Saturday, September 23, 2006

From Familiar Namibia to Unknown, Icy Arctic Ground

Sharing stories gives San new tools for life in isolation

We walk carefully towards the inviting lávvu. The traditional Sámi tent is a couple of hundred meters down the icy road. Hand in hand we both hope we will not fall.

Emma Gamros from Namibia is placing her feet on snow for the first time. Her nervous laughter fills the cold Nordic air, wary of a fall. Since she arrived in Karasjok she has experienced how it is to be fully included in a group of like minded people.

"I feel very fortunate to belong to the San community. I just wish other Namibians could respect us as an integral part of the community", Emma declares.
"In Namibia the San people are not accepted. Many Namibian communities don’t even recognize us as proper human beings," rues Emma.

She relates how at many levels, the San people don’t have anything. They struggle to get water, electricity, food and more importantly land to live on in their customary way. In the indigenous conference in Karasjok Emma has yet to meet someone who lives under similar conditions. The deprivation the San people suffer from doesn’t seem to have an equivalence.

Emma find that the stories she has heard from her brothers and sisters have taught her how better to communicate the issues of Namibia’s San people who are said to be one of the oldest people on earth. "The togetherness, warmth and love arms us with new tools to face the struggle as indigenous people in Namibia."

When she goes home Emma wants to continue the fight for her people. There are great challenges: illiteracy, poverty and the alarming prevalence of street children in her town, Gobabis. Emma calls for the Church to get involved and to give the San people a voice.

De sa Namibie familière au cercle arctique glacial et inconnu

Ses pas sont incertains sur le chemin couvert de cette neige qu'elle découvre pour la première fois. Mais elle a aussi découvert ici la joie de faire partie d'un groupe de personnes partageant les mêmes idées. "Je me sens très privilégiée de faire partie du peuple San, j'aimerais juste que les autres Namibiens nous considère comme une part intégrale de la communauté. Certaines communautés Namibiennes ne nous considèrent même pas comme des êtres humains."

Dès son retour en Namibie, Emma souhaite continuer à se battre pour sa communauté qui manque de tellement de choses. Elle repart pleine d'encouragements à la suite de cette conférence : "Etre ensemble, avec chaleur et amour nous arme avec de nouveaux outils pour lutter en tant que peuple indigène en Namibie."


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