On my recent travels in north west Namibia to plan a new tour to the Skeleton Coast, I came across a remarkable young women, Suoma, who warmly welcomed us at the Lodge she manages.
Full of enthusiasm, proud of her job, speaking impeccable English and a lovely smile, Suoma told me of her childhood and schooltime. Her family come from the north and are from the Ovango tribe. As a child she helped her mother carry water from the river but now they have running water supplies.
For her education, Suoma got up at 3am to walk to school with a group of children from her village. Twenty five kilometres was the distance they covered on foot to arrive on time for lessons. They all returned home after school – another 25 kilometres. She did this from 7 to 15 years. Two years followed for her higher certificate when she stayed in a hostel during the week. Tourism and hospitality training set Suoma on the road to her present career.
I wish her much luck and hope to return to the Lodge near Etosha National Park, a conservation area of 22,270 square kilometres teeming with wildlife.