Feeling the Spirit of Africa
Epukiro RC, Gobabis, Namibia, 2009-11-10 12:00 by Laerke and Martin

Namibia’s many natural beauties had made a big impression on us, from orange sand dunes to a majestic lion roaring and a dung beetle rolling by with a round dung ball, all of them so unique and fascinating; but what we experienced today truly touched our hearts – we spend a day in a village with the Batswana people…

After driving in the eastern outbacks of Namibia, on bumpy but drivable roads, asking the locals, and even the local region chief, for directions, we finally found our destination, Epukiro RC. Driving through the typical African village, we had an eye out for any sign for the campsite we were looking for: Boiteko. No signs were found, but again the locals stepped in, and we were shown in the right direction, driving on what could only be described as bush tracks, barely visible through scrub and high grass. Noone was at the campsite though, so again we went searching – this time for the leader of the woman group, who runs the camp. We found her at last, in the middle of her chorus practice! She was very surprised to see us, and a little taken back it seemed; and we were told why: We were the first campers ever to come to their campsite!!

We pitched our tent, and soon were joined be a few of the women from the women group, who lit a fire, made tea and then we just talked the night away. We were told about their project and about their dance group, which we absolutely had to see the next day.

The many talks with the ladies that run this project both the young and the old were so inspiring. They had so many interesting things to say and they were well traveled; the dance troupe has been to most Southern African countries as well as China and Norway. The project leader had been to Germany, she was a very visionary woman. The Batswana people had started the project to preserve Batswana culture, both so that tourist could experience it but also so that their own children and the youth of the village wouldn’t forget.

They started the project in 2003 and so far all the income they have generated has gone into building the site, constructing two traditional Batswana houses and a large circular shaded area where you can hang out.

The next day the dancegroup came to the campsite and preformed a very professional and beautiful show, dressed in their homemade, traditional outfits, they gave a great impression, and there were some real talent. But later on we were to experience even more dancing, when we took a walk around the village, and passed by the village school. Here the younger kids were practicing dancing and singing, and they happily performed for us too. These kids had a joy and spirit that were so striking and touching, their smiles and shining eyes gave their performance something practice can never do. The singing and the dancing almost brought tears to my eyes; the joy that shone from these children was so strong we could feel it in the air and it went straight to our hearts.

These people could be an example for everyone; friendly, hopeful, entrepreneuring and with so much passion that you couldn’t help but feel smitten. If you ever go to Namibia, go visit Boiteko!

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