Posted on Leave a comment

Namibia: Lesson Planning for High School Learners

Earlier I posted about arriving in Namibia to teach in 2012, now I want to talk about the strategy I used while I was there. They said it was the “lowest performing school in the region” blah blah, but they also said I achieved the most, more than anyone, past or present, while I was there. Why? I don’t believe in looking at circumstances as the final say, I look at it to determine a strategy. Information is information, whether it’s good or bad, it’s what you do with it that counts. Hearing that they were the “lowest performing” was just information, non-important information by the way. I know what they wanted me to believe, and I proved everyone wrong, including the students themselves. Any Black child in my presence will achieve, that’s it. Enjoy this post about my teaching strategy in Namibia! It has not been edited. (The picture is a picture of 4 of my actual students).


6/29/2012

I must admit, lesson planning for high school students is a bit tougher than I thought, especially when I teach computers to grades 8-12. Grade 10 really enjoys my lessons, then I found out that in Namibia, Grade 10 is the most important grade in school. My learner told me why but I couldn’t understand everything he told me, so I’ll confirm with another person. Interactive learning I see is the best approach no matter what grade whether big or small. I find that after I explain things, going around and asking the students to demonstrate what I’ve done helps them a lot better. A lot of these classes have over 30 students so I have to be creative so I can have their full attention.  I find that grade 11 and 12 enjoy my lessons but they want to do more fun things on the computer. I’d love to do many more fun things too but from what I’ve heard from the learners, past volunteers have had a little too much fun with them, and they did not learn much about computers.  So I chose to be stern with them concerning the lessons I will teach so that they can gain the most out of the time that I am here. All in all, I think that the progress made so far is impressive, when a learner tells you everything you taught them word for word two days after the lesson, it is the most amazing joy. I have to remember that they use British English here in Namibia, so when I talk sometimes they don’t know what I’m trying to say. One day I was translating to them what they should type and one student said “miss, is there a full stop?” I had no idea what he was talking about, then after a few minutes of that whole figuring out stage, I realized they were talking about a period at the end of a sentence. Lol. I must say my job here is an interesting one , I’m learning so much! After all, I hope the learners are learning just as much from me. One thing is they learn very quickly, as I said they speak British English, the only thing that may slow me down is the fact that some words I say they don’t understand, but once I adapt to their language and talk like them, and they understand me, after that it’s golden, we continue with the lesson. That’s what it’s all about!

I have to add, a learner just came in on his free time to type his assignment and he used all the functions I taught them the other day without even asking for help, made my day 😀

Posted on Leave a comment

School starts at 6:40am! & a Namibian teacher opens up & opened my eyes.

Hello All! As I create new content to bring to you, I’d like to repurpose some blog posts I’ve written from back in the day before you all knew me. This is one of my 1st blog posts as a teacher in Namibia in 2012. I have not edited it, I have left it exactly the way I wrote it. Namibia is a country in Southwest Africa, and suffered under apartheid until the 90’s with racism still at an all time high, that I experienced first hand and many times while I was there from white colleagues from the U.S. (especially Peace Corps) and whites that lived in Namibia. I’ll post more about that later. For now, enjoy this post from my 2012 eyes, and tell me what you think! Have you traveled overseas for work in Africa, what was your experience?


6/10/2012

So I’m all settled in my place in a house where teachers and volunteer teachers live. I live with a Namibian teacher, her son and three daughters. I basically have one side to myself but it’s Africa so of course we don’t state any boundaries, we’re all free to move around the whole house. People actually think I’m Namibia in this town by looking at me, they think I’m Oshiwambo (the most populous ethnic group in Namibia). I think that’s pretty funny, once they realize I can’t speak Oshiwambo they become confused. And everybody thinks my name is funny, that’s funny. My name is African and other Africans think my name is funny, I guess they think because I live in the U.S. I’m supposed to have a western name. A lot of people here have their African names but they use their Christian names (basically western names). When I tell them my name is Nigerian they seem surprised, but on the flip side, Namibians love Nigerians and the movies as well as the music they all say Nigerians make comedies lol. Nigeria also helped Namibia out a lot with education when Namibians were in exile, fleeing the country. I don’t forget to mention that I’m from the U.S. too and that my mom is African- American, so they can see the diversity. They have so much interest in that and they are really curious, they really love to see that connection. Which brings me to my next thought; I was going food shopping with my housemate today and she was telling me that she never sees black volunteers come to Namibia, Maybe out of all the ones that come I’m like the second one she saw (she actually brought the conversation up, not me). She said she would like to see more Black American volunteers come because it makes her feel more comfortable as if it was her brother or sister (those were her exact words). This is a Namibian teacher telling me this, it’s not like she doesn’t like the white volunteers, she appreciated their help, but they make her feel foreign. We must remember that Aparthied only ended in 1990 and the whites in Namibia are still very racist towards Africans. That made me think that we really need to start pushing our young African-American children to study abroad in Africa. The teacher said that would be good so they can see that Africa is good and see the similarities of the African Diaspora to Africa.

I have to mention that Namibian music is awesome and I’m surprised it’s not very popular, the same way I’m surprised South African house music isn’t popular. Namibians are very calm, cool and collective people. They are peaceful at least from what I’ve seen in Windhoek and here in Opuwu. They are very relaxed and friendly.

I saw a few Himba men today and even more Himba women, their traditional clothing intrigues me and it may sound silly but I really want to try it. Himba men wear these skirts in the front and like a long piece of clothe in the back, wearing a t-shirt and they carry a stick around.As I said yesterday, the Himba women are basically naked up top with their breasts out and a skirt at the bottom. they wear something like in the middle of their breasts but I don’t want to stare so i don’t know what it is . They wear a brown paste all over their bodies and in their hair, this paste protects them from the sun. I was told today that Himba people are very rich people! Someone who watches TV in the U.S. and came to Namibia and saw a Himba person may assume they’re poor because of their nakedness but they are actually rich. So that goes along with what I said yesterday about their style of dress being sophisticated and representing who they are in society. And thier hairstyles tell who they are so if they are young, married, or just started their period then their different hairstyles would represent which one they are.

I’m excited that I start teaching tomorrow but school starts at 6:40am! During training week they said schools can start as early as 7 and that was bad enough, but 6:40? Geesh! Well I’ll just prepare to be up at 5:30 or maybe even 5:45 since I live right next to the school. It’s literally a 30 second walk, which is awesome. I know the kids will be shocked like I said I believe I’m the first black volunteer at their school, so I wonder how it will go. I remember asking one Namibian student how Namibians felt about African-Americans (me and Richard wanted to know) and he said he didn’t feel any kind of way, but when Paul asked him what they felt about white Americans he said that “the whites are superior and smarter”. So, with that being said, that is probably due to the fact that they are the majority of people who come to volunteer in places like Africa. Even when I was in Nigeria a friend said “whites are more innovative, blacks are not” another said “we don’t have whites to look up to, so we look up to the light-skin”. So we have to realize that both Africans and the diaspora are feeling negatively about one another. Other people may not have gotten this vibe when they go to Africa, or maybe they didn’t ask. Being that I’m a product of an African and African-American coming together, I have seen it first hand, and I want people to know that all it will take is education to bridge this gap that is dividing us apart. Let’s begin to educate and show the good of both sides. Education is what will save us, that is why I’m so glad to start tomorrow so the youth can see that yes African-American people want to come and help in Africa too, not just tour and party, but really make a difference. I heard it first hand from a teacher today, they want to see more African-Americans in Africa so they can see the good in us as well as us seeing the good in them.

Anyway above all, i’m excited to meet my learners tomorrow and create a bond with them so we can learn from each other!

Posted on 5 Comments

Confidence Builds, Hate Tears Down #ForwardFridays

attentive young black groupmates using laptop while preparing for exams with anonymous teacher

I can 100% promise that anyone who is hating on what you’re doing is not doing anything themselves, and if they are doing something, they are not happy with what they are doing. I am 100% sure of that because confidence builds up others, always.

There is no way that a person who is happy with themselves has the time or thoughts to think negatively of others. Trust, there is a difference between matching negative energy and just being negative. There are some people who can wish evil on you because they are jealous, I actually had someone wish that on me before and admit they were jealous. She looked stupid because everyone around noticed and was unpleased with her behavior, but because her energy was so evil, I matched it in spirit, and she did not get away with that nonsense. That is different from actively negatively wishing evil on people. I actually am serious when I say, I believe in and see the good in everyone. I can feel evil, yes, but ask anyone who knows me, I am always trying to get people to see the best in themselves, because I see the best in myself. People have this perception, especially in America, that positive people are trying to cover up something. One of the main reasons I hate this society is because good is seen as evil, and evil is seen as good. I can go to Africa, experience genuine positivity where people actually compliment me and speak life into me all day, and it’s not for any ulterior motive. For example, anytime I’m in Nigeria, all day literally I’ll be receiving prayers, uplifting, and obviously Nigerians are more blunt with their opinions, but it’s not the same hateration that happens here in America. Even when I was in Namibia, I had the same experience; people compliment each other, speak life into each other, and there is not as much tension. I remember one day I fell down awkwardly, and in America, I’m used to people around laughing so I literally expected people to laugh at the way I fell. People gathered around me and it was a family affair trying to help me up and making sure I was ok. I honestly didn’t expect it, and I realized that, that is where my African spirit comes from, I feel more at home in Africa where my happiness and care for others is normal.

It is only in America where my happiness is seen as some deficit. Or people think confident people are really masking some type of pain. That is the difference my dad made people, because he, as a person raised in Nigeria, spoke life into me all the time, made sure I believed in myself, told me all the best things about myself, and I carried that into my everyday life. So I really am confident, and even in life’s struggles, I have an overcomer mentality. The difference is, I instill that into others. I often tell people that the reason I had so much success with my students is because I believed in them wholeheartedly. I didn’t look at them as some disadvantaged kids, I didn’t even listen to the analysis by school social workers and administrators. With my students, whatever was told to me that can’t be done by them, was achieved with me. All that other “save the Black children” nonsense was background noise. Those are my kids, and if I have the confidence, they will too. I don’t understand the need to break everything down scientifically. The human mindset is simple, yet people make it so complicated, then they teach our children with these low standards and expectations based on some useless scientific analysis, and wonder why the kids are not exceeding their expectations. I set high expectations for the students and people in my life, and I walk through it with them. If there are children who need a different approach or have a different learning style, I pick up on that; I promise it’s not that hard if success is your goal and not meeting some low, state administered standard for “disadvantaged” children. Life really needs that, people who walk with us, not people who stand over there and expect us to catch up.

So if a person is truly confident, it will show in their interactions with others I believe. If the confidence reminds other people of what they are not doing or achieving, my friends, that is projection. The first step to confidence in my opinion is understanding your purpose and accepting it. I understand my purpose, I accept it, and I don’t see success as something over there in the future; I am successful now because I work towards and in my purpose every single day. Anyone who comes into my life benefits from that, I help in ways I can, and if I have nothing to contribute monetarily or physically, I give my words and true support. Unless you are harming someone, every idea is good and realistic in my eyes. It came to you for a reason, it is not dumb, or silly or redundant, it is yours. That’s why nobody can literally tell me anything I do is not good, unless you have suggestions that help it grow, it is noise. The number one people who have unnecessary feedback are people who are not following their own dreams. This is 100% money back guarantee, any useful person is a person who acts on their faith and ideas just as you do.

Join my Decolonize Your Mind Webinar series to learn how to tap into your purpose, build your confidence, and the confidence of others around you!

Make sure to shop now for your Melanated Gems, and build your confidence through empowering handmade jewelry with your choice of empowering words!

Posted on 5 Comments

Our Origins Move Us Forward… #ForwardFridays

Hey Y’all! I often hear people say that “history doesn’t matter” or, “don’t stay stuck in the past”. That narrative is often posed to Black people, trying to gaslight us into forgetting our past, the good and the bad. If we say “we were queens and kings”, someone will say, “well we aren’t now”; if we say “we were enslaved and we are owed reparations”, someone will say “well we aren’t slaves now”. The point is, all of our history matters, why?

Well, there is nothing new under the sun. I remember living in Namibia and them teaching me the importance of hairstyles. Braided hairstyles on both women and men could tell the person’s age and status, along with jewelry and markings that furthered these symbols (widow, wife, etc.). There was a particular hairstyle that was designated for little boys, it was two braids, braided towards the front or the back with the rest of the head shaved off. I remember coming back to the US, and 2 years later, that style becoming popular over here with the men. I told someone one day that their hairstyle is symbolic to Himba culture in Namibia and they laughed. Again, if we knew what a lot of the things we do mean, we would not take them so lightly. What if they knew that their hairstyle was a symbol of boyhood, and the next level hairstyle represented manhood, or even that it identified the tribe they were from? He could either wear it with pride, or wear the hairstyle that represents his status as a man! Through enslavement, all these identifiers were taken from us, and that part is important too! However, the fact that the royalty still found its way into the diaspora even through enslavement is why it matters, because we can still celebrate and live out our royalty, building on the legacy of the ancestors, even though some feel like they are doomed, and there’s still work to do…

Young Himba Boys

I always get excited when I find cultural similarities between the diaspora, it’s the sociologist in me, but I find that others do not care. As I stated yesterday, freed Africans purchased their own land in Texas to even be able to celebrate Juneteenth in peace without being harassed for being on “white property”. Now, we are still being harassed on land that belongs to all of us, and in the spaces where we celebrate ourselves, we are not really living out the true meaning of these holidays and celebrations. Not that it has to be 100% serious, but we should always use these spaces to educate and edify and empower. There’s always the 1 Black person at the cookout who wants to celebrate blackness and teach everyone there, everything they know (I’ve been that person), but they get laughed at or told “this is not a Harriet Tubman moment” , you know what I’m talking about and you know I’m not lying. We always have people trying to remind us, but because of brainwashing, we are told to forget, or laughed at…. our origins matter!

So, this weekend, as you celebrate Juneteenth, and every other holiday for us, be sure to use those moments to be that person, whether laughed at or not. Educate, edify, and empower, trust me, they are listening!

Become a Melanated Gem today when you order the Melanated Gem RBG Freedom Set for 20% off… and get 50% off when you sign up for July Decolonize Your Mind Classes!