Well there it is. (pictured left) Our tribute to America on our first July 4th in Africa. As you might expect this day went by rather uneventfully here in Namibia. Although when we went to change money today the guy at Bank of Windhoek asked how our 4th was going. KFC is the only American fast food chain in Namibia. No Mc. D's, no Burger King, nothing else but KFC. So I waited about 30 minutes in a line to get a three piece originally recipe, mashed potatoes and gravy, and two cans of Coca Cola. They, regrettably did not have biscuits, so we ate it with German white rolls called Brotchen. It was not quite the same but we enjoyed it. We topped it off with some peanut M&M's. Last night we had dinner with some friends who had invited over the outgoing director of USAID for Namibia. They we ending their assignment after 4 years and told us how much we were going to enjoy the country. They were great folks and we are sorry they are leaving so soon after we arrived. They did tell us however that there is a new young couple working for the CDC here in Windhoek that have both recently finished their PhD's in Alabama so hopefully we will meet them soon.
We have been here 10 days and are both starting to feel a little better. We were both sort of thrown into the deep end as soon as we got here last week. We arrived on Wednesday and the following Sunday was the installation service for myself and the Dean at the Cathedral of St. George. It was about a 2 1/2 hour service complete with one of the Wardens passing out and an ambulance being called to take her to the hospital. She is fine now but when I went to see her yesterday she was still very embarrassed. So we have not had a lot of time to just sit back and get our bearings. The only clock we had when we got here was on the computer, so we went and bought a wall clock that kept perfect time for exactly 24 hours then started losing time until it just stopped working all together. Today I went out and got two more clocks, from different shops. Windhoek is a very modern and in some ways cosmopolitan city of about 300,000 people. There are German grocery store chains that sell great bread, meat and beer along with just about anything else you would ever want. There are electronics stores selling everything that you could find in Best Buy in the states. There are shops that sell incredible coffee and locally made crafts. You name it and we have access to it within walking distance of our front door. But this is not the reason we moved to Namibia. It would be extremely easy for anyone who moved here to fall into a very Western lifestyle and miss what is going on just over the next hill or in the North.
Yesterday, while waiting on a meeting, I walked over to the National Art Gallery of Namibia which is about 100 yards from our house. I walked through and saw some great works then I went down to the gift shop to look around. There I met Belinda. She was working in the gift shop to support herself and three kids that live in the old black township of Katatura. She told me how she could just barely afford food on her pay and that her husband had died when oldest child was 1 and that she lived in her mother house and had been broken into twice. She was thankful that at least she had a house to live in, most people who live in Katatura live in shacks in shantytowns. It is thought that over half the population of Windhoek lives in Katatura.
On Monday I have a meeting scheduled with my friend Fr. Lukas Katenda who is now back in Namibia as the Diocesan Secretary/Treasurer. We are meeting to discuss the initial plans for the Clergy Training Program for the Diocese. I found out just before I left the U.S. that the diocese had been approved for a grant from Trinity Church Wall Street to fund a majority of the training program for three years. I also found out before we left that we had received a grant from the St. Luke's Episcopal Church Foundation in Salisbury, NC to help purchase a truck for the program. There is much work to be done if we are going to begin the training program in January so we are hoping to take a quick trip to the North in the next two weeks for a few days. We want to work on the program and take some books and school resources to the Joy to the World kindergarten that so many of you have so thankfully agreed to support. We will hopefully get to meet with Sr. Gertrude and find out how the last year has been.
On July 11th our friend Lindsey Mullen from the Diocese of Alabama's Canterbury Chapel will be coming to stay with us for a week. She has been studying in South Africa since the beginning of June and is taking a special trip over to visit us. It will be fun to see a familiar face.
Speaking of seeing familiar faces I want to encourage all of you who might be interested to download Skype and the call us at jeremy.lucas71. Skype allows you to make free computer to computer calls, including video calls, anywhere in the world. We have been talking to family at home and it really seems to work well. Go to www.Skype.com Well I guess that will about do it for our first real post from Africa. My plan is to try and post at least once a week if possible. Posts will probably range from something like this, to many other matters both serious and sublime. Thanks for reading and keep us in your prayers. Peace, Jeremy