This blue marble

– and yet it spins

The other side of town

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walvisbay-6On the way to Swakopmund I finally saw how the black community of Walvis Bay live: in an endless grid of houses and sand roads, on the outskirts of town, practically in the desert. There are no watered lawns, paved roads, and flowerbeds here. Most of the houses are built by the government and given to each family, especially after Namibia became independent in 1990. They seem sturdy and alright; and my perception is that most people in Walvis Bay have work and a decent standard of living.

My Kenyan friend says that many African people don’t have furniture because they do not perceive a need for interior decor. When everybody has sat on the floor for centuries, perhaps millennia, why should one need furniture? Why should one need a table to place a lamp on, when one can hang a handheld torch from a hook on the wall? Our Western need for beauty and order is different from that of many African people. It does not mean they do not have a need for beauty and order; it is simply differently defined.

Still, compared to Kenya I feel like I live in a holiday resort. No goats inside during the day or monkeys eating bananas in the kitchen at night. Not even centipedes or spiders. And the house alarm is always on.walvisbay-4(Walvis Bay, Namibia; July 2017)

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