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Michael Paskevicius


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Sorry for the delay, things have been happening smooth and swiftly. This week was very eventful so I thought I would share some of my experiences.

Last weekend I found myself swarmed with Austrian students. They have been studying here at the University for the past year and are now spending time touring Southern Africa. Essentially, they are using the house as a home base for their travels. All have been very nice and have more than a few interesting stores and warnings for my stay. Its interesting to hear their stories both positive and negative. Interestingly enough they are all sad to be leaving Namibia.

Saturday I joined my friend Tanja and her family at Joe’s Beerhouse, a very popular (touristy) destination for the European population here. It was a bit surreal being there having seen what I have of the city. Anyhow, Joe specializes in wild game platters which were flying all around us. I opted for the potato latkes which were complimented by guacamole, sour cream and salsa. It was quite a treat. We then visited a jazz hole called Dylan’s with some live jazz and blues. Having spoken with the international coordinator at the University I realized even more that the European students have remained very close and not chanced meeting or experiencing the local culture. This is why I am so glad that I have met Cyrlene.

Cyrlene is in international development with the University. Her roots lie in Botswana as well as Namibia. She has been so good about getting me acquainted and comfortable. This week alone we visited a local music festival as well as a poetry reading. The poetry reading was very interesting. It was hosted by a very uncomfortable gent from the US embassy and featured a local Namibian poet and another who used the Khoikhoi language in her song. The Khoikhoi language was really unique and emphasised the clicking sound you may have heard about. The surprise guest at the event was a group called Darkshade who emulated the US’s R&B sound so much that most of the audience was left quite confused. Actually, many in the room could not stop laughing and one man had to leave the room entirely. Cyrlene tells me that the Westernization comes most prominently through music and media and is a disgrace over all.

The general attitude towards the US is very harsh and we Canadians get classified much the same. On Tuesday I attended a bri (bbq) with some colleagues and had a hard time differentiating us from our Southern neighbors. Current US foreign policy tends to overtake any good the country has been known for. Attempting to change opinion was fruitless and the current Canadian government issue did not help sway opinion. At the bri we had chicken wings, wild game sausage, port chops, roasted vegetables (of yes), pap (cornmeal much like mashed potatoes) and a fantastic cake for desert.

Last night I went to an Indian restaurant which is now my favorite restaurant here in Windhoek. I have never experienced garlic nan so sweet and wonderful. The place is owned by my landlord who also owns a computer shop next door. He is developing quite a little empire as a small businessman.

Work is great. I have two offices here which is more than I ever imagined. My office in computer services defines me as a system’s analyst for the University’s enterprise wide course management, finance, human resource and student enrollment system. It is a very clumsy piece of software and I doubt I will ever come to understand fully what drew them to it. Nonetheless, I am doing my best to help them organize for the latest build which includes a number of new modules. My best accomplishment yet was attending a presentation by a representative of their software provider and afterwards assessing its real benefit to the University. We did a thorough analysis identifying business process inconsistencies and determined a great gap between the system and our needs. I reported on this to computer services and it became our basis for rejection of this system module. There is talk of me attending a user conference in Botswana next March. I really hope this happens as it will present a great opportunity to see the surrounding area.

In the international department I hold an office which will serve me more when I switch over to the School of Business Management. There I will be working for the vice-rector of the university. I look forward to this assignment and it should refresh me after working in computer services for the next few months.

Tomorrow I will be attending the computer services Christmas party at a lodge in the Namibian outback. I plan to take my camera and will present the photos as soon as they are available.

The website is still to come with pictures and all. Lately after spending all day in front of the computer I have been happy to stare out at the surrounding beauty in the evening. It may take all night to upload but I want you to see what this place is all about. Please be patient as I take the time to set it up.

First Impressions of Windhoek Namiba
I step up ...

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