Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gone up North

After three hours of vomiting I thought there may be a problem. I should have realized it six hours earlier when my fever spiked and my body felt like it was being squeezed in a vice. But being in Ondongwa in northern Namibia I wasn't quite sure what I would do anyway. I had arrived mid day after a 2 hour drive from Tsumeb, Namibia. I left Windhoek on Saturday after a wedding and drove 4 1/2 hours to Tsumeb to break up the drive. About an hour into the drive to Ondongwa I started feeling warm and my muscles started aching. When I got to my hotel I was feeling worse by the minute and decided to take a nap. When I woke up I felt worse than before but thought I could tough it out and hopefuly it would go away. It did not go away, but actually intensified. From 2-5:30, I laid on the bed trying to rest and at 5:30 it hit me, I started throwing up and could not stop. But then it got even a little worse. The power went out. It was over 100 degrees in Ondongwa that day. So there I was, in a hot hotel room, throwing up by flashlight trying to keep a wet towel on me to stay cool. By 8:30pm I could not take it any more, and after talking to Penny decided to look for a doctor. I was not even sure if there was a doctor in Ondongwa. My friend Mike went to the front desk and they called the hotel doctor, Dr. Patrick. He came to the hotel about 9pm and checked me out and said it looked like a bad case of food poising. So he gave me a couple of injections, some antiboitics and some rehydration mix and said to call him if I needed him. For his two trips to the hotel and all the medications I paid N$400. That comes to about $42 US dollars. Now I don't want to be the focus of this blog post, but I will tell you what I was thinking when I was laying in that hot hotel room bed. I was thinking about all the people, the men, women and children, that I saw living in stick or mud brick huts and walking miles with containers of dirty water on their head and realizing that people die everyday from exactly the same kind of food or water bourn illness I had. They lie in huts in the swealtering heat and have no access to medical care, and if they had access the bill would be over a months salary for most of them. It was a very humbling expeience that I have yet to fully appreciate.

What I did realize the next morning was that even though I did not feel very good, nothing was going to stop me from getting the books and toys to the children. Last week Penny and I went and spent $500 US on school books, supplies and a couple of balls. This money was donated by the great people from the Diocese of Alabama and others from around the county to support these and other projects we are working with. I drove from Ondongwa to the Angolan border and over to St. Mary's Anglican Mission at Odibo to deliver the first two boxes. The following photos show the kindergarden. There are 35 children and two very low paid teachers (about $15 a month) in a tiny room being loaned to them from another group. The first photo is of the building but only half the building is their space.
They are looking at ways to expand this space and it would probably only take $5000 US to double the space and make it useable. As you can see from the other photos the space inside is packed with left over junk from other things. There is so much stuff they cannot even put out the table and chairs they have. The second photo is of the teachers and the other is of the first few children who saw the stuff. They thought Christmas had come early and the truth is that these two boxes for the school is more than any of these children will get for Christmas. The next few photos show more reactions to the gifts. What I want everyone to remember is that the money you gave to us for Mission to Namibia made this possible and this is only the first of many trips to help support the pre-k schools in the North.

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