Goodbye… is only temporary

To all the friendly faces we’ve met in Namibia,

I have used about a month to process the fact that we had already left Namibia, after 3 weeks of researching, interviewing, making friends, and sightseeing. I didn’t think it had been enough by the time our trip ended. When I first arrived in Windhoek, I was exhausted, excited, and who would have imagined how hard it would get when it was time to depart. I didn’t feel much when I waved my goodbyes. I guess that’s because I was used to it.

There are many places to where I have not been, but among the four countries I have traveled to and lived in, Namibia stood out because of its raw, massive land, its culture, and its people and the genuineness and kindness in them.

I stood on the Namibian soil once and left promising myself that some day, I would return.

During our stay, we had our calendar filled with interviews, b-toll shooting appointments, including all the miscellaneous, grocery shopping, dinner making and such. Although it seemed busy, we managed to go for a hike or head to a bar as our occasional treats.

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Or we pretended to be like real tourists taking lots and lots of pictures everywhere we went. One time I was almost too into the role and got yelled at for photographing on private territory without permission. I deserved it. I apologized and walked away.

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My fondest memory was being introduced to all the successful, inspiring PLU alumni, especially the main narrator of our documentary, Edwin Tjiramba, and his family. Edwin invited us to his farm on a rural land, which I forgot the name of.  The combination of sand, the sky, and trees were simply breathtaking.

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I remembered that the kids took us to the river. By the river we sat and played with sand until sunset. The afternoon sun softly shined on the kids’ smiley faces. We enjoyed the time as much as they did building sand castles or rolling in the mud.

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As I was typing this, I felt a sudden urge of taking the next flight going back to Windhoek. I miss those kids.  I miss all the kind people we spent time with. I miss being called Chi-Chi, the Namibian sounding name I was given. And I miss the warm hugs we would receive as we greeted one another.

Goodbye is only temporary. Goodbye means we will meet again. But until then… Goodbye, Namibia.

Love always,

Shunying

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American Hippie Meets the Ultimate Inspiration

On meeting Ms. Louisa Mupetami:

Image(Ms. Louisa Mupetami, left and Princess Reese, right. Princess is geeking out. Photo Credit: Princess Reese)

Ms. Mupetami is a petite, gentle woman with a small voice. Standing at about 5’ 0” she graciously opened her arms to greet all of us as soon as she recognized us outside of the building. Being the one to interview her was dream come true. It is not often that i see my own face reflected in the movement I love so much (sustainability) and knowing that a powerful Black woman was responsible for changing the face of her country blows my mind.

When I say that she has changed the face of Namibia, I mean that she has: CHANGED. THE. FACE.

As Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, she is responsible to changes and distribution in natural resource management across the country. She has orchestrated efforts to raise the Black Rhino population twofold and the elephant population by 300% since taking office.

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She has also implemented countless education programs all over the country and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty out in the field. In fact– this Saturday, the junior members of the team are all going out with her to tag wild buffalo in the plains! She is everywhere and still manages to keep her programs running smoothly.The woman is amazing, and for a Black hippie woman interested in environmental conservation (AHEM! Me) she is a testament to our ability.

What’s most inspiring about her, perhaps, is the way she speaks of her accomplishments and duties as if anyone could have been responsible. She is incredibly humble about her work, and very patient with questions (and my fangirl-like awe of her).

ImageAbove: Ms. Louisa and Mr. Edwin Tjiramba pose for a picture at a recent return to PLU. (Photo Credit: Pacific Lutheran University)

Madame Secretary filled our hour-long interview with anecdotes about her time at PLU, the ways that she grew while there, and the genuine love she received from campus. She remained thoughtful and poised in her responses, while also vividly describing what it was like to live in the apartheid era of Namibia.

Her additions to the documentary are well received and have us all excited about the interviews to come.

Meeting her felt like a three hour dream and I am leaving deeply inspired by her drive and the impact she has had on her community. She will continue to do great work, and Namibians across the country will continue to be positively affected. She is truly one of the best things to ever happen to the country.

-Princess

 

(P.s. For fun, some more “behind the scenes” photos will be available on the Facebook page entitled “Namibia Nine”!)Image