Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Wow… I actually just crossed the middle passage, sailing down the Atlantic Ocean, the same blue seas the 12 million African slaves were forced to cross, the same blue seas that many slaves were beaten, raped, tortured, and died on. This was an emotional passage to Africa. I am part of the students of color group on the ship and we put on a day of silence and the middle passage event right before arriving in Namibia. We wore black or brown that day and taped a sign to ourselves saying what we were doing and recognizing that day. We did not talk all day long from the time we woke up until 8 pm that night. We all had the whole day to reflect and think, think about all those people, their families, their torture, their deaths, and their survivals. The last 15 minutes of our silence we went to the back of deck 7 and looked over the balcony together at the sunset and ocean. It was a powerful moment that I will never forget. So many things ran through my mind, I can’t even describe them all. The group then walked in together into the union where we sat in the middle of the floor together in front of the audience and continued our recognition, broke our silence, and shared our reflections. The emotions, feelings, spoken-words, poetry, and tears we shared made us all connect on a different level. I will never forget that day.

We then arrived in Walvis Bay on Valentine’s Day and I remember going outside to look at the port on deck 7 to see what it was like. It was kind of cold, but it was like 7:30 in the morning, and there was like a fishy bay smell in the air. I could see workers working on a tall structure in front of us, they were making a lot of noise with whatever they were doing, but some of the workers waved to me as they walked by which was nice. There was a group of young girls that were waiting to perform for us outside and we watched them from the front of the ship looking overboard and they sang and danced for us. They were from a school and had traveled quite a ways to come, some of them were orphans. It was great to have them there and I was excited to get off the ship and meet some of them before leaving to my safari. They performed for awhile and after they were done they seemed very excited to meet all of us. They wanted to take pictures and ask us all kinds of questions. One girl named Samba was really interested in why I didn’t have any hair haha. It was funny and I tried to explain to her why I did it, I even showed her a picture of how I used to look in my camera. She told me that she goes to school and when I asked what they were learning about she told me HIV AIDS. I was kind of shocked to just hear that be the first thing, but in Namibia there is a very high rate of HIV cases, it took me back a little though because this girl was only ten years old. She asked if I was staying on the ship for awhile because they were going to go on and have a tour, but I felt soo bad because I had to go right away on my safari. I wish I would have had more time to interact and talk to them. They were a great welcome into Namibia.

Now it was off to Etosha National Park for the safari and the lonnnnnggg drive. We were told it would only be 4 hours, but it ended up being like 7 or 8 hours! Soo longgg. We stopped a couple of times and picked up gifts in the shops and I just slept and read my Obama book. I met some interesting guys while walking in the shopping area that randomly came up to me. He thought I was from China because of my bald head hahaha! I was like no, the United States! He made these little nut carvings with animals on them and he engraved my name in it. I thought that was pretty cool. I had to pay for it though, but it wasn’t that much. It’s weird using the African money though which is the rand because you feel like your spending more than you actually are because $2 is like 20 in rand. So it’s hard to get adjusted to the change in currency since they are different because it makes you not want to spend anything since it seems like more, but it really isn’t. Anyways we finally get to Etosha and the guides on my bus were absolutely amazing! They set up our tents in the rain for us, cooked our dinner, and we didn’t have to do anything, but some of us helped them. A lot of the students that went on the trip in the other buses were just drinking the whole time. I didn’t really get it, I mean we were in Africa, on a Safari, camping out, and all they cared about was drinking. Yeah I definitely do not understand some of the people that are here. I took advantage of the fact that we were away from the city lights and traffic and I went to the water hole on the 2nd night and saw soo many stars. I had never seen soo many in my life. It was amazing, I felt like I was looking at a mirage or a picture because it looked unreal. It was great. I just laid on the bench and took in that moment.

The safari was pretty kool. It takes forever to find the animals because you just drive around for hours trying to find them, but it was nice seeing them un-caged. I saw a lion, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, wildebeests, spring boks, and jackals. No elephants or rhinos. We were out all day though looking for these animals. The top to the mini-bus popped up so we could stand on the seats and take pictures, I didn’t get any good ones though because my camera sucks! Lol, the zoom is broken, but I will steal some from the other kids. Our bus broke down a couple times and we almost were going to have to get another group to come get us, but it eventually started again. The good thing was that there were no dangerous animals around at that time or it would have been scary. It was a good experience though and I’m glad I had the chance to go.

We were only in Namibia for 3 days so that trip took up the entire time, when we got back all I wanted to do was shower and sleep. It was kool camping out though in the tents and meeting new people from the ship. I think I learned a lot from our guides, Gabriel and Paulie the most. They worked really hard for us and made me feel welcome in their country. I think it is kool to go to all these places, but you really get the most of the experience from talking to the people that live there like the little girls that sang and danced for us in the beginning, and the guy that sold me the carved nut. I think those are the moments I will remember most. The actual scenery as well was unforgettable too, the sunset in Etosha was the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen by the water hole, and the stars were brighter than ever, Namibia was definitely a nice port.

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