Arriving anywhere in the dark is always a bit unsettling. Hearing that Namibia was very dry and desert like, we were surprised that it rained on us nearly the entire 2 1/2 hours of our drive to Otjuruse Lodge. There was a difference right away in Namibia though – clean capitol city, nice roads, passing lanes and 24 hour gas stations (with snacks and nice restrooms).
All of that comes at a price though, the cost of living is very high – gas is over $5 a gallon, food is up to 4 times higher than in the USA (everything is imported as virtually nothing is grown or produced here) and the cost of a new vehicle is about the same as 1/2 of a house.
It is a very peaceful place though, everyone gets along well, all workers are protected by government labor regulations and tourists are welcomed with open arms. Since the rains came late this year it is very green in some places. After a short rain, many plants and grasses green up virtually overnight (one of the bushes is called the “Resurection Plant”) but after a week or so, everything is brown again. Traditional grass landscaping is replaced with beautiful hand rocked paths, rock gardens and multiple varieties of cactus.
And bugs… wow, the boys thought there were a lot in Zimbabwe… there are 3 times as many here. Giant locust, beetles, ant lions and more, they have been chasing them for 2 days straight.
My biggest concern is the snakes. When I asked about them, I was told, “If you want to see them, you won’t and if you don’t want to see them, you will.” So I am pretending that I REALLY, REALLY, want to see a snake! So far, so good but after hearing stories about spitting cobras, giant pythons, puff adders, black mambas, zebra snakes and many others while sitting around the campfire, we all had nightmares. Well, except for Scott who dreamed of a water park… it only got to 100º yesterday. We were warned that this particular location can get to 125º… not to worry, we were told, it is only 105º in the house. We fully understand the mandatory siesta time from noon to 2:30 every day.
Kazden had a great birthday! The look on his face when he came to the breakfast table to be greeted by a cake with 8 candles blazing away was priceless.
Cake for breakfast… what a great way to start the day. One of the trackers also was celebrating his birthday so Kazden and Bufana shared the cake. Lots of well wishes, a carved zebra (from our hosts) and a few new Transformer toys (Braxton hid in the luggage) completed what Kazden said was one of his favorite birthdays ever!
Without any computer access, our communication with the outside world came to a screeching halt for 10 days. We survived and the boys rose to the occasion and found lots to do… it is all about imagination.
On our last day we were able to visit an orphanage and share toys with the kids. It was a beautiful experience and we felt honored to be a part of the children’s lives if only for a moment. They sang us worship songs and danced, it was the perfect ending to a life-changing trip.