Sunday, October 4, 2009

Namibia Trip and Back to Reality!

Hi everyone! Well, it is Sunday night and all of us interns are pretty much crashed. We had a FANTASTIC mini-break to Namibia this week. Usually they reserve this trip for the end of the internship, but this past week was a holiday week for Botswana (their Independence Day), so the timing worked better to do the trip now. Side note: whenever I say Namibia, I think of that stupid Activia commercial and hear Namibia to the tune of Activiiaaa!!. There. I hope I ruined it for you too :)

We set off at 4:30am Wednesday morning in the Corolla (5 of us with pillows, cameras, duffel bags, etc.). It's a 13 hour drive to Swakopmund, which is a cute little German colonial town on the coast of Namibia. We LOVE Swakopmund. It really has the best of everything- the ocean, green grass, sand dunes, mountains, and the desert. So cool. So beautiful. We pulled into our hostel around 7pm, went to dinner at 9pm, then went to sleep immediately.

Thursday morning we went quad biking (4 wheeling) in the dunes. Now THAT was fun! We spent two hours driving up and down the dunes- it felt like a roller coaster. It was so gorgeous, too. The dunes looked like paintings; almost too gorgeous to be real. Ok, now I have a story that is a little bit long, but pretty awesome. Please be patient with it.
While we were in town that morning, exchanging $$, Sarah was busy texting her husband, who was back home. About 30 minutes before we left to go quad biking, Kevin sent a text saying "I just got a word from the Lord that you guys need to pray for protection. Especially Ashley, and she is going to have to speak it out for herself." As soon as she read it to us I thought "oh crap." So we said a group prayer for safety, then I prayed for extra protection and wisdom in any situation that comes my way (I thought this was God's way of telling me not to go sky diving.) Well, about an hour or so into the quad biking, we had an "incident." Before we started out, the guide went over some hand motions and safety tips. He also had us drive in a single file- the order was: the guide (Jonny), Josiah, Sarah, me, Dietra, and Brad. Poor Brad. We made the best driver stay in the back. We had been driving for about an hour, when I saw Jonny stop, motion to Josiah to come along side him stay there while he went over the dune. Josiah thought he just was telling him to slow down, so he followed Jonny over the dune. I thought that was a little strange. but Sarah followed Josiah. As she went over the dune, I saw her back wheels were up in the air, and I hesitated because that just didn't look right at all. All of a sudden, my bike stopped. I couldn't get it to move forward at all, so Brad helped me reverse it. After we got it out of that spot, the bike refused to go back into forward gear. We were wondering why they hadn't come back to check on us, so we walked to the top of the dune and realized that they basically went off a cliff. Jonny had seen some quad bikers down there earlier and was going to check on them. We definitely weren't supposed to follow. Josiah and Sarah each had become airborne on their way down, and Josiah almost flew over the front of his bike on the way down; his chest hit the throttle as he was going forward, and that's what prevented him from flying off. Sarah said thought that this was it- her time had come. Yet, they ended up ok. After we saw that drop off and we knew not to go over it, my bike started working again. Answer to prayer? I think so!! Also, one other cool part of the of the kids out here (Mason, who is 12 yrs old and the son of the directors of LBOM) told me on Tuesday that he was going to be praying really hard for me when I go quad biking, because he had a feeling I was going to fall off my quad bike (and to all my friends back home, no, he does not know how accident prone I was back in the states). So I just want to thank everyone back home for their prayers; we really believe that prayer works and we saw it in action while quad biking.

On Friday we had the option to do whatever we wanted. The guys decided to lay low and just hang around town; Dietra went deep sea fishing; I went sky diving!!! Now THAT is the experience of a lifetime. I have always wanted to do this, and when I found out that it was an option on this vacation I couldn't pass it up. Someone from the company picked me up around 10am, picked up the other guy skydiving (a sweet German kid named Bastion), then off we went! We drove out about 20 minutes to the desert, and pretty quickly took off. My knees were a little weak when we saw the plane. It was so small!!!! Bastion and I looked at each other and just started laughing. The flight up was very cool. We were overlooking the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. We flew to a height of 10,000 feet, then Dries (my tandem jumper) and I took off. It was AMAZING. The free fall lasted about 30 seconds, but you don't feel like you're falling at all. It just feels like you're floating over the Earth. It was so cool. The entire jump probably lasted about 5 minutes. I got to steer the parachute for a little while- that was fun :) I was so giddy during the entire event that I could barely contain myself. I'm telling you- if you ever have a chance to go sky diving, do it!

When I met up with Sarah and the guys, we headed over to the ocean to enjoy the view. I was standing on some rocks to take pictures and got blindsided by a wave- my pants were soaked from the knees down. Ended up walking around town barefoot for the next 3 hours. Lovely. Yep, I caught a cold. The rest of the time in Swakopmund was spent shopping, eating, and drinking white chocolate mochas. I nearly did a cartwheel when I found a cafe that new what those were. It's not easy to find treats like that in Africa!
We took off Saturday morning at 5am and drove through the day, making it back to our place just after 7pm. I stayed up pretty late trying to upload my sky diving video, but we kept losing internet connection, and so the upload never quite worked right. I am still working on that and am very excited to have that up for you to see :)

Yes, back to reality. Reality is pretty darn good here in Africa :) The only pitfalls are that water, power, and internet tend to stop working quite a bit. The water was off all day yesterday and didn't start working again until midnight; internet has been on and off since Tuesday. I have become a pro at flushing a toilet when there is no running water. Oh, the things you learn!

Today was great. I am really beginning to love Sundays here. I started out the day by laying in bed, almost in tears because I was so tired and felt so sick. I forced myself out of bed and went to church. It was tough for me today; I felt so out of it, could hardly understand the preacher (they always have someone up there translating into Setwswana, and today I kept expecting him to translate the sermon into English); the pastor was talking so fast I could hardly understand anything! I participated in the prayer line this week for the first time; they invite people up for prayer halfway through the service every week, and there are always dozens of people lining up to be prayed for. I am partnering up with another lady from the church to be prayer partners. I am really excited about this; I talked to her husband after church, and he is in charge of discipleship and the prayer line. He had been praying for her to become more involved with both things, and now that I am there to work with her, she is ready to do it. He couldn't stop grinning. It was really cute :)
After church, we broke up into small groups to work with the people who are in the discipleship classes. I partnered with Abigail and I actually led the training today for a man who just became a Christian a week ago. Talk about rewarding!! I LOVE working with this ministry. Even though it means we wont get home until sometime between 1:00-2:00, it is something I can really get excited about.

Now we just got back from dinner with Kevin and Sarah. I am ready for bed and for the week ahead! It should be a great week- back to a "normal" week for me. I can't wait to see my kids again :) I missed them!

I am still working on getting the sky diving video up; pictures from the trip will also be posted shortly. I hope you're all doing well! Keep praying for us. We see how well it works!
UPDATE: Pics are up!

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