I’ve almost been here for two months now, and I’m starting to realize some of the things I think are normal now I thought were crazy when I first got here. So I thought I’d make a list, in no particular order.
1. There are no paper products anywhere, except toilet paper. And toilet paper is more the texture of a paper towel in a public bathroom in America.
2. Everything in Namibia is BYOC- Bring your own chair. Bring it to church, a funeral, a brye (which is a barbeque), a bar, a festival, a school assembly, etc.
3. Ladies have facial hair. Sometimes even full on beards. It’s just accepted and in some areas seen as a sign of significant beauty. I’m not actually sure if that’s true, but I think I overheard someone saying that. Let’s hope it is
4. Omaere. That’s otjiheraro for sour milk. Yup, people prefer to drink sour milk. I am not a fan, but many heraro’s go crazy for it
5. There are several different tribes in Namibia, all with separate cultures, languages, foods, and customs. For this reason Namibians do not understand when I tell them I am just American. Being Irish would not be the same as being Damara or Owambo, but sometimes I say it to keep the conversation moving
6. People reuse everything. No food goes wasted, sometimes not even the bones from a piece of meat. and you can bet there will be bones in your meat. Bottles and bags are reused as much as possible. It’s pretty cool
7. There is trash everywhere. This isn’t as true in the village because there is nothing to buy that can make trash, but in Okahandja there is trash all over the place. This confused me when I first got here because I thought people reused everything. It still confuses me some
8. Dust tornados. Have you seen the video of the kids soccer game where a tornado just touches down for a minute? That happens pretty frequently here. I’ve seen at least 4. I think this could also be an explanation for all the scattered trash.
9. Someone got ahold of a T-pain machine and an electric keyboard and have incorporated them into almost all Namibian songs. They sound like electronic polka music
10. People get paid at the end of the month, so the towns are crazy crowded at the end of the month. After a week they go back to being empty
11. I immediately assume white Namibians are racist. It’s bad of me, but unfortunately it’s the case most of the time
12. There are lizards and baboons instead of squirrels and deer
13. It’s weird for a building to have grass around it. That means the owner takes the time and has the money to water it and maintain it. Everything here is just straight dirt and sand.
14. The radio blasts while the TV is on. Somehow in the past month I’ve learned how to focus on both…kind of.
15. Soapies. I hope i’ve brought these up. They’re spanish soap operas dubbed in the worst english voices known to man and people are obsessed. Right now the current soapies are “El Clone” and “Saborati”. They’re so bad I can’t even watch, but people get in to them. Also, everything on tv is called a movie, at least to my host family members. It got some getting used to
16.Tomati sauce is sugary ketchup and it goes on everything. So does tangy mayonaise.
17. Cool drink = anything from soda to neon colored punch that tastes like medicine.
18.Hitch-hiking is a common and recommended form of transportation for Namibians (but not Peace Corps volunteers because it is against policy)
19. When a lady needs to feed a baby she might just do it wherever she is in the moment. This could mean breast feeding at the cash register in the grocery store, or just wipping out a boob while watching TV on the couch. I’ve seen both and it’s now perfectly normal.
20. kids under the age of 3 are not required to wear pants, and may poop in the yard. At hte homestead they roll around in the dirt and go wherever they please. In town my little brother has a tiny plastic red toilet that he drags in front of the tv whenever he has to poop.
Ok, that’s all I have for now. I posted some pictures on my facebook, check them out if you get a chance!