Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This Story Ends

Today I officially completed my COS (close of service) with the Peace Corps. Now I am an RPCV (returned Peace Corps volunteer).

The Peace Corps was a great experience for me, and I still do not even understand all of the things that have changed inside of me.
The least of which being the mild parasite found in me during the Peace Corps medical tests. :-)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

New Job!

I have just been offered a contract in Namibia to work on their new national OVC database! Wow, I am sooo happy. :-)

More details to follow...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Walking Home


Just a shot of what I see walking home. :-)

Back Home

I am finally back home. It feels good. I think I had let quite a bit of stress build up inside of me with all the running around I was doing.

Today I am just relaxing, alone, to let my brain slow down just a little bit.

Tonight I will go drink Amarula with Tate Philip!  :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Zambia

Today I fly to Zambia to give a presentation about how to use databases for managing information on orphans and vulnerable children. I may also be talking about how databases can be used to support services around the distribution of ARVs (Antiretroviral treatment for HIV).

I will return from Zambia on Saturday.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Waiting


It is just about time to get no the plane to South Africa. :-)

Flying to Windhoek


Here is the plane that brought me to Windhoek yesterday. Today I leave for South Africa.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Running!


We short-circuitde the security system, pushed started the car, and are now back no the road. :-)

Broke Down


We stopped the car to pick up some more people, and now it won't start. It could be because of a faulty security system.

Leaving Opuwo


I am just now hiking from Opuwo. I nice man helped me get a part-way there hike.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

On The Way To Opuwo


I'm just now in a combi on the way to Opuwo.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Little Hectic

Stuff is going on again:

Today teach in Okashandja to OVC girls.
Saturday travel to Opuwo.
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: Fix computers for a youth centre.
July 1: travel to Ondangwa.
July 2: travel to Windhoek.
July 3: travel to Johannesburg, South Africa.
July 4: give a presentation on the OVC database.
July 5: travel to Windhoek.

:-)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fish for Supper


This evening a friend gave me two fresh fish. :-)

I fried them up nicely with some spicy chicken wing batter my mom had sent me.

When I gave a fillet to my Kuku, she took one bite and said: "nantago", which means "again". She liked it so much she wanted another fillet. :-)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sarafina!

Today I provided three showings of the movie Sarafina! to a school near my house.

The film was part of special activities at the school in remembrance of June 16th, 1976.

On that day many children rose up and protested against apartheid.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Child-Headed Households

I just came back from a half-day tour of 5 child-headed households.

Imagine groups of children living together without running water, electricity, or parents.

It can be easy to forget the suffering of others while sitting at home watching reality television and eating home delivery pizza.

Monday, June 09, 2008

My Place

I am starting to understand my place in the world.

Many times, when I am present and calm and attentive I can help people heal.

Now, I will find ways to do it more often...   :-)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Things

"The best things in life are not things."
Art Buchwald

Shaky But Standing

I am a little shaky, but I am standing.
For me, I am always jumping in head first.
But, I would not have it any other way.  :-)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Off-Roading

Following your heart does not always mean doing what makes sense...following your heart is more like off-roading through life.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Repaired

My heart was utterly broken, and my love was laid out for her to see, and in the end it was enough. 

And she stopped her day for me. And my friends stopped their day for me. And they helped repair my heart. 

Now my heart is glued together with the love of others.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Broken

I thought it would be enough to fill my heart with love.

I thought my full heart would convince her I was the right man, but my full heart was not enough, and then it broke, and she saw my weakness.

Now, I am even alone in my dreams.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My First Present to Myself

I just remembered that when I am feeling really sad, it is most likely that I have a bunch of emotions that I have not yet shared with right person, and that finally sharing them can make a big, positive difference in how I feel.

Cake


Here is a picture of the cake that my friends got for me on my birthday!

Following My Heart

I was just making some updates to my blog format, and I happened to re-read its title "Following My Heart".

I realized, it is very easy to know where my heart points -- I only need to think about something, and then be quiet and still. My heart is getting used to speaking up for itself, but it still needs me to give it a little room to announce how it feels.

As a birthday present to my heart, I am going to listen to it as much as I can today!

Birthday

Today is my birthday. I am happy to be experiencing yet another one. :-)

I am just now waiting for a ride. I am going to teach for a couple of hours on HIV/AIDS related topics to a small group of my Namibian friends. I am excited for this class, because it will be with friends, and I like giving the presentation that I will be showing them.

I am hoping that later today a friend will come over and we can cook a nice birthday meal together, while listening to music and then watch a nice movie while we eat our freshly cooked food.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Presents

Tomorrow is my birthday. I have been thinking about what I want for a long time. I realized that I have everything I need right now, except one thing...a partner. I thought by now, I would have found the special woman that is out in the world waiting for me.

I go back-and-forth between:
  1. Being OK with being alone and rationalizing that I must first learn to completely enjoy being alone before being able to full be with another person.
  2. Feeling a starving hunger for a woman who I can be (as people in the North Namibia say) one person with. (Its a saying that just means to be in a relationship with another person)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Still In The Hoek

I am still in Windhoek. I have been creating a database for the Peace Corp to use. The database will help Namibia's Peace Corps administration track the activities reported by their volunteers.

I think I will be going back home this weekend. Next week, I will be helping with a gender norms workshop in the north.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Back Online

Well, my attempt to document my hike from Ondangwa to Windhoek in real-time failed, because I lost my phone along the way. :-(

I left my phone in the vehicle that dropped me near Windhoek. It feel a little sad, because the phone was still working very good. I was able to buy a new phone using money left over from the sale of my motorcycle. Its kinda like my motorcycle has been reincarnated as my phone.

The new phone has a great feature for photo blogging. I can take a picture with the phone, and then have it sent directly to my blog. I will be experimenting with it soon. :-)

This week I am in Windhoek to conduct a workshop on the OVC database that another volunteer and I created. It should be a fun time.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

First lift

Just got my first lift all the way to Windhoek.

---- 
Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone

Waiting

Now I am just waiting at the magic speed bump in Ondangwa to get a hike.

---- 
Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone

On the Way

I'm just now leaving for Windhoek. It will probably be am all day hiking adventure. :)

---- 
Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone

Thursday, May 01, 2008

No Change

I didn't come here to change people. I came only to help my neighbors. Jay Haase, 2008.

---- 
Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Heroes

Last night I was traveling home from town. I had left the Peace Corps office late because of a busy day. It took me a while to get my second taxi ride, so by the time I started the walk home through the field it was very dark. Twice during the walk, something screeched at me. It was cloudy, and the moon was not around. I was starting to get scared...

Then I remembered how my dad always seemed to be so brave. I decided to imagine that he was walking with me, and then my fear left me.

I was reminded of the TV show "Heroes". There is a character on the show, Peter, who can absorb the super powers of other people. If he absorbs the super power of person X, he can later use that super power. To trigger the super power from person X, all he has to do is imagine how he feels when he is around person X. Its like the memory of person X triggers the super power he absorbed.

I realized that real life can be like that. If we know someone with special powers, powers that can make us feel good or help us handle situations; all way have to do is deeply imagine that person is with us, to tap into their special powers. :-)

Friday, April 18, 2008

OVC Database

(OVC is an acronym for orphans and vulnerable children)

I have been working these last two weeks with my colleagues from Church Alliance For Orphans, CAFO.

Here is a link to their website

We were training some of the CAFO satellite offices on the use of a database created by myself and another Peace Corps volunteer, Miriam. The database helps its users document, organize, and report on the services they provide to orphans and vulnerable children.

I would be happy to share the database with any organization that is trying to help children. The database is written in Microsoft Access, and can run on most PCs, even old ones... :-)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

HIV/AIDS Presentation

I am trying to keep my friends and family more informed of what I am doing...hence another posting about what I am doing :-)

I have been creating a presentation about HIV and AIDS that I can use at a moments notice. I have already presented it to a group of school kids and another Peace Corps volunteer.

You may need to press the pause button from time-to-time to easily read the slides.

video

Friday, April 04, 2008

Efuma

There are a lot of frogs in northern Namibia. Wait, let me restate that: there are a lot of big frogs in northern Namibia.

My host brothers like to trap frogs for supper. A few days ago, Jeson asked me if I wanted to see how he caught big frogs. I smiled and said "Yes!"

I thought he would sneak up on the frogs to catch them, maybe some people do that, but my host brother uses a frog trap. He has dug a hole about 8 inches square and 2 feet deep. The hole is designed to trap the frogs that fall in, because they are unable to jump out.

Then, Jeson caught three or four small frogs and tied them together with grass. He hung the small frogs from a stick so they were suspended over the hole. Once we walked away from the trap, the small frogs started making a lot of noise. Jeson smiled and told me they would bring the large frogs, because the large frogs would want to eat the small frogs.

The large frogs did come, hearing the plight of the small frogs, and unluckily for them at least some of them fell into the hole.

I cooked the frogs in a chakalaka soup (a spicy sauce) with carrots and potatoes.

Friday, March 28, 2008

An Average Day

Wanna see what I do on an average day? I picked a random day, and then took many photos throughout the day. On this day, I worked at the community centre, so no taxi rides were needed.

An Average Day (its big, 31 megs)

Click on the movie window to advance to the next picture. It may work best to right click on the link and download the file before viewing it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pictures of My House

Wanna see how I live? Here is a small interactive movie that shows the rooms of my house.

My House

Click on the movie to advance to the next picture.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ball Bearings

Yesterday, a small boy gave me a big gift: ball bearings.

Ball Bearings

Sorry about the redirection, its easier for me to put the photos on my other site.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I'm Glad...

Today I was creating a list of activities (from reference material I have) that will help people (mostly men) come in better touch with many aspects of their own gender norms (and the impacts of those norms on other people). Many people are unaware of the actions the take just because of their own, deeply internalized gender norms. Here is an example activity (takne from a book on male engagement):

1. Separate the participants into same-sex groups.

2. Give each group a sheet of newsprint and a marker. Ask the participants to come up with as many endings as they can for the following sentences:
  • Male group: I’m glad I’m a man because…
  • Female group: I’m glad I’m a woman because…
3. Give the groups another sheet of newsprint, and ask the participants to come up with as many endings as they can to the following sentences:
  • Male group: If I were a woman, I could… 
  • Female group: If I were a man, I could…
4. Tape the sheets on the wall, and discuss the responses by asking the following questions:
  • Were any of the responses the same for both genders?
  • Was it harder for members of either of the gender groups to come up with reasons they are glad of their gender? Why do you think this is? 
  • How does the first set of responses of one gender group compare to the second set of the other gender?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Frogs

I just finished eating a frog (efuma). It is a tradition to eat frogs here, especially now during the raining season because there is so many frogs around. This email must be short because my battery is dying.

I walked into town today and did some more shopping and also went to the Peace Corps office. It looks like I will be going back into town on Thursday. Its kinda a big affair to go into town and by groceries, the round trip states are --> two 40 minute walks, three taxi rides, carrying groceries, walking around big puddles...

The North, where I am now, seems to be very different from the south.

I'm Here

Things are very different at my new site.

I have no electricity or running water in my house. There is actually no electricity anyplace on the homestead (farm). There is running water on the homestead. I fill a big container of water that I use in my house. There is a nice toilet and shower I can use in a separate building from my house.

I am using a propane stove, and do not have a refrigerator yet...I don't know when I will get one. During the night, I use an old kerosine lamp for light in my house.

It has been raining every night since I have been here, and even raining some of the days. Today (Sunday) I walked to church with the kids. It took 45 minutes through the rain and puddles. I was soaked by the time I got there. I was introduced to the congregation, and soon I will begin working with the youth in the community.

I have already met with the Principal of a nearby school, and have begun helping him with his computers. I will probably be doing some self-esteem courses for the learners at his school. He is reading my materials now. I was able to charge my computer and cell phone while I was fixing his computers. :-)

There are many chickens, goats, 2 pigs, 2 dogs, and 1 cat on the farm. The farm is run by a 77 year old woman. Her name is Kuku Selma (Kuku means grandmother). She doesn't know any English. Most of the time people are only speaking Oshindonga to me.

Its a 45 minute walk just to the tar road. I am told I can get a taxi into town from the tar road...we will see tomorrow, because I will try to go into town.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Next Stop

I'm just finishing up my visit in the States with my family. It has been a good time.

Soon I will be headed back to Namibia to start my 3rd year. I am excited about this 3rd year because I will be trying new things in a new location.

I don't know if I will have Internet access, electricity, or even running water. That's OK though.

Jay.