Thunder in the North
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 in temperature.
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