When we learned we would be placed in Rundu, Namibia by Peace Corps, we were excited to see what our new home would be like. Luckily we didn’t have to wait long because our “shadowing” site was Rundu. Shadowing is a chance for Peace Corps trainees to get out into the field and observe and learn from currently-serving Peace Corps Volunteers.
Unlike everyone else in our group, we went for shadowing to the town where we would spend our service. I was happy because we got a sneak preview of our flat and also met with the colleagues with whom we would work for the next two years. In a great collaboration between our two host organizations, Noordgrens Secondary School supplied the flat where we would stay, and COSDEC Tukurenu provided housewares, a bed and some other furniture items. COSDEC trainees also painted the inside of the flat before we moved in as part of their practical training.
Our flat was originally a bathhouse/locker room when the school was private and then was converted into teacher housing, so it is a bit quirky. The school did some work before we moved in to make the flat more livable like walling off a bedroom in what had been the living room area. They even put tile in the bathroom! The school also built a braai (grill/barbecue) stand out of concrete that visible in the photo above.
You enter our flat through a metal gate and wooden door and then walk down a newly-partitioned hallway to our living room. Our guest bed makes it nice when we host other Peace Corps Volunteers and friends. This room is also known as our Peace Corps daughter’s bedroom. She is our most frequent guest.
We have more furniture than most volunteers because of the combined host organization contributions. Once my replacement gets to site in mid-June, the COSDEC-owned furniture will be used to furnish their flat.
These photos were all taken with my wide-angle lens so the rooms look a bit bigger than they actually are. Still, our flat is a great size for two people, and we are lucky to have things like electricity and indoor plumbing! We do have to wash our clothes by hand and most of our windows don’t have screens so we have numerous insect visitors. We also have had frogs in the toilet.
Peace Corps did provide us with a roll of lightweight screen for the windows, but the style of Namibian windows, with a latch inside and with windows that open out makes it impractical to install in the larger windows. We do use our screens on the bedroom windows and combined with our bed net and fan, we haven’t had too many issues with mosquitoes.
Many education and health volunteers in Namibia live in huts either with a family on a homestead or on the school/clinic grounds. You can have a situation where a volunteer has to fetch water from a borehole (well) but has wifi access in their hut. Everyone’s site is a bit different. Up until a week ago, we were the only “town” volunteers in Rundu without hot water, but thanks to some major renovations to the flat next door, we now can take warm showers! It is a nice treat for the last three months at site.