Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that it’s the 13th already- it feels like Christmas and NYE were just a couple of days ago! So much has happened since my last post- I just hope I can remember everything!

So, after much deliberation, and the fact that our visas didn’t come through until the day before Christmas Eve, we (the 8 Namibian volunteers) decided to spend Christmas right here in Omaruru. It was great to have everyone together again and the mood was very festive. We decorated the hostel with leftover decorations from the prize-giving ceremony and borrowed a makeshift Christmas tree from the staffroom to put our presents under, then on Christmas Eve we took a trip to Spar with a wheelbarrow and arrived home with it full to the brim with food! We kept our Christmas meal a mixture of British and Namibian- we had roast chicken, roast potatoes and Brussel sprouts (which do NOT work on a braai!) as well as turmeric rice and pigs-in-blankets made with traditional boerewors sausages- by the end we were completely stuffed! In the evening we took a Christmas walk before snuggling down with hot chocolate to watch a film.

There was no time to relax on Boxing Day as we had to be out of the hostel by 8.00 to catch a hike down to Windhoek (surprisingly easy, considering the day), and after a long wait at the Intercape office, we were finally off on our 21-hour bus journey to Cape Town! We’d heard many things about Cape Town, good and bad, and in the end I was pleasantly surprised- it’s an amazing place! I couldn’t get over how you could be walking among skyscrapers, as if in inner-city London, and then suddenly turn a corner and see Table Mountain looming over the city, surrounded by greenery and vineyards! Like all good tourists, we did climb Table Mountain, managing it in 1 hour 45 minutes (which we were pretty pleased with, especially as we took multiple 20 minute breaks along the way!) and the view of the city was incredible whenever the clouds cleared. We visited plenty more places during our time there: Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope (the most south-western point of Africa), Camps Bay beach, Simonstown (home to a colony of African penguins), the beautiful V&A waterfront, the planetarium, the Company Gardens, World of Birds (where we were climbed upon by squirrel monkeys) and various museums. We also went on a wine tour around 5 vineyards in the Stellenbosch region and took a bike ride through the Table Mountain National Park, with baboons watching us from all directions. NYE was spent at a street party/festival and was great fun- we relaxed the day after by going to an open-air cinema to watch the Wizard of Oz with picnics. We were all very sad to leave- there was so much else to do and see! Will just have to come back sometime…!

Anyway, it’s back to school life now- today and yesterday were spent sorting out applications and class lists for the new year and the hostel kids have been arriving throughout the day. School begins tomorrow, with proper lessons starting on Monday- should be fun to get back into it, even if it means another 120 names to learn (give or take)… Better get started!

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