By: Tara Dean
Africa is seen of a place full of adventure, wonder and the unknown; a place full of new ideas and scenery that you’ve never seen or heard before. Being on this trip has shattered those perceptions I once held.
When we arrived, the landscape was the first thing that we noted as being quite similar to back home. Dry land with a lack of trees and heavy vegetation was our first indication that the professors had in fact just taken us to west Texas. The only thing that tipped us off that we were actually in Africa were the multitude of mountains off in the distance.
Along with the landscape comes the animals that inhabit it. When you drive down a back road in Texas you’re bound to see a deer or two and sometimes you’re lucky enough to catch a hog running off into the brush. In Namibia you see more warthog than you can possibly count or care to see. Not only that but the occasional oryx, dik diks, duikers, and sometimes kudu. It becomes such a normalcy we seem to hardly notice them anymore.
Southern hospitality is a staple when it comes to growing up in Texas as well as minding your manners. A person should be greeted with open arms and welcomed in as if they are a part of your family already. I felt that same warmth, love and openness almost everywhere we visited. The people of Namibia are so kind and willing to share their culture and beliefs with anyone who is interested. I hadn’t felt more at home this whole trip than when we went to the Habis farm. It was just like spending a weekend out at the ranch but with a few more goats, sheep and kudu. Not to mention the food was organic and fantastic!
We’re Texans and we like to eat meat and a lot of it, and so do the Namibians! The majority of dinners consisted of some type of game steak or stew whether is be kudu, orix or even “what’s this called again?” They are also big on the carbs and each meal is loaded down with potatoes and breads of all sorts. We must have gained 10 pounds each during this trip!
There is a special place in my heart for Africa now. It has kept me close and encouraged me along the way. Wherever the road ahead may lead, I know that this is only the first of many Namibia adventures to come because you can’t stay away from home for long.