week while it was still only able to be used for baths. Partway through the week the guys rigged a shower so that one could open a shower head on the end of a hose connected to one of the big drums of water and could have a small, trickly kind of shower. It was realy nice. This is what it looked like after the conversion.


We thought there might be a way for me to connect to the internet while I was visiting the village, because one of Maveja’s relatives has a phone, but it was the kind with the phone attached, with no free-standing phone cord to plug and unplug for a computer, and with no cell network, the village was, rather than a partial disconnect, a complete disconnect from the rest of the world.