As a whole, Texans tend to be a willful, strong and prideful people with a serious identity of being Texan. These traits are instilled in us because of how Texas formed as a state in the U.S., causing a strong history, strength as well as the attitude that tends to come with our culture. We like our Texas flag, state and all around Texan-ness plastered all over our clothes, cars, and even home decor. I have asked my family members who reside in other states what people in other places across America think of us, and the conclusion is simple; Texans love Texas. There is a state pride unlike any other because of our culture, and its reputation continues across state lines.
The group of Aggies currently with me in Namibia have crossed state borders, oceans, and countries to partake on this adventure. Our love and passion for our Texas heritage has made the journey with us. Texan’s culture outside of our home state is still a part of everything we do, and how we see the world. Our pride in that culture has traveled with us in our carry-ons in the form of Texas A&M flags and blankets. It is in our suitcases taking the form of a Texas state on our t-shirts. And it is with us in our hearts and minds as we say ‘howdy’ to the Namibians we meet.
The reason why we have brought this identity with us is that we are proud to be Texans. That is who we are, and how we were raised. Our cultural lens is framed with a love and pride for the place we call home. Something that sets our state’s culture apart is how loud we are about it; We are not afraid to tell someone where we come from with a sense of passion flowing through with those words.
A large part of Texan culture is our cattle industry. Texas is the number one cattle producer in America, and cattle is an industry that has shaped our history and heritage. There are about 11.7 million cattle currently residing in Texas, while Namibia only contains roughly 3 million. The difference in cattle population between the two is intense, but the cultural pride is not so far apart. I was talking to a Peace Corps volunteer, Jennifer, who is currently based close to Swakopmund, Namibia. She told me that many Namibians have cattle not just for money, but for pride. Cattle owning in itself is part of their heritage, much like it is back home in the Lone star state.
When we visited the students at UNAM, my professor Dr. Redwine was getting our attention and started off with “Namibians and Texans.” Not ‘Americans’, but Texans. The other day my fellow classmate Alicia was wearing a shirt with a large Texas state on the back. Any time I take a picture of Zeke he throws up his Fightin’ Texas Aggie ‘Gig ‘em’ like is the most natural reflex in the world. Michael gives almost any Namibian he speaks to a “Howdy” and Tiffany asks anyone who meets her eye, “how are you doin’?”. We speak loudly, and laugh with our heads thrown back and mouths wide open; We engage, welcome, experience and appreciate this entire experience just like we do back home. That just goes to show you can take the Texan out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of a Texan.