Monday, September 15, 2008

Life in Windhoek

So I have been promising for several weeks to post to the blog and so far I haven’t done it. So now I have made you wait long enough for the latest adventures of Jeremy and Penny in Namibia. Well that might not be quite right because contrary to popular myth the life of a missionary is not filled every day with what would be considered excitement. When things really start getting down to business is when you have to start living your day to day life, day in and day out in the place you have come to work. I will be honest, some times it is just regular life. But the real essence of working in another country is getting into the lives that the people around you live, building relationships and just living.
This is not to say that we are not busy or that we are not experiencing amazing things. So far there are 60 people who have submitted applications to the clergy training program. We will only be able to take 36-40 depending on the price of the Theological Education by Extension classes and the cost of food and supplies for the program. The cost of living in Windhoek and in many parts of Namibia has been going up for months. There is a lot of excitement about this program and the Selection Committee (the same as a Commission on Ministry) should be able to choose a great group of folks.
Penny and I have been helping out with a ministry here at the Cathedral called Loaves and Fishes. It is a feeding program for the homeless that provides a small amount of food every Wednesday to between 40-60 people. We have been getting to know them and some of their stories are heartbreaking. There is a medical clinic that will treat them, or at least give them a check-up for N$5.00. That is less than $1 US dollar and none of them can afford to go to the clinic. We sent 4 people this past Wednesday for various problems. The folks that run the program have recently made a deal with another nearby clinic to allow us to use vouchers and then pay at the end of the month. It is a great ministry that also provides a hot meal one Saturday a month.
We think we have finally gotten our security situation under a little better control. After the theft, the parish put up a 10 foot high fence with razor wire around the top. This will at least slow people down that are trying to break in. But there is also the issue of street violence. In the past few weeks we have had two young people from our congregation attacked by thieves. One was stabbed in the back, and was sent to the hospital for a cell phone, the other was knocked down and kicked before undercover police stepped in to catch one of the guys. The second incident happened after a Wednesday night confirmation class I have been teaching. The young woman was walking downtown to catch a cab to take her home. When I say cab please don’t think of anything yellow or New York-like. Think 1980 Datsun with a yellow Taxi sign on top and the name of the cab company on the side in plastic peel-off letters. Most people in Windhoek don’t have cars so these taxis are their only means of transport. So the young woman who was assaulted was the niece of one of our priests, Father Samuel. He called me shortly after it happened and asked if we could go and see about her. I called her and she was on her way to the police station. Now when I say police station don’t think of any major or even minor city police stations, think 1950's bungalow converted into a station with the back-porch enclosed in bars and acting as the holding cell. The holding cell which is reached by walking through the kitchen/conference room/interview room. The guys who had assaulted Fr. Samuel’s niece had been caught the previous two nights robbing tourists at knife point, but none of the tourists wanted to make a case so they had to release the guys. It was a wild night at the police station and I am not sure it is important to tell all the details. Let’s just say it was a frustrating and eye-opening experience and that we hope we don’t have to visit again anytime soon.
So this is everyday life in the mission field. We really appreciate you keeping us in your prayers and for all the support you have given us.

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