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Himba Field Immersion (16 April 2015)

Tell me about your family and your way of life?

Uekatara started with pointing to a nearby mountain and explained that he was born in the area in 1955. His oldest brother had an encounter with the Lord as he worked through “catechism” facilitated by the St. John’s mission’s outreach, gave his heart to the Lord and started to evangelize the whole family. His mother could also read in her later years and started to read the Herero bible.

Himba life without cattle is not a Himba life at all and from a young age he looked after the cattle out in the field. He used to just tap on a stone with his staff and the cattle would come out and follow him. He remembers that they used to compete with other families in terms of who could direct a herd of cattle the fastest from one point to another by just tapping on a stone or whistling. They would get to know their animals very well and the animals listened to them. When he became a young adult, he was chosen to look after the cattle with the biggest horns. They would also plant maize, melons in the rainy season.

They never used to get sick in those days and lived on berries, honey, goat & cows milk and ate game a few times per week. There are no more game, honey and berries in the field. These days they struggle with heart disease, diabetes, stomach ache and he thinks it is because they now live on maize pap, beef and also have access to fizzy cool drinks from town.

(Another friend Katuneyada and two of one of his brother’s son’s joined the group)

He then started to point out his older daughters to me and also spoke about the termite problem with their mud huts.

Divider thin

The conversation turned to the Bible translation and I asked the following question:

If I had to tell people back home about The Himba People, their language and your family, what would you want me to tell them?

“Please would you tell them that we need this and soon. Many words / concepts in Himba language are unique and we still grapple with understanding certain Bible things. You must tell them that this would be a great thing for our people, especially the way (oral translation) you are thinking of doing it (also referring to their involvement in it).”

We ended our time by praying for one another. We prayed for rain and access to water, their health and they prayed for us. They also invited us too take pictures and sang two songs for us. It turned out to be a great morning!