There are many realities that I am discovering as I journey though my life here in Namibia. Most seem to be obvious, especially if spoken aloud. Like, “I am no longer in America.”
That became completely apparent when stepped off the plane in Windhoek 6 months ago. But there have been times when it wasn’t so obvious. I grew up in neighborhoods where nearly every face was a shade of brown and most people lived from check to check, be it paycheck or welfare check. Fifty or so years later I find myself in nearly the same environment, just on a different continent. My home back then was basic, but clean, just as my home is here in Namibia. I had many friends, but I also spent a lot of time alone back then, just as I do now. So living here often feels familiar and can sometimes seem as right as rain.
In my Erongo Region town there are things that need fixing and little money in the town’s coffers to fix them, just like so many hamlets throughout the Rust Belt, Appalachia, and the Rural South in the U.S. and people make do with what they have, and learn to see beauty and grab opportunities when they present themselves. One can get lulled into expecting the familiar, but it is the vistas and the random chance encounters that can make the reality of my current life slam me like a linebacker, and I’m left wide-eyed, slack jawed and can only mutter, “oh!” while my mind attempts fit what I’m experiencing into some familiar context, and failing.
I had such an opportunity last week. A fellow Peace Corps volunteer, on vacation with family, offered some extra seats in a plane charted for an aerial tour of Sossusvlie and Fish River Canyon here in Namibia. I was lucky enough to be able to take advantage of the offer. What I saw was hard to describe, the only word that may do it justice is ‘surreal’. Instead of me trying to tell you what I saw I’ll let the photos I took do the talking.
More to come.