Friday, October 26, 2007

Off the map

Well, I didn’t post last week as, after quite a busy week, Friday found my husband and me speeding off to his grandmother’s funeral. If you have a fairly detailed map of Namibia, and if you can find the town of Otjinene on it (about 300km north-east of Windhoek), then let your finger go a bit more easterly (towards the border with Botswana) and that’s about where we were!
The proceedings viewed from behind two ladies in traditional dress
Of course there are a lot of traditions associated with funerals and burials. The men and the women are separate for most of the proceedings, so Jimmy’s elder sister, Rukeeveni, ‘babysat’ me – mostly telling me what to do when (there are certain things that must be done by the “children of the house” (descendants) and their wives). Most of the women were in traditional Herero dress, and many people attended as Jimmy’s family is well-known in the area.

Part of the large crowd who attended

It was extremely hot and very windy (which helped with the heat, but also made things very dusty). So it wasn’t a surprise when a storm rolled in just as we were leaving to drive back to Windhoek on Saturday evening. I must say that it was a surreal experience to be driving through the African bush (very fast, so we wouldn’t get stuck – according to my husband!) on a rutted, sandy track with lightening flashing all around and from every direction! We arrived back to find that Windhoek had received some good rain, and also got showers on Sunday and Monday.

On Sunday afternoon I led a session with the church’s young ladies (ages 11 to 26) about dating and relationships. The idea was to find out their experiences and the issues they have to deal with. It was a bit alarming to see what the youngest group (aged 11 to 13) thought and knew about relationships and sex! As an indication of the lack of female empowerment, about 80% of the 25 girls and women present felt like they had suffered some form of sexual harassment. All these issues have a direct impact on the spread of HIV. But I think some valuable information came up that will help these issues to be addressed through the youth group.

After School Program was quite a challenge last week, as many of the volunteers are writing or preparing for exams; or busy with assignments and extra classes. Kauna herself finished her exams on Monday this week and so was ‘off’, studying, last week. We had to cut back a lot on the activities as we just didn’t have enough people to handle all the kids. However this week was better. We managed to buy some textbooks with money donated to the Program from the AIM team who worked with the Program for two months in the middle of the year, and so that will be providing more revision opportunities for the kids.

Pray for Kauna – she ‘sms’ed me this afternoon to say she thinks she’s caught chicken pox from her two (younger) sisters…but still had to go to the doctor to make sure.

Our interview on Katutura Community Radio went well on the 14th – we started late, but they gave us over an hour, so we were on the air from about 17:30 until 18:45. We had a good opportunity to talk about what we’re doing as a church for the community, and the challenges and needs we have. We’re happy with how it went, and Mr Kateve, the interviewer/DJ, is keen to do follow-up pieces as well.

This week I finalized funding proposals for EBCAIDS with Russell from SIM’s HOPE for AIDS program that have been approved and submitted to SIM. We need funding fairly desperately, so please pray for these proposals as they are sent to possible donors around the world. Also, on the 5th November Russell is meeting with a church in the U.S. that’s interested in partnering with us as we address HIV/AIDS issues – pray for some positive discussions.

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