Namibia, our exquisite Namibia. With the oldest desert in the world, serene beaches, canyon, rivers and lakes, wildlife, artist and so much more, Namibia is an inspirational gem. Fortunate enough to have spent time in some of the above-mentioned places, they all inspired me tremendously in unique ways. However, it is the women of Namibia that stand out for me.
As I sit at a quiet beach in Swakopmund, with sand between my toes and a cool breeze through my hair, I recall a memory from my childhood. It is late at night, I am too sick to move. A cool soft breeze, almost like the evening winds of the Namib Desert, blows my bedroom curtain over my head. As I brush it out of my face, still half asleep, I am greeted by my mother’s face. There are only a few hours left until she has to get up for work, but she remains seated calmly next to me until I’m better. The first signs of morning arise and my mother is a fierce & fresh-faced business woman, strutting out the door to go to work as if she did not just lose hours of sleep checking on her sick child all night. She is strong like the rocky mountains of Namibia. Many of my friends in Namibia have similar experiences with their mothers. Inspiring me to be just as nurturing a mother in future, the Namibian woman is my inspiration.
Fast-forward to my teenage years, where I am walking in an unexpectedly empty street. A random car slows down next to me. A young man rolls down his window, following my pace with his car. He starts to flirt with me, studying me up and down, asking me where I am going. I express that I am not interested and to leave me be, but he continues to follow me, matching my pace with his car. At this point I’m not too worried, but I am alert. The perfume bottle in my bag, which could serve as pepper spray, makes me feel less defenseless just in case it gets a little wild. Suddenly, a woman holding a humongous dog by leash emerges from a house next to me. She tells me to hurry up and go, as she proceeds to distract the driver from following me by scolding him. She stands at her fence, making sure that I’m safe. Her guard dog standing beside her as majestic as a lioness protecting it’s cub in the Namibian wilderness. In my few travels, never have I experienced this type of selfless act of standing up for a complete stranger. As I rushed on, I felt sad when I realize I never got to thank this wonderful woman. Inspiring me be just as courageously selfless in times of need, the Namibian woman is my inspiration.
As an entrepreneurial soul myself, I am continuously inspired by the business-savvy women in our Land of the Brave. Whether they are creating traditional baskets and other accessories by hand to use and sell or cooking up delectable dishes for sale, Namibian women are relentless. From the business women in offices to the stay-at-home moms taking care of their house and family, Namibian women are hardworking, super humans. From carrying babies in the womb for 9 months, enduring hours of excruciating labour and sleepless nights while still fulfilling everyday life’s responsibilities such as putting food on the table, Namibian women are super humans. I am tempted to check our DNA, you know, just to make sure that women are actual humans. I do not think it is coincidence that our stretch marks resemble the stripes patterns on the majestic dunes of Namibia.
Of course next to many of these inspirational women are strong, great men. Many Namibian men are precious too. My inspiration from women does not take away from all that these great men do. I am simply appreciating that being a woman I cannot help but resonate with and be inspired by other women. With such a trail of magnificent women in Namibia, how can I not be inspired to be a better person too?