Charlie is attending what Namibians call a pre-primary school 3 days a week. Now that I am homeschooling the other 3 Paul and I thought it would be wise to send Charlie somewhere so I could have more uninterupted teaching time. He loves it–especially Fridays when they have a candy shop. He is so cute taking his money and comes home bragging to his siblings what he bought (and ate). They send home a newsletter every month and I thought you might get a kick out of the reminders. Here goes. . .
Just a friendly reminder to keep your child’s nails short and clean so that they don’t scratch their friends during break times.
Kindly be informed that NO learners are allowed to come to school with bare feet during winter months.
In Namibia kids go barefoot everywhere and it is very accepted and actually encouraged. It is not strange to see kids in restaurants, the mall or the grocery store barefoot. Needless to say the kids feet are BLACK at night and we make our kids wash their feet before they touch their beds even for rest time. When Paul was in school his headmaster told the parents that the boys should not wear shoes. Paul said they were all very proud of their tough feet.
Annelise not only survived her first day at school, she seems to have thrived. We woke up this morning at 5 am thanks to a dog that thought he needed some attention so getting out the door by 7am was a breeze. The headmaster and one of Annelise’s teachers came to greet her and show her where to go. She looked a little timid as she left and Paul thought he saw a tear but Annelise denies she was anything but excited.
Dressed and Ready to Go
Sorry about the picture orientation– I have no idea why it imported that way and am too tired to figure it out now. Anyway, Annelise had a great day at school. She said she understood a lot and when Paul asked her what she said words like “Hello.” They assigned a girl to be her helper all day and make sure she understood what to do, etc. On the playground another teacher start yelling at Annelise in Afrikaans. Her helper explained that the teacher was telling her that she HAD to wear her hair in a ponytail! We read the handbook and I guess I missed that rule–Paul had mentioned that was the rule when he was in school but I didn’t believe him. Paul says it is to prevent head lice! Annelise will definitely have her hair up on Tuesday.
In elementary school there are no textbooks. The teacher hands out photocopies of the lessons and you glue them into a notebook. Annelise said everyone was impressed with her purple glue stick that dries clear. They only have 10 minutes for lunch and Annelise said she only had time to eat half her sandwich. I guess she will learn to be a faster eater or not talk so much and eat instead.
When Annelise was in kindergarten she had a little boy in her class who was always in trouble. He could not stay in his seat to save his life. Annelise always reported what he had done that day on the ride home from school. Well, it seems that little boy has a clone in Namibia. There is a boy in her class that talks constantly. He began irritating Annelise’s helper and the girl began to hit him with a ruler much to Annelise’s amusement. We asked her what the teacher said and Annelise told us that the teacher was busy talking to another teacher. I have a feeling we are going to be hearing a lot more about the misadventures of this boy. Annelise doesn’t know anyone’s name yet so hopefully we won’t be calling her helper “the girl” after next Tuesday.
We went to get all of Annelise’s school supplies and she was so eager to write her name and the proper subject on each notebook. She organized all her homework and made Paul translate all the things she couldn’t understand. Hopefully her enthusiasm will continue but we are grateful that her first day went so well.
Annelise and the crew
As most of you know, we have homeschooled almost from the beginning. Annelise attended a University Model school for kindergarten where she went 2 days a week and basically did homework for the other 3 days. Other than that I have had them at home. In the States we were so blessed with many opportunities that complimented homeschooling–co-ops, field trips, etc. In Namibia that is not the case. Most people think we are strange that we homeschool but seem to give me the benefit of the doubt since I am American and therefore I an entitled to a bit of strangeness. The girls are in gymnastics and ballet but other than that everything revolves around what school you go to. We have decided to put Annelise and Chapman into an Afrikaans private school that is christian. They will be taught entirely in Afrikaans except for English class which Annelise is pretty confident she will ace. Most everyone in Namibia speaks Afrikaans and we think it is important that the kids (and their mom too) learn to speak it. Annelise will go Tuesdays and Thursdays and Chapman will just go on Tuesdays until we see how it goes with him. I will still homeschool them the other days (in English of course) and they won’t be required to do any work, etc in Afrikaans, just sit and listen and hopefully soak up the language. They will also get to participate in all the school sports, activities and hopefully will make some good friends. Tomorrow is Annelise’s first day and Chapman’s will be next Tuesday. I am a bit nervous about how they will do. When Paul’s parents were in the States for his dad to get his PhD his parents threw him in without any English and he was speaking it fluently before 3 months! I hope the kids find it as easy as Paul did. I will post some pictures of Annelise’s first day tomorrow. Every school has uniforms here and that is so fun to me! I love uniforms and wish I had gone to a school that had them–knee socks and all.
We spent the Memorial weekend at the cattle ranch Paul’s parents have in Namibia. Stampriet is a type of grass and somehow became the name of the farm. We took friends from church with us since we would be the only ones of the Kosters there this time. Paul’s parents live 15 hours away as does one of his sisters and his brother and other sister are about 11 hours from the farm. The drive from Windhoek is only 2 1/2 hours so the farm has become a fun getaway for us. Chapman made us laugh the other day when he told us that he can’t decide if he is a city boy or a country boy. He loves the farm so much. I think it is all the sand, trees and hunting. This time Paul took his dirt bike so he could explore some parts of the farm that can’t be reached by Land Rover. I took a long walk with my friend Esther and decided later that it was a good thing that I didn’t know that the workers on the farm see at least one Black Mamba a week. We were walking along talking, talking, talking and I never once thought that I should be watching out for snakes!
The farmhouse is interesting. It is the longest house I have ever been in. The former owner built the main house with 2 bedrooms, an office, huge living room, kitchen and dining room and then made a 4 bedroom addition. When people live on a farm they often get lots of visitors who stay for a couple of days so I guess he was making room for guests. There are 2 other houses on the farm which are run down. Paul’s brother has started working on one and I have an itch to work on the other one. My friend, Esther, who is very much a go-getter was coming up with all sorts of ways of making money to fix the old place up. She thinks I should start baking and selling my goods to businesses at lunch time–we’ll see how much time I have but it is a good idea.
If you want a hot bath at the farm, you start a fire in the donkey that heats up the water in the tank and voila–hot water! It is a bit of a process but believe me after a day playing in the dirt the kids need a bath and they like it so much better when it is warm–imagine that!
The hunting truck
The hunting truck is an ancient Land Rover that came with the farm. We laugh about the paint job–it is a poor attempt at camoflauge.
Well, that’s the farm. A little more of what life looks like in Namibia.
After we had Audrey (#3) Paul thought our family felt complete. I on the other hand come from a family of four kids (Paul does too for that matter) and had always thought that four felt right. I begged Paul for another one and he graciously agreed–enter Charlie. Fortunately for us Charlie was an easy baby and the transition to 4 was a lot easier than the one we made when Audrey was born. For all Charlie’s charm he has been the naughtiest 3 year old by far. His vocabulary is way above where any of the other kids were at his age and he loves to memorize movie lines and deliver them at inopportune times.
One of his favorite movies is Home Alone 1–his favorite line is “keep the change you filthy animal” –of course. In the States most people have seen the movie and know what Charlie is quoting. Once when we were checking out at the gas station the nice attendant said, “Here’s your change.” Charlie immediately pulled himself up on the counter so he could see the man and delivered his one liner. Fortunately for us this guy thought Charlie was hilarious and laughed and laughed. Well, in Africa there is no such context for Charlie’s movie lines and to them they are just plain offensive, not funny. Paul has had a few serious talks that although these movie lines are funny in America he can’t say them in Namibia. Charlie has been pretty obedient about this until the other day. We had been exploring Windhoek and had been curious about this small street of houses outside of Windhoek. We drove there and saw a military guard with an AK-47. Paul got out of the car and asked who lived there and come to find out it is the Prime Minister’s house (or maybe I should say compound–it is huge). Anyway, the Prime Minister’s dashounds came out and started barking at us to which Charlie rolled down his window and said, “keep the change you filthy animal.” The security guard was not impressed and Paul drove off as fast as he could explaining to Charlie that it is very foolish to call someone with an AK-47 a filthy animal. Charlie wasn’t too concerned about it because he says he was talking to the dogs! Little boys. . .
Shaking hands with Jock
- It’s hard to be 3!
Charlie is the fighter in the family and has the ability to make all his siblings cry at the same time. He finds this to be a very enjoyable past time and many a time Chapman has cried that he wished he didn’t have a little brother. Even when he is bad we love Charlie and are glad that he is the caboose in our family. He definitely is a lot of work but he gives the best bear hugs in the family!
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Namibia is on 22o power versus the 110 we have in the States. Therefore, all our appliances were either sold or given away since they won’t work here. I was saddest to say good-bye to my KitchenAid mixer but it went to a good home (my dear Parsons). Anyway, we have had to buy everything new here and have been trying to do it gradually so as not to shock our bank account. One thing we haven’t gotten yet is a coffee maker. I don’t drink coffee so it doesn’t affect me much but my Starbucks loving husband is getting a little tired of instant Nescafe. The other night in desperation he made his own coffee filter and I thought it was worth a post. He took what we had–a plastic funnel and some not very absorbant paper towels and voila a coffee machine.
Homemade coffee pot
Paul’s solution works well when you are making just one cup of coffee but is a bit of a problem when you have guests. We will be buying a coffee pot soon–well, as soon as we see one in the store. Believe it or not shopping here takes a lot more time and there is sadly no Wal-Mart. Different stores carry different things on different days. If you see something you know you will need in the future you buy it because it might not be there when you come back for it! Like they say, “This is Africa”– a bit inconvenient but definitely an adventure.
Today Namibia is celebrating Ascension Day. Paul is off and we started the day at church with a service to remember Jesus’ ascension into heaven 40 days after His resurrection. The US obviously does not celebrate this day and it is strange that Namibia does since it has a secular constitution and claims to favor no one religion. It was a blessing to hear our pastor talk about the hope the ascension gives us. Not only does it emphasize where Jesus is–seated in glory at the right hand of the Father but we have the hope of His descending–His coming to earth a second time and this time to judge and to rule! Even though I hadn’t really ever thought about Jesus’ ascension as a reason to commemorate until today, the more I thought about what our pastor preached, I see that it really is worthy of our remembrance. Come Lord Jesus, Come!