Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kelsey in the Kalahari

I have just returned from my site visit. My village for the next two years is small, sandy and quite literally in the Kalahari Desert. It is called Deorham and was settled in 1976 when the apartheid regime moved native people off resource-rich land. While the town of Kuruman is 89 kilometers away, my new address is: 

Mosinki Middle School
P.O. Box 514
Kuruman 8460

Obviously, I am sharing the mailbox with one of my assigned schools. Mosinki has only 68 learners from grades 8-10. The actual school grounds consist of 3 blocks: one for classrooms, one for staff offices and one large, empty space with burglar bars on all the windows and doors that I am hoping to turn into a computer lab (ahem, Dell Foundation). In the middle of the school yard there is a big, metal post. Apparently, they used to have solar panels mounted on it but they were taken down for fear of robbery. There is also a school garden, filled mostly with sand and a little bit of spinach.

My second school is just down the road (i.e. sandy path). It is a primary school that is much larger than Mosinki. They also have a large, unused space. In this case, it is filled with dusty books. The staff wants the room to be a library, but they have not been able to make it work yet. I am really excited about helping them with that.

My host family is very friendly and welcoming. While the community is obviously impoverished, my family is comparatively wealthy. I have a host mother who is an educator at Mosinki, a father who works as a welder abroad and several siblings who are mostly all away either at school or working at the mines in Rustenberg.

The community welcomed me by giving me yet another new name. I am now Resego Potelo. Resego means "We are lucky". Please address your mail accordingly.  Hopefully, someday soon the post office will end their strike and I will actually get your mail. Please do keep writing. Holding a letter from the United States in my hands is practically a religious experience. 

Great news for those of you not into snail mail (ahem, Fore): I bought a cell phone! My number is 0829680607, so call or text me whenever. I look forward to hearing from you!


  1. Kelsey, It sounds like you have a lot of projects that you can work on that will have an immediate impact on the learners (computer lab, library). It's great to hear the enthusiasm that comes through in your blog and your phone calls. I am extremely happy that you have a cell phone.
    Take care. Love, Mom

  2. I tried calling you but it won't work. How does one call a different country? I miss you and love you!


  3. Caitlin, dial 011 27 then Kelsey's# without the leading zero.
    Kelsey's mom

  4. Hi Kelsey- Wow, what a bunch of experiences you are having!! Hey it sounds like the aparthied crowd did the same thing as we did to the Native Americans back in the 1800's--move them resource rich land!!! We had a great time at Matt and Sara's wedding last weekend. We missed you. Love, Uncle FRAN

  5. Uncle Fran, I was so sad to miss the wedding. Please send some photos! You're spot-on with the Native American analogy. Much of rural SA feels like a reservation with mass unemployment and alcoholism.

    Caitlin, call me again! Call me again! Call me again!!!!!!!!!!!!!