Thunder in the North
11 November 2004
Let me tell you about our summer weather up here in northern Namibia. When
we walk to school at seven in the morning, we can already feel the sun
gaining strength. By the afternoon, it is up to 102 and at the time we go
to sleep it has only dropped back down to 85 or 90. It is like this
consistently, day after day, and the only reprieve comes when it is
actually raining, although the humidity often compensates for any decrease
On the Monday morning of my last week of teaching, I dreamed of China and
awoke to thunder. The storm was to the north, but the heat and humidity
were on us. However, the rains are indeed starting, slowly, with a few
drops flung haphazardly at the hot sand on some afternoons and an
occasional shower during the nights. As the rains start coming, we are
reminded that our time here is ending. Although we still have three weeks
at Ekulo, we've definitely begun the psychological process of leaving, as
parts of our life here slowly get separated from us. The grade 10s and
most of the 12s are gone, our home is being slowly dismantled as we sell
our things, and Wednesday was my last day of teaching class at Ekulo. I
finished my blitzkrieg review of Things Fall Apart with the grade 11s just
in time for them to write their exam on Thursday. In contrast to my last
class with my grade 12s, I was happy to be finished with them. No more
Okonkwo, no more marking papers every night. It's just exams and boring
teacher meetings from here on out. As much as I have enjoyed my time here,
it's definitely about time to go.
Thursday was a gloomy day. It had rained off and on during the night,
and there were dull clouds hanging low over the morning. The humidity was
oppressive with hardly a breeze to liven the air. While the eleventh
graders wrote their Things Fall Apart exam and I invigilated a grade 8
Oshindonga exam, my learners from 12B wrote their last exam and left the
school. I looked at the squirmy eighth graders before me: picking their
noses, staring blankly at their question papers and rubbing their watery
eyes. I wondered how they would ever develop into charismatic twelfth
graders like the ones I had known.
The grade 12 exam results for the whole country will be printed in the
newspaper in late December. I've appointed a few learners to mail the
results to us, and that's when we'll really know if we've achieved
anything in our two years here or not. Our major projects were the
computer lab and the AIDS club, and the sustainability of both is kind of
tenuous. Therefore, we can only hope that we at least had a positive
impact on our learner's academic performances. The durability of our
personal relationships will also be evident by whether or not the learners
want to dole out N$3.70 to mail a letter to us.
For your entertainment, I am reproducing below the exact text of one of
the goodbye cards I received from my learners:
There is a time for togetherness, Time for
Happiness, Time for laughing AND "Time for saying" Goodbye!
Mrs Sera It is so easy to say welcome, but
difficult to say goodbye! So, My Miss sarcastic, I would like to thank for
all the knowledge you have gave me! All the best that you have done for me
to ameliorate my standard of living in the future, thanks a lot! May your
life be Filled with blessing!!!
Mrs Sera! I don't know how much will I miss
"u" I wish I could met someone like "u"! all I can say
is that: It's so hard to mention this word "goodbye"! I will
miss you forever more! Mrs Sera! Goodbye and tata I will miss you forever
and forever more!
That was Selma Amukongo
Remember the girl who use to lose her minds in the oral!
note: sarcastic and ameliorate were two of their vocabulary words
also note: after 2 years of English class with me, her punctuation and
grammar are still a disaster.