We really had a jam packed first day in Namibia! We experienced a driving tour of two townships, a tour of Hero’s Acres (national monument), a Luther alumni reception (My first! Woohoo!), a visit to Penduka, and a couple of hours walking around downtown. Now I could write many things about all those experiences, but bed is calling to me for some sleep before another wonderful day tomorrow. Please know that there were many great moments today, and each person traveling probably cherishes something different. All in all…solid day! Here’s a moment I want to share with you.
Around 11:00am our bus rolled into Penduka, which is an organization that empowers women with some type of disadvantage (either physically, economically, or both) to provide for themselves through embroidery and bead making. Penduka is located on the outskirts of the Katatura township, and its name means to "wake up". The women that work at Penduka make and sell gorgeous clothes, bed linens, table clothes and more with their traditional embroidery techniques. They also create exquisite jewelry with beads they make from recycled glass. The work that Penduka is doing is truly remarkable, and I’d encourage you to check out their website.
I had visited Penduka on my first trip to Namibia back in 2010, and I remembered how impressed I was with the Namibian women I had met. I was so happy to know that we were going back to not only see how they have grown, but also to support them once again in the fine work that they do.
Our guide for the day was Kristafina, and she really was a gem. She showed us around the entire compound, and demonstrated all of the traditional techniques the Namibian women use when making their products. She was such a joyous woman, and it was obvious she has great passion for the work she is doing.
It was on our tour with Kristafina that a truly wonderful moment occurred. One of our first stops brought us to a station where a woman named Victoria was working on setting a tablecloth. She was using some type of glue to create a stunning design before painting. As our group finished seeing Victoria’s demonstration and moved on to another station Ann stayed behind to chat with Victoria. As their conversation went on Ann made the comment that she visited Penduka before, and she was so happy to be back with them. After a moment of pause and with tears in her eyes, Victoria asked, “So you haven’t forgotten us?”
No Victoria, we certainly haven’t.