Halfway into her year-long service, WorldTeach Namibia volunteer Julia Ho shares her students' heartwarming reaction to her being home sick from school.
"Everyday we are just looking at your house if you coming. Every morning and night I am just playing for you to get well soon." (R's and L's! R's and L's! Drives me crazy! Sometimes Lucina spells her name "Lucina". Sometimes she writes "Rucina". There is only ONE right way to write your own name!!)
Anyway, I got a lot of "I play for you" letters this week, being out sick both Monday and Tuesday with a fever and stomach pain. I've got a little lonely planet book called "Healthy Travel: Africa" that puts into your head all kinds of terrible illnesses, but all in all it seemed like I suffered from a common 24-hour flu.
I've learned that there would be no way to fake an illness when you live with your principal as well as 30 feet from the school house. As I lay curled up in bed, not fit for human contact, pods of learners and teachers came knocking at my door. The letters were pretty darn cute: "I just want to say that don't worry about the sickness because you are 100% full of joy and loveness and be careful that if you did not taste the soil or leaf of the owamboland maybe you will get soon sick".
Or from crazy Ruusa, who long ago became a favorite (again, I admit some of us teachers have favorites): "If you love this letter God bless you until your death and I will feel like a monkey which was given ten dollars".
I have to say, as I move into my six month mark in country, that I wouldn't know how to manage if this were the time I was supposed to be wrapping things up to head back to the States. In sixth months you get so close to the kids and the community, you've adopted local phrases such as "I'm suffering" to describe being without a pen. You've adjusted to cold showers and sweeping classrooms clean of sand, and politely accepting a plate of tripe. I feel quite lucky that I have six more months to go.
Julia's student, Ruusa