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Visiting my Himba “Family” during a drought

I recently returned from Namibia where I had the blessing of meeting a group of Himba people I have almost come to regard as “family” now. They live in a remote valley very close to the border of Namibia and Angola. It is always a wonder to be back in their world. I cry every time I leave

Over the time I have been visiting these people I have seen them weathering some very harsh conditions but none so severe as the drought they are currently living through. It is one of the worst droughts in Namibia’s recent history.

Feeling a bit internally conflicted about visiting them during this time (my trips are planned two years in advance with no knowledge of droughts – after all I don’t have a crystal ball) the consolation I had came through significant donations of food, supplies and topical medicines to families really struggling with their existence.

Below are some photos of the people I know, how I’ve captured them in happier times and how they were recently. Their strength lies in their smiles and hopes. Their strength is bolstered by their headmen who are guiding their people through livestock loss, illness, lack of food and water.

Over my two village visits a few weeks ago, I was pleased to see headman Uapenga’s family doing reasonably well. His wife, Kovipiriko, recognised me instantly. She still has a wry smile and although her natural expression is frowning, I always love it when she is smiling.

Kovipiriko when I met her back in 2016
And a few weeks ago. She is such a lovely person and a great mum!
One of Kovipiriko’s daughters back in 2016 when I first met her.

She has now married…..
And is the mother of Uapenga’s newest grandchild!

Spending time with Uapenga’s daughter and her new baby was this girl, whose name I didn’t catch sadly.
I first met this lady and we shared a joke about how many children we both have. It was 5. Unlike me, however, she has now had her 6th child – always a blessing in Himba families.

Puzusurira. She was one of the first Himba girls I ever met in this area.

I learned that, due to health reasons, Puzusurira had switched from Himba to Herero. She was quite amused when I asked her if I could fly my drone above the well as she fetched water for her goats with her family.

This amazing girl….
Had a tiny baby when I last saw her…
So I was very happy to see she was pregnant with another child when I saw her a couple of weeks ago.
Beautiful Tjiintje when I met her at the well two years ago…
She has since had a little baby, who is now 9 months old!

Here are some other favourite shots from my recent trip and, as always, I will take my prints back to my Himba “family” when I next visit.

Himba Handhold
Himba women are stunning, even from behind.
This lady had us both in stitches. Not only could she lift heavy buckets of water without a flinch, when she asked me to try, I did, I struggled and then she laughed at my feeble attempts to be a ‘white Himba’
Himba babies grow up surrounded by so much beauty
Portrait of a young Himba boy and his puppy
Despite the drought it was good to see a few girls ‘expecting’
A beautiful elderly Himba woman
Portrait of a young Zemba girl who was selling bracelets in Kamanjab
Ngombe with her beautiful little boy in Palmwag
Himba children playing outside their hut in remote Kaokoland

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