Namibia was the last country we visited. It has been in the tourist news lately because of its Skeleton Coast…Namibia juts out to the Atlantic Ocean north of South Africa. The difficult currents and reefs caused huge numbers of wrecks that have come ashore and are partially buried in sand dunes. But today, we passed through customs on the river, then walked to a local village. This one was modern by local standards because they had running water. There was no plumbing and no electricity, save for one solar panel which powered the Headman’s cellphone!!! The village had a population in the 40s with a Headman who needed to approve our visit. Wealth in this area is measured by the size of your cattle and/or goat herds. This village had both. While their way of life was very functional ( men maintained the roof and hut walls…women did everything else), most tourists would find it very primitive. The people were quiet and calm, but I sensed a curiosity.
One quick story about the impact of agencies…Peace Corps members once urged the local village to grow tomatos…They were met with passive resistance by the villagers. The volunteers complained that it was almost impossible to get the villagers to work. Nevertheless, the crop was planted…The day before the harvest, hippos came at night and ate the whole crop !!!! The natives then replied that the hippos were the reason they didn’t grow many crops. The Peace Corps learned to trust local knowledge.