One of the first tasks to undertake with my Ohalushu-based host mother was to do some shopping in Ondangwa. Ondangwa is the sprawling town just south of home via the B1 highway, which spans all the way from Angola to South Africa. After school ended, we met another teacher at the wheel of her massive pickup. Two primary school students were also present, and I heard them mention being sent to buy fish. The two little girls floated up into the covered truck bed, followed by my awkward and gangly self-hoisting.
Our first stop in the city was at a fish distribution center with the slogan “Power in Fish.” Only about ten customers were allowed to enter at a time, so our driver and the two girls took their places in line. I sat with some strangers and bargained for apples. After a small eternity, we continued on our journey. The truck bed received me, the girls, and four bags of frozen, salted fish.
On my second day as volunteer, one of my fellow teachers approached me with questions about the United States. In the past (cf. Tanzania), questions like “Is Canada a state?” and comments like “But you are European” annoyed me. However, my fellow teacher changed the way I feel about these seemingly ignorant questions.
During last month a neighbor—I’ll call her Tina—often came to visit me and her grandfather, who was the patriarch of my homestead. Tina is fashionable, very intelligent, and runs a cuca shop a few nights per week. She also attends church in order to help fill seats, as she puts it. Tina’s most boisterous performance occurred while I was writing a lesson plan in a small, hot room on the homestead. She began with a question to engage me, her captive audience.