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A Glimpse of Life in a Namibia Village

By Diane Ambur

a breezy ride down the Chobee River takes us to where crocodiles, hippos and a variety of birds rule over the water. As the boat pulls up to the landing, a dusty path appears through scrub trees. We follow the path as it winds through bare branches that crunch as we lightly brush by them. The season is early spring in Africa.

As we approach the village, a lone child with luminous dark eyes stands hesitantly on the path. A slight smile emerges on his face as we smile and say “Hello.” He leads us to a small village of grass roofed huts that seem to grow out of dusty, red earth. Mud and termite hills combine to form rectangular homes with one or two rooms. Reed walls surround huts in which married couples reside, while those not so adorned indicate the occupant’s availability.

Brightly clad women and children run out to meet us and show us their handicrafts. They are very proud of their work. There are no men in sight. They’re out fishing, working up river or getting supplies. Herds of goats can be seen roaming in the distance.

Despite the heat, small wood fires burn continuously outside, making ready the mid morning cup of tea, or preparations for a later meal. Women spend the day sitting on fabric mats weaving reeds into household goods and decorations.

Two taps conveniently located in parts of the village provide water for washing, bathing, drinking and cooking. Taps finally provided, after two children were lost their lives to crocodiles, while fetching water from the river.

Clothes hang limply on lines attached to sticks or reeds that connect to huts or other buildings.

Children run barefoot through red sand, playing, carrying sarong wrapped babies, filling buckets with water, or washing clothes in plastic tubs.

Outside the huts, small reed enclosures lean lopsided as they provide privacy for toilets.

Homes are basic without electricity, running water, nor adequate furniture for storing, sitting or sleeping.

In spite of possessing so little, these families greet us with smiles and offers to share whatever they possess. To them each day is a good day on the banks of the Chobee River.

Diane Ambur has had work published in Lollipops Magazine, VSA's Start with the Arts,Activity Book, 2005, ARTSEDGE, a Kennedy Center web-site for educators, DragonflySpirit, Kid Vision, Stories for Children Magazine and Nature Friend.

Diane Ambur
Hilton Head, SC

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