Throughout this study program in South Africa and Namibia, I get to experience three homestays. My first one was in Soweto, outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. It was only for a weekend and my family was really boring, so was not that interesting of an experience. My second homestay, however, was last week and it was one of the best weeks I have had since I have been in Namibia!
During this homestay, I lived with the Kadinda family in Katutura, a black township outside of Windhoek. Though the parents had eight children and many grandchildren, I only lived in the house with the parents and their 16 and 18 year old daughters. When I pulled up to the house, I was greeted with so many excited and smiling faces. Even though the house was small, the bathroom was outside, and the family didn’t have much, I really didn’t care. Their joy for my arrival let me know that it was going to be a great week.
Our days were still spent at the house where we normally live because our classes are there as well. So, we would get dropped off in the morning and then picked up by our families after classes. In my case, however, no one from my family could ever pick me up so I got very familiar with the taxi system. I’ve become quite the pro – ready to take on NYC. Anyway, every night when I came home my family would always cook a DELICIOUS meal for me. Chicken, beef, noodles, rice, vegetables, “pop,” everything! I was always served way before everyone else and so I never knew if I should start eating, but eventually I learned that they were always waiting for me to start eating before they got their food!
In the evenings, I would spend time talking to the family about their life, what they enjoy doing, how they like living in Namibia, their and it was really neat to get a broader picture then just what I would be experiencing in my week long stay there. They were so open with me and loved talking to me about America as well. However, also at night the daughters and I would have some dance sessions – probably my favorite part of the week. They were under the impression that white people can’t dance (don’t know where that comes from….). But when we started dancing, they were quite impressed with my repertoire of moves and were awed that I actually could “shake it.” I felt proud to represent my light skinned people. Nonetheless, they laughed at me a lot attempting some of their crazy moves, but loved that I was trying. It was so much fun and miss dancing with them!
My family was really religious and so the majority of our weekend was spent going to some type of church related function. Friday night, I went with my two host sisters to their youth service. It was at GTM (Gospel Tent Ministries) and it was basically a big party under a tent. There was singing, dancing, rapping, clapping, and it was crazy! I was the only white person there so naturally I was called up to the front, had to introduce myself, and give a HALLELUJAH TO JESUS! Everyone cheered. It was one of most awkwardly wonderful things I’d ever felt in my life.
Then Sunday, my last day with the family, was basically spent entirely at church. When they asked me if I wanted to go to church with them, I responded with an eager “yes!” However, I was assuming that church would be an hour, maybe two if I’m lucky. Nope. I got me four hours of Jesus. It was, again, another big party, but it was so great to see how church was enjoyable to these people. They love going because they get to sing and dance and rejoice. The best part about going to church, however, was the fact that I got to wear a traditional Nama dress that my host mother made me. All the ladies from her tribe wear them and I felt so special being apart of that group!
After living with my family for a week, I learned so much from them and was so thankful that they welcomed me as joyfully as they did. It was such an enjoyable week for me and I will definitely never forget this experience. I cannot wait to stay with my next family when we travel to the North!