I moved to Windhoek
I turned out to be here on the work of a husband – he received an offer to work for a while in Namibia. We were not married then, did not know what time you need to move, and vaguely imagined what is there in distant and unexplored Africa. I moved to my husband only after prolonged and painful relationships at a distance of a year and a half, with rare meetings every few months. Moving was not originally planned – I arrived in Namibia in November 2017 with a regular tourist suitcase and plans to stay together with my husband for three months "on vacation" and return home, but everything ultimately replayed a bit.
Sometimes I do not believe that I live in Africa, on the edge of light. Namibia – definitely the most exotic place of my stay. Where else can you bother with marine quotes, feed pelicans, meet antelope on the golf course and other? Is there still in the world a more wild, free, endless, powerful and at the same time civilized? In Namibia, time stopped – you and the world.
I already had experience to be my among strangers. I studied in Italy and Scotland, I have a lot of familiar foreigners from different parts of the planet. Friends sometimes call me a cosmopolitan, and I sometimes catch myself thinking that the international situation became even a greater comfort zone than the absence of such.
In all year and a half, while my husband worked in Namibia, I came to him on vacation, so we can say that I am an African tourist with experience. On the Russian border, I was always intensely asked what I am going to do in Windhuke, and smiled at the Namibian border and put a stamp on permission to enter. I got acquainted with the country gradually, and at the time of the decision on the temporary movement I had no less than four entry visas in the passport.
Each country has to get used to everything new and unusual in everyday life: food, routine of the day, clothes and t.D. – This is a question of several weeks. There are features to which adapting not so easy. In Namibia, I ran into two main difficulties.
The first is transport. At first I had no car, and my life because of this turned into a nightmare. Public transport here is not developed. Buses marched slim near in the morning and in the evening from the coature (district where the black population lives) and back, but in no way around the city, and the taxi more resemble our minibuses (absolutely normal phenomenon – 7 unfamiliar people in the car). Walking through the city is also not accepted – you can take a walk with a dog in your area, but not more.
First time without your car, I was very dependent on the transport of my husband (and he depended on the employment schedule). Any normal life in such conditions of speech to be and could not. But with the advent of the car, everything quickly improved, although I had to get used to the right-sided movement, but it was already trivia.
Second is communication. Windhoek is a friendly city, and communication in it is very informal (especially after such a megapolis, like Moscow). In the cafe with you can safely speak unfamiliar people, the waiters often know what your name is, and in sports you can wander and ask, where you took such cool leggings (almost an incredible situation on any evening workout in Moscow). Nevertheless, each ethnic group is sufficient here. Representatives of indigenous ethnicities prefer to spend time in their circle, Afrikaners (descendants of the colonists) are preparing Braai (south African kebab) at the veranda with other Africaers, the Germans surround themselves with the Germans, and, of course, each group has its own language of communication along with each group official English (stitching, Afrikaans, German, etc.).
In general, it turns out that your ethnic group / subethnos or your tribe determines the circle of communication. I and my husband’s Russian, in any local ethnic group we are not entering. The first time there was a feeling as if I was looking at Life in Windhuk solely on the part. Over time, friends and familiar among different groups of the population appeared, now there is no such problem.
In general, I do not really miss the house, as I know that we will come back soon. On the contrary, I try to integrate the maximum in Namibian life. Of course, I miss the family and friends, if possible, take a walk around the city at night or go to the museum to a popular and interesting exhibition. And I still lack large decorative cosmetics stores – it turned out that in Namibia a whole problem to find a blue mascara or a tone cream of a suitable shade.
Advantages and disadvantages
Unconditional plus accommodation in Namibia – climate. Except for serious weather drops in winter (from -3 at night to + 20 day), more and complain not for what. Well, maybe still on very dry air – you have to use very fat cream and a supervising shampoo, as well as drink plenty of water. The sun shines almost all year round, although the locals are not very happy. Everyone has long been waiting for the rainy season (there was no time for several years) so that the rivers not filled out again, and the animals did not die from thirst.
Another plus is very tasty food. Here is a large selection of products for every taste: in supermarkets you can find something overseas and interesting (pasta misso, black spaghetti, Madagascar vanilla, etc.), and excellent local fish, chicken, and for lovers of meat Namibia at all paradise (here is an excellent beef, lamb, a large selection of fresh wild meat). However, many fruits and vegetables are sold for the season. Literally a few months ago everything was in mango, and now they are not found – only in banks. And so in all. On the other hand, for the sake of tasty and cheap mango, you can wait.
As in any other small town, there are not so many entertainment in Windhuke: only two cinemas with a very limited choice of films, not a single normal picture gallery, and theatrical performances and ballet are very far from the Russian format. However, if desired, you can find something: Musical concerts are popular, various festivals and fairs are held, and you can always leave the city in nature. I’m not boring.
One more minus – safety. Of course, statistics are not so bad, as in South Africa and many other countries of the continent, but there are here their checked rules: for example, not to walk when it is dark. At the same time, it is very upset that one of the most vulnerable places in the city is your home, if it is not in a closed settlement. Therefore, many local residents establish super-modern alarms and even keep the weapons at home just in case. On the other hand, crimes are accomplished everywhere in the world, and no one is insured anywhere from violence.
In terms of life, I would say that prices in Namibia are comparable to Moscow. Some prices are surprised: dear private medicine (a doctor’s reception of ± 6 thousand rubles, if you do not have insurance), dear real estate (the house in a normal area costs from 25 million rubles, the apartment is from 10 million rubles, a house in the poorest area – from 4 million rubles and t.D.). As in Moscow, it is very comfortable to live here with a certain delta, but much becomes inaccessible with a small salary.
Namibia is one of the least populated countries of the world, and you notice right away. There are no traffic jams, queues in stores, jams in bars and concerts. Many believe that in Africa a lot of garbage and dirt (many stereotypes are connected with Africa), but in Namibia in German pure.
Namibia is not for those who love lights of megacities and life 24/7, – here is a very measured lifestyle. Completely wake up at 6 in the morning, and go to bed at 9 pm. There are not a lot of young people here – many are leaving to study in South Africa and then remain there because of the best career opportunities.
Many are also surprised at how peacefully there are different groups of the population. The atmosphere in Namibia is the most friendly and welcoming, I do not notice any serious tension between dark-skinned white-colored.
From social problems – unemployment, poverty, AIDS … can be listed for a long time. Nevertheless, with a special desire, you can generally not see this – depends exclusively from you. And is there no social problems in Russia?
The answer was found by himself, because there is no wonder they are often advised to let go of the situation. At some point I received an offer to become a social coordinator in the International Women’s NGO and at the same time enter the Committee of this organization. It seemed to me very interesting, because this is an excellent opportunity to learn the country from the inside. Many foreigners pay money themselves to come volunteers in Africa and get such an experience. Over time, I started participating in other charitable initiatives, for example, I take part in the program to promote the culture of reading among Namibian children. All this is a very charging experience.
In addition to volunteering, I work remotely. Mostly this translations, but earnings and employment of this kind are very inconstant.I found new hobbies for myself – the study of Afrikaans, Pilates, Cooking and T.D. It was in Namibia that I ceased to be afraid of my own (maybe sometimes weird) hobbies. At some point I loved to cook – I can invent in my head tastes for hours, read all sorts of books on this topic, infinitely watch video and t.D. Then I started photographing what I was preparing, and I began to like the result. Then I decided that I had enough free time to send a fod blog for myself and friends. Then the idea turned into a blog about food & Africa & Traveling Sondiwoord.
Of course, all this is a kind of downshifting. I plan to return to the office to return to Moscow, but while I enjoy life in Slow format and I do not regret.
The main thing
Africa teaches me easier to treat life and its difficulties, not to pay attention to stereotypes, live in the moment. A simple sunset meeting turned into a ritual, and the night sky, destroyed by a billion stars, still seems fabulously exciting. Some African habits, such as ice now put in a glass only.
I sincerely loved Namibia with all its minuses and pros and sure that on returning to the homeland I would be very bored.
Heart of Africa Pena Full and Druel,
And I know that if we see sometimes
Dreams who do not know how to name,
This wind brings them, Africa, your!
Top places Namibia
- Sossusvlei – the most famous red dunes.
- Fish River Canyon – the largest canyon of Africa.
- Kolmanskop – Ghost City in the middle of the desert.
- Swakopmund – Resort on the Atlantic Ocean Coast.
- Etosha National Park – Natural Reserve.
I have a blog you can find a traveler calendar in Namibia – it’s briefly written when it’s better to come to the country and why.