Camille Minns ’20, Namibia –
It’s true. We become a sum of all the places and people that we interact with. If we’re lucky and we open ourselves up just enough, we can take in all the lessons being offered from the experiences and stories that surround us. This is how I feel about my time here in Namibia.
I’ve lived and learnt and laughed so much (because if you don’t laugh, you cry – and there’ve been several times I came close to doing the latter). It’s been an experience filled with complexity and frustration, growth and adventure and so much more. It has not been all roses (my Instagram™ feed has only shown one very, very small aspect of this 8-week experience). Olivia and I have spent this last week doing final evaluations with the officials at the various institutions we’ve been working with; I also reached out to an administrator at the Omaruru Children’s Haven, a children’s home, in hopes that we could forge a connection for the years to follow. This is the first time that the CPS Summer Fellowship has been in Namibia and so it’s been an unpredictable journey. Olivia and I aren’t sure what the future of this program will look like as there’s so much possibility, but it can only grow stronger.
We’re amid completing our written reports, and every time I write about one experience, it reminds me of another and I find myself wanting to explain every detail. This is exactly what it’s going to be like when I return home. There’s not enough time and I don’t have the right words to explain my feelings on all of this, but Namibia has given me a lot. I feel like, or the first time in a long time, I’ve thoroughly lived my life here. The good, the bad and the uncomfortable have all played a part in how I’ve grown. I think about my host-family and about saying goodbyes, and I’m honestly not sure if I’ll ever get the chance to come back to this little corner of the world and see them. I’ll miss the warmth and wisdom of my host-parents as we discussed the news and Namibia’s systems, and the big personalities of my four host-siblings and our times playing Monopoly and joking around.
Last weekend, Olivia and I ventured out to the coastal city of Swakopmund, once again. This time, the weather was warmer and we were much more familiar. We enjoyed scrumptious meals and breath taking sunset views. I think I can speak for the two of us in saying that we’re happy we came back. That Saturday, I went tandem skydiving, jumping out of a small Cessna 206 from more than 11.000ft. There are no words for just how exhilarating and surreal that whole experience was. It’s something that had been on my “bucket list”, but I learnt a long time ago that I don’t have to wait for some mid-life crisis or old age to start living. Til this day I can’t believe it actually happened, and right in time for my 20th birthday on the 18th, too!
The sun is setting on our time here in Namibia. I look forward to boarding the airplane home, of the familiar smell of recirculated cabin air and of hugging my family. I can’t lie about this – it’s been a long time coming! For now, the dogs barking, the chickens crying with the rising of the sun and the church bells are all starting to quiet down. These next few days are dedicated to final reflections, not only of the programs we’ve been a part of and the relationships we’ve formed but of our complete selves. Cheers, Namibia!