There are certain things which I love about this country. I was sitting in my room, veggin’ out, when all of a sudden I heard some beautiful singing. At first I thought it was from the radio, but then, as I looked out of the window, I saw a procession of women walking down the street to a neighbor’s house. I walked to the door to watch and listen to the amazing singing. I turned to my sister and asked her if she knew what was going on. She informed me that the girl at that house was getting married the next week, so they were singing for her. A week before she is to be married, she is brought to her house, where she will stay until the wedding. She is not allowed out of the house for any reason for that week.
I had been in a blah mood for the last few days, after my site visit. I had had a taste of freedom and what it felt like to be able to do what I wanted without having a family always wondering what was going on. Coming back to Okahandja, I was not as excited to be surrounded by my host family, always asking what I was doing, and where I was going. As soon as I heard the singing of the women, something changed. There was this beauty to both the song and the tradition. It lifted my heart and soul and gave me a peace within myself. This country has such a rich culture of community and tradition, and the song was a gentle reminder to me of why I came.
I am here, in Namibia, not only to help the future become better people, but to also allow myself to learn and grow. I think that many Americans have reached such a blend of culture, that we have in fact lost some of the beautiful, simple things which make us great. There is an ambivalence that I have noticed in myself, the inability to see the wonder in being part of a community. Coming here, my eyes have started to open, allowing me to see what the world is really like, and how I can become a better, not as an individual, but as a member of a community. Where the self is less important than the whole. I hope that everyone has at least one chance to experience something like this.
I wish that I had been able to make a video of what I saw, but I doubt it would have meant as much to you as it did to me. I hope that I will be able to experience many of these cultural revelations, and that I can share my joy whenever I can. It truly is wondrous how such little things can change how someone thinks entirely.