Welcome to Bushmanland.
Forget showering. Forget Wifi. Forget cell-signal. Forget the rest of the world. It’s you and the bushmen now. You and the wild.
“Bushmanland”, says the sign. There are no fences here. One cannot own land. Animals roam freely. The people that live here survive on hunting and gathering.
For five days I had the privilege of staying with the San people – bushmen as they say themselves. They have lived the same way for thousands of years and have the most similar genetics to Everyone. No matter who comes here can see something of themselves in their faces.
We were nine people on the expedition. Five volunteers from Harnas Wildlife Foundation (myself and four more), one traveler from England (a british guy named Jamie who couldn’t have stopped telling puns if his life depended on it) and the three people that organized the trip. It’s funny how quickly people get to know each other around a bonfire. Hank and Renate – two of the organizers – got married the second of October, the same day as I arrived in Namibia. We bonded instantly. Hank is a several time world champion in archery, was a profesional MMA fighter, but listens to Cascada and keeps referencing chick-flicks. Renate is from Holland, loves dogs, and is currently following her dreams here. Aleksandra is the last, but main organizer. She’s Norwegian, but has lived in Namibia for six years. She gave up being a supermodel to find herself, and along the way she found her passion too. I could have listened to her stories around the bonfire for forever. She speaks their language. She knows them.
It was certainly a curious group that met the San this Monday. They welcomed us with open arms though – literally.
Bushmen! And butts… 😛
I was a bit nervous before we met them. It didn’t help that Hank joked that if one of the bushmen shot an arrow into my ass I shouldn’t freak out, that’s one of the ways they propose. I just had to remember not to pick the arrow up, because that would mean I accepted it.
However, from when we met the San until we said goodbye, I couldn’t stop smiling. I’ve never met such people before. They are incredibly short, weigh around 30-40 kg and laugh with, not just their whole faces, but their whole selves.
In the short time we visited them, they took us in as their own. They wanted to teach us as much as possible. They took us tracking, gathering, bird-trapping, and showed us how to make rope from a plant called mother in law tongue. In addition they let us use their bows and spears. I would not have made a great Robin Hood it seems.
Norwegian foot vs Africa. Africa won.
Bushmen are playful. When I was told we were going to play games with them I first sighed. More football, really? I got enough of that at High School and had no need to play against people that run marathons every week (no joke, they actually do.)
No matter where in the world. Funny videos bring people together.
However, their games are quite different from football. They sing. They dance. It involves a lot of rhythm. Clapping. Buttshaking. Fun. I took one of my favorite pictures of this whole trip when playing with them. We taught them a song we do around the bonfire at Harnas “This is the repeat after me song”. Take a guess at how the game goes.
There is something special about being in the untouched wild. One night we heard hyenas in the bushes. Every night we had a sky with a billion stars.
Bonfires. Magic. N a m i b i a ❤
Namibia is one of the few countries where you can still find large groups of elephants. It was HUGE, seeing them.
Elephant footprints in the sand, and my tiny foot in comparison.
All in all, it was a great trip. However it was also great returning to Harnas. I have had days where I feel like I just don’t belong, but when we came back – we definitely belonged. My roomie ran to meet me, our friends that didn’t join the trip greeted us loudly at dinner and the kitchen lady reached over the counter to take our hands. We could take a shower again after five days. We had beds to go to. It almost felt like… Coming home.
PS. Remember that comments make me happy 🙂