My Namibia is a country like no other and I wouldn’t change or move countries for anything. We might not have everything in our beautiful county and it might not always rain even when it needs to, but the land of the brave is a truly unique, magnificent and inspiring country.
I find Namibian people beautiful and truly inspiring. I draw inspiration from the single mother waking up at 4h00 am to wake her children, prepare them for school, make them breakfast, prepare her okapana made of home-made dry meat in stew, boiled eggs, fat cakes also known as junkies by the ‘cool kids’ and still manage to make it to the next construction site before sunrise where her customers are in abundance. To the young man in his blue overalls and tethered shoes walking over 10 kilometres every day to stand next to the street in the suburbs hoping someone comes by with an offer for an odd-job that he can do for a little cash.
Then you have Petrus pushing his ice-cream bicycle for kilometres in the scorching merciless Namibian sun, because he knows very well that on hot days like this, his enthusiastic young clients are easily enticed into running to their parents to plead and beg for N$10.00 so that they can quench their thirst and cool down their tiny bodies with some yummy ice-cream. Circumstances might be different but the struggle for survival is deep within all these people. Still they rise each and every day. If you want to have some really juicy flavourful beef at an affordable price, single quarters in the heart of Katutura is where you go.
Forget the dusty oil soaked soil surrounding the place, the fresh carcases cow heads on display. When you enter through the fenced gate, the smell of the juicy meat grilling on the fire greets you. About 10 guys each standing at a stall call out to you “hey sister, ilaoku” – come here my sister. Only a matter of time before one complements you on your outfit and looks while offering you a tiny piece of meat to “taste” before you buy. The art of enticing is one that runs so deep among these guys that a few people whose guts are made of steel started “tasting” meat from all the stalls in one go. Now if you take two bites from each stall, you end up with almost a complete meal and you won’t have to spend a single dime.
Aaah, Namibia land of opportunities and bravery.Kapana usually goes down with a vinaigrette tomato and onion side salad, some kapana spice and a junkie. People from all walks of life frequent single quarters for there is no better way to unite Namibian people then over a hot fire and tasty meat. Happy times! I feel the vendors make single quarters what it is. The Kapana guys could actually teach the advertising agencies a thing or two. I am inspired every time our National soccer team, Brave Warriors goes up against an opponent like the very tall, strong and extremely experienced Senegalese soccer players. Or all those times we played against Nigeria and often gotten the beating of our lives.
Not once did the Brave Warriors shy away from a match they very well knew they stood absolutely no chance of winning because…we live in the land of the brave. When I first travelled to Paris, France, I was intrigued at the thought of climbing the Eiffel Tower, the prospect of eating so many yummy tasting baguettes, walking into the name brand shops I knew I had absolutely no business entering because I cannot afford anything in there….and eating frog legs in a French restaurant…because eating the same frog legs at our village in Ohangwena region during the rainy season is not the same. On this particular rainy and slightly gloomy afternoon, I saw a lady walking down the street wailing.
I stopped to look at her in amazement as she walked on with tears streaming down her eyes and a mucous packed nose. I felt like pulling her aside to find out what is wrong and if there is anything I can help her with because I come from Namibia…where most people will not see you crying loud down the street without offering to help you out. No one stopped to ask this woman what was wrong. They didn’t even look her way. Too stunned, I too became too afraid to approach her because everyone else ignored her.
I often think back to that day and imagine seeing Namibian people’s reaction to someone walking down the street crying with no one coming to their aid. I live in a country where a guy on his delivery motorbike slipped and fell in the middle of a busy road which results in him skidding off his bike and ramming hard on the ground. Motorists on all sides of the road stopped to help him up and find out if he was fine. Luckily, he too is brave, so he cleaned himself up a bit, got back on the bike and continued on his way. Namibia is the country I call home, the one with the hot dry air often accompanied by the harshest afternoon sunshine. I love Namibia and I love her people because they inspire me.
by Sirka Amaambo