Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dogs and Chickens

Recently, as I was looking at my blogger history, I came upon this post that I don’t think I ever posted. It was written right after we arrived in Rehoboth, and it is essentially an amalgam of my initial observations about the town.

Rehoboth is the name of the town we are staying in. It sounds like RAY-ha-bahth (the last syllable rhymes with “moth”). Actually, everyone seems to kind of pronounce it their own way, but this is what I have heard the most.

We have heard that there are as many as 70-90 churches that serve this community.

Rehoboth is an odd mix of rural and urban. It has between 40,000 and 50,000 people, but that includes a good deal of area around us. There is some farming in the outlying areas, and you often see wagons being pulled through town by horses or donkeys. Although the area has 3 times as many people as our hometown, there are very few amenities- no restaurants, 2 grocery stores, and one clothing store.

Most families own at least one dog, and at night it has been very difficult to sleep because of all the barking. The cacophony seems to build as the sun goes down, and can last for hours. That can be a good thing, though, because it keeps out intruders and unwanted animals. In the morning we are greeted by roosters crowing, so that’s no different from home. The problem is that there are so many of them here, and they can’t seem to decide on a synchronized crowing time.

There are two paved roads, and one intersection with stoplights (called "robots").

Rehoboth is composed primarily of the Baster people, which are a specific group of the Coloured population. Due to Apartheid and Southern African history, race relations take on a whole new importance and intensity here.

Like the rest of Namibia, the main language spoken here is Afrikaans, although some of the children speak a little English. The second most common language is that spoken by the Nama/ Damara people

“Pancakes” are more like crepes, and “jelly” is jello.

We have recently been introduced to Simba chips, with flavors like tomato sauce (ketchup), chutney (sort of like barbeque), and salt-and-vinegar.

You cannot get chocolate chips in Africa, so they are prized possessions to American missionaries. You can’t get a ton of other stuff we eat, either, but chocolate chips seem to hurt the most : )

It is very sandy here, which makes it a little more difficult to get around. Imagine walking and driving on a beach all the time- that’s a pretty close approximation to our roads here.

There is a lot of poverty in Rehoboth. Everyday we see many kids on the street asking for food, and sometimes digging in the garbage. Even though we can’t always feed them, we are starting to develop relationships with them, and hope to find some stable sources of food to direct them to.

Safety is a big issue here. You ALWAYS make sure any doors are locked before yoou leave, and all windows have bars on them, even in the houses. Alcoholism is a big problem, and it seems to contribute to many of the security issues. There aren’t streetlights and people don’t have yard lights, so we stay inside after sunset, or only go out if we are riding from one place to another in a vehicle. On Friday and Saturday nights, everyone goes to the bars, and it gets pretty crazy. We are helping with a great youth group that meets on Friday nights, so that keeps us occupied, but Saturday night we just stay in. In Namibia, everyone gets paid the last Friday of the month, so that weekend tends to be especially wild.

There is very little here in terms of activities for youth, emphasizing the importance of the youth center we are working on. Ironically, we heard when we got here that the pastor in charge is thinking of calling the youth center “The Rock,” which is what our hometown’s Youth for Christ program is called.


Mom G said...

Hello my child. I will send you all the chocolate chips you want. When you hear the dogs bark just think of how happy Bailey will be to see you when you get home.

Kristen said...

hi friend...
i cannot tell you how incredible it is to read your updates. it feels weird not to be there experiencing all this with you when i read about it. i love to hear about your experiences at kwakwas...it sounds like you are doing AMAZING stuff for those kiddos. send all my love to them! and all my love to the team and you! :)

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