August 15, 2003 - The Nawa News: Marianne is in The Peace Corps in Namibia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Namibia: Peace Corps Namibia : The Peace Corps in Namibia: August 15, 2003 - The Nawa News: Marianne is in The Peace Corps in Namibia

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, August 15, 2003 - 9:57 am: Edit Post

Marianne is in The Peace Corps in Namibia

Marianne is in The Peace Corps in Namibia

Imagine all the people

By Amy Ann Smego

She called it the magic tree - this is where we were going in the heat of the Saturday sun, high and overhead. There were no shadows to follow us, just the one dog that lived at the homestead where the children were working in the field, mahango just planted.

It was as magic as she had described. Under her branches a wide, cool shade and her trunk a maze of wood where lizards with turquoise heads and long, green bodies crept into crevices and wood shoots where the wood may have darkened. Watching the Owambo women walk with their woven baskets on top on their heads, carrying guava fruit and the one woman carrying a jerry can of water. We climbed into the tree’s long arms and sat on opposite sides.

"Why are there not more trees as magic as this one?" I wondered out loud. "Or really for that matter in Owamboland." Marianne finished my thought. "The further back into the bush you go the more trees there are. You will see tomorrow. This, my friend, is desertification." She placed her hands outward as a kind of orator for the land.

"This tree must be known. I mean it is so distinctive and beautiful. There is a reason why they left this tree and others. They must have stories." "They do - all the Kukus will tell you how to get somewhere by using these tree as indicators. Names too. This tree certainly has a name."

Marianne is in The Peace Corps. "In The Corps" she’ll say in a manly voice jabbing one elbow back between her ribs. She lit a cigarette and began talking about how we must teach them to plant more trees. She rambled on about development, West African environment problems, the legacy of language, South African tribal designs and other things she seemed to be quite knowledgeable about.

Within the Peace Corps there seems to be a lot of rambling about development, how you are making your community more self-sufficient, how are you teaching them to better manage their money, their time and their lives.

"No, no, no," one Peace Corps volunteer rambled on a few years past. "We raise the ceiling on the huts so when we cook the whole hut does not fill up with smoke and fill our lungs - it is a bad way to live," he assured them. So they did as he suggested and raised the roof and oh, it was wonderful, there was no more smoke and there was more air to breathe. What there also was, were more mosquitoes - the mosquitoes that carry malaria. Two months later all the villagers who had raised their roof died of malaria. What I realized as a volunteer is that I am not here to advise or change or make things better - this not my job, this is the people’s job. THIS is development. I am here to teach, to be myself - not to make a mark, but to leave no trace. This is not my land. These are not my people, though this is our earth and we are all sisters and brothers. I must first learn from them their ways of living, and then I can teach what I know and together we will devise a better way to live together on earth

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Story Source: The Nawa News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Namibia



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