Three Month Mission Trip in Namibia Gives Student Memories for a Lifetime
Written by Kendell Combs, Junior, Agribusiness Management & Agricultural Communication
Lily Armour (Junior; Agribusiness Management; Kokomo, IN) spent three months in Namibia on a mission trip through an organization known as Experience Mission alongside nine other college students from all over the United States. Through the duration of the trip, Lily’s team spent their days traveling all over the country to multiple communities and cities.
Namibia is in southwest Africa, being one of the more prosperous countries there, and it was the first stop of their trip. The group lived in a hostel while working with a pre-school and church ministry located in the middle of the desert on a small goat and cattle farm. They next traveled to a highly populated city, Okahandja, where they spent time in low-income townships and schools. This part of their trip gave Lily an opportunity to build relationships with the children and families within the community. Their final destination took place in the Namib desert with a tribe known as the Topnaar people. They learned the Topnaar people’s way of life and culture and worked alongside them in their projects. Lily’s group slept in tents during the entire month in the desert. Every morning, they awoke to the rooster crow and every night they fell asleep to the sound of goats right next their tents.
Most of Lily’s days were spent fetching water, teaching in the pre-school, cooking in the kitchen, herding the goats, or helping with other projects the community partners were currently working on. “It was an incredibly humbling experience that taught me many lessons about how life should be lived – authentically, fully, and freely.” Their main purpose as a team there wasn’t to come and leave a tangible lasting impact. Instead, they wanted to spend their time immersing themselves in the life and culture there. They invested time building connections with people they encountered. “I created many wonderful bonds with the people in Namibia and leaving them behind was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done!”
In their free time, the group climbed sand dunes and mountains, and explored amazing cities like Swakopmund, which was similar to a little Germany. Going on a safari in a game park known as Erindi, where they saw lions, giraffes, hippos, alligators, and many other animals that are native to Namibia was a memorable event of Lily’s mission trip. Lily said that her favorite part of Namibia was the night sky. “I have never seen a more beautiful array of stars in my entire life – you could clearly see the entire Milky way galaxy!”
Lily truly believes that her worldly perspective has completely changed since visiting Namibia. From this experience, Lily realizes that Namibia is working hard to fight the battle against segregation and poverty and that the people there are much happier with the things that they have. “I learned that poverty is not a lifestyle, but a mindset.” She was able to attend this trip because of her incredible support system she has: her family, friends, and churches. Those people were able to financially and emotionally support her through her life-changing experience. “I am forever grateful for these people and the love and support that have shown me. I am also thankful for the College of Agriculture, that has continued to fuel my passion for people and helping the world.” Going to Namibia was an incredible experience for Lily and she knows she will always hold those memories close to her heart.