Monday, September 22, 2008

More than a Weekend

I arrived in Walvish (Walfish) Bay on the 19th. THat was three days ago! In three days I drove an hour and a half into the desert, climbed up a pre-historic rock formation, got an astronomy lesson, invaded the nearby city of Swakopmund, kissed a seal named Sally, saw a humpback whale, ate African oysters on a catamaran and a toga fish burger from a township, played soccer with a 10-year-old, met kids at a working women's center, an AIDS health center and in the home of my tour guide Freid.

I'm on cloud nine. I've never seen so much happiness, hard-work and respect for life. Everyone is positive despite the 30 percent HIV rates and 40 percent unemployment. My tour guide, like the majority of youths, are struggling against these odds. He started his own touring company with the help of a European sponsor who taught and funded the startup. Many people are right along with him as they elevate above the lack of industries by turning their homes into businesses to support their large families.

As the only son, Freid feeds the mouths of the nine other people living in his 2-bedroom home. He took us there to meet his 4 sisters and brother-in-laws, 3 nephews and to show us the five additional covering on the back of his home to accommodate for the eight relatives that will be returning from sea when the fishing season ends.

"My family was so happy to meet you. You have put food in their mouths. You have made this all possible."

This sure isn't jersey because... I was served bugs in a bowl and I bought a 20 cent fish burger.