I am not the same person I was when I left. I met so many new and exciting people, heard so many inspiring and enchanting stories from all over the world and I am intrigued. I want to experience so much more, see so much more. My idea of what my life should be like has completely changed now. How can I go back to my mediocre life of working all the time and not experiencing any of the wonders that life has to offer?
I will have to make some serious changes as soon as I get home. I have met some friends that have a lot of the same passions as I do, and I have come to realise that nothing feels quite as good as spending time with people that completely understands you, there is no pretence or apologising for who and what you are.
As I was paging through my journal I kept on the trip, reminiscing, I thought that I’d give you guys a glimpse of my own feelings of excitement and wonder at that time,
Day 1: 07 November, arrival
Imagine my surprise when we land and it looks like we’re in the middle of some kind of tropical storm. It reminded me a lot of the typical ‘Highveld storms’ we have at home, it literally takes your breath away, complete with lightning so intense it makes the earth you shudder. I knew right then and there that it would be a great stay.”
You see, Namibia is our neighbouring country and I know first-hand the devastating effects the drought has had in our region, so to witness the skies opening up like brought absolute bliss and thankfulness over me.
Day 2: 08 November, induction
Our very energetic and eccentric host Corne covered all the important topics, form NaanKuse history to what to do if you find a snake in your bed ;). I thought I had done my homework, but there were so much I still didn’t realise about the human/animal conflict situation, and I started to realise just how difficult their task is of trying to change the mind set of people that are used to their own way of doing things for so many generations.
After induction we were all divided into our groups and we got to do our first activity on the roster. I was very excited when I learned that my first activity involved the cheetah cubs. No words can explain my absolute level of contentment at this point in time.
Day 3: 09 November, my first full day
By now almost all the rain clouds have cleared away and we are feeling the full extent of that scorching Namibian sun that I was expecting. So, it turns out the Gods were in my favour and my second activity of the trip also included cheetahs, I was over the moon. But it was not all fun and games and for the rest of the day we had some hard work waiting for us. Needless to say I slept like a baby.
Day 9: 15 November, perfectly content
The days flew by, and by now I have made so many new friends, I will forever cherish these nights spent chatting around the fire. I finally felt like I belonged somewhere, these were all my kind of people, we came from all over the world and sometimes the language barriers would hinder a very clever joke’s punch line, but for the most part we had so much in common. I honestly feel like I could stay here forever.
While I was there I made a point of not looking at my phone too much, not reading about news in my own country, or anywhere else in the world for that matter. And I must say, I don’t think I have every felt so complacent, happy, and peaceful in my whole life. Not only could I be me, 100% me, without making any excuses for my beliefs and perspectives, but it seemed, to me at least, that everyone around me was experiencing the same kind of serenity. Everyone accepted each other.
The days flew past and before I knew it, it was just about time for me to leave, to go back to my own reality. It’s funny how, while working with rescued animals, and people of a forgotten culture in a country whose history looks a lot like my own country’s, who’s unemployment number is much higher than ours, I felt so much love, appreciation and respect, not only for one another but for their environment.
And I realised right then and there the potential of my own country, if people with so little can achieve so much, we should all be striving for so much more.
When I returned from Namibia I had so many mixed feelings and emotions, I felt different somehow, I was the same person, with the same life, and somehow I felt more out of place than ever before. That is partly why it took me so long to write these posts. It’s a scary thing, realising who you are, embracing it, it usually goes hand in hand with a some major changes in your life, changes that might also affect those dear to you. It takes a lot of courage.
I have been back barely three months and it already feels like that feeling is slipping away more and more each day, I’m losing myself again in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, work, family, friends, commitments, responsibilities. I am not naïve, I know the reality of it all, but that does not mean I will give up, I must find a way for my true self to shine and prosper, I must free my own soul. It is my duty and responsibility to myself.