Meeting the Himbas

Trip Start Jan 19, 2009
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Namibia  , Kaokoland,
Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Himba people still live a very traditional life, away from the excitements (!) of modern society...
We have been lucky to spend a day in one of their villages, talking with them and being introduced to their traditions. 
 
The women are fascinating. One noticeable thing about the Himba women, is that they never use water for their toilet. They use a mixture of butter and clay to rub their bodies, that gives them this red colour. 
Their hair is also rubbed with this mixture and hair extensions, which create those amazing red "dreadlocks".
As a deodorant, they burn herbs in a pot and move it around their body (all corners!). We have been witnessing this woman toilet, I still wonder how this is possible...
Also, all their jewels and ornaments have a meaning: married, single, widow, how many children... Very cool!
 
One of the woman of the tribe was dressed completely differently from the others: long flower dress with long sleeves, hat with horns (representing the cattle horns).  I am told she is from the Herero tribe, and married a Himba man. So she lives among the Himbas, but keeps her own way of dressing and living ! Very practically, I also wonder how she manages to bear that dress when it is boiling hot outside!
 
Most of the children are not going to school, they stay in the village with their mums, while the men take care of the cattle in the bush around. 
They are proud but friendly people. Our guide explained that they are not so much affected by HIV/Aids as they are not mixing with the other tribes, and not going so much in town...

I could have stayed another day there... I was told I would have had to undress completely and adopt their toilet style...why not for one day... not sure for longer ! 
But it's time to move on...
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