"You look like John Travolta"

July 12, 2008 - Sossusvlei, Namibia

On Thursday, Peter and I had a terrific clinic visit in Rietoog, a town of less than 1,000 people 200 km southwest of Windhoek.  After talking to the staff about their HIV outreach and the very basic forms of testing they provide, the head nurse said to Peter, "You look like John Travolta."  Peter said that's not the first time he's heard that… but he didn't expect to hear it in rural Namibia!  Check out our pics to see for yourself!

While we were in Rietoog, Jordan and Travis spent the day in Katutura, a northwest suburb of Windhoek.  There are a ton of clergy working in these hospitals, even if not specifically Catholic.  They met quite a few spunky nuns.  My favorite line was in answer to Jordan's question… "Are most of your clients low income, middle income or high income?"  The nun replies "NO Income."  I'm sure my typing is not doing this story justice, but its great to hear about people who have a terrific attitude as they perform very tiresome jobs.

Jordan planned a fantastic trip to the Namib Desert for us.  We drove to a nice lodge on Friday (oddly enough, along the exact same route to Rietoog… Peter & I have spent way too much time in the car), in time to see a beautiful sunset over the mountains.  On Saturday, we had a full day, beginning with a 2-hour trek up and along the "Big Daddy" sand dune, with constant winds, occasionally reaching up to 40 mph.  (Two days later, we are still finding sand everywhere, including coming out of our ears and eyes, despite multiple showers!)  Jordan was especially, uh… gifted, in the descent.  Check out this 10-second clip.  We also saw ostrich, springbok, hemelbok (another type of antelope), dune bugs, and ground squirrels (a close relative of Timone from The Lion King).

After returning to Windhoek on Sunday, we tried to make fajitas, only to learn that Africa doesn't carry much Mexican food.  The grocery stores had no idea what tortillas were, and they didn't have chips or salsa!  So, we improvised… and settled on pita bread and makeshift seasoning.
We are in Windhoek for 2.5 more days and are hoping for a couple important meetings to come through in the meantime.  On Thursday, we are going to stop at a state hospital 2 hours east of Windhoek, on our way to Botswana.  We need to pick up some good African music for our epic car ride though!

Finally, congratulations to Liz and Jayson, as well as Lillian and Andrew, on their weddings this past weekend.  Although we wish we could have celebrated with you, we thought of each of you from the Namib Desert!


PS:  Make sure you check out the pictures from the Namib Desert.  Some of the most amazing scenery that I've ever seen.   It took two hours to hike up the highest dune – "Big Daddy" – but we ran down it in about 2 minutes.  There were some thrills and spills, but at the bottom was Deadvlie, a really cool dried up lake with ancient dead trees popping out of it.  Here is a picture of Erin with a mini-Travis.  The winds at the top of the dune were somewhere north of 45 mph, and we are still finding sand in our clothes, ears, tear ducts, etc.  Good times!




Mammaw and Pappaw:
July 14, 2008
What a wonderful experience, thanks for sharing. Love you very much, Pappaw and Mammaw
Aunt Ann:
July 16, 2008
I've sent 2 other emails that don't seem to have gone through so I'll try once more. Your weekend sounds like it was very productive, as well as tons of fun. Please don't share anymore about Jordan's "sand gifts" however. Keep the blog going, it really calms the nerves to hear from you, as well as getting to share in your marvelous adventure.
I am so very proud of you both and love you bunches!
Aunt Ann
Julie Vanden Busch:
July 16, 2008
Happy 3rd Anniversary Erin & Jordan!

Love, Mom
Linda Klein:
July 16, 2008
so Peter...Did anyone ask for your autograph? Love Mom
Jenna Klein:
July 26, 2008
Hey Pete,
I knew you looked like Seinfeld but, never John Travolta....Quite funny. If it's not too much trouble can you get me a recording of some African music? We did African drumming this year in my music ed. classes but, it was drumming from Ghana. I'm curious to hear music from other parts...it's always good to get out of our Western culture of music and listen to other things. By the way, they listen to A LOT of American music here in Italy.
Love you!
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