After the little school tour, we moved over to “the tree” (giant marula tree that provides great shade by the school) and began the festivities. They had an entire ceremony planned out, we even had programs with the order of events. We started with the anthem and a scripture reading and prayer. Next came the speeches. Two staff members, a school board member (who is also the school security guard and the father of two of my learners), the principal and one of the regional directors all spoke. I have never sat through an entire ceremony with people talking kindly, complimenting and thanking me. It was the most flattering, gratifying hour of my life. The words that they said will forever be in my mind and made me feel so valued and loved by all of these people. I had also been asked to prepare a speech, which I amazingly got through without any tears. I think the feelings of happiness were overriding anything else. After the speeches came the “presentation of gifts to Miss Emily.” About two months ago, Kristin and I had Wambo dresses made. I’ve been wanting to wear mine to school for a while, but knew it would cause such a commotion and my learners would likely be too amused/distracted by it to learn in class so I held off. Since today was only the staff and it was designed to be for/about me anyway I decided it was an appropriate time to wear my Wambo dress even if it did draw extra attention. Little did I know, I was about to get a whole Oshiwambo wardrobe! For the gift giving portion of the ceremony they called me to the front where a few of the female teachers bestowed my gifts upon me. This also included them dressing me in my new clothes. By the end of all of this, no exaggeration, I was wearing all at one time, a dress, skirt, shirt, robe/dress thing, shoes, two hats, three necklaces, earrings and a bag. Oh did I mention we’re in the middle of summer. Not the best time to be wearing three layers of clothing, but I was too giddy to care. I was also given three woven baskets and three clay pots. How this will all fit in my suitcase remains to be seen, but again too giddy to care.
-Emily Leazer, WorldTeach Namibia 2012-2013