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.