A quick update:
After our long journey across North-Central Namibia we have arrived at our new home for the next few days, a camp at Buffalo Game Park on the Caprivi Strip. Peace Corps Volunteer Kami, who drove with us from Windhoek yesterday, and who continues to be instrumental in our efforts here, has lived at this camp for a year and is proving to be both an invaluable link between us and the people of this area and a truly excellent host.
I almost cannot form words for the things we saw during our drive here, though I'll certainly try in a future post that's not a truncated update. I also am completely blown away by our camp, which is a series of primitive (by Western standards) mud-clay huts crafted in the local style that manage to somehow be charming, comfortable, and utterly ingenious.
Yet our experience this morning at Erasmus' family compound, to me, completely surpassed everything that has come so far. In addition to Erasmus, we met Ludwig, Elisabeth, and Mukena, who will be the crew at the Makveto bike shop. And what a crew they are! The work and planning they have done so far, without yet even having seen the container of bikes, has completely astounded us. And they were incredibly gracious hosts, taking us on a lengthy tour of the family land and giving us an unforgettable window into their daily lives. This tour has left a mark on me that will last a lifetime, and I'll detail it in a forthcoming post here.
One large hiccup from our first day here: We were expecting the container of bikes to arrive at the shop site this morning on Erasmus' compound, and it did not come. Shockingly, there is a cell signal here (which is nearly as incredible as anything we've yet seen), and a call came through to let us know that it will arrive early tomorrow morning. Needless to say our fingers, and those of the Makveto crew, are crossed. Hard.