A 740km petition run from Mayana to Windhoek, in Namibia. The run would happen over the course of three days, where we would each run 20km per day, in a relay formation. However, no German fresh-aired run could have prepared me for the trip that was ahead…
The whole trip lasted two weeks, and they were two of the most amazing weeks of my life. We left for Namibia during the Easter Holidays, after months of anticipation and excitement. Monika drove us for 9 hours from Windhoek, a large city, to Mayana, a small, undeveloped, but beautiful village in the northern Kavango region. It was a drive that took us back through generations in time. But this is what our run was for: a petition for better living standards (thanks to access to clean water, electricity, better education, and business development, just to mention a few). Our demands were clear and simple. We wanted our petition to be heard. The running itself went without problems (other than a few blisters and sore legs), thanks to plenty of training and helpful support from Frau Handwerker. The heat was no problem for the runners from the village, however, me and three others from the german team struggled through the first couple of training sessions. At 3pm on the third day, we all arrived in Windhoek. It was the Mayana runners’ first time in their capital, so they were very excited to be in such a big city.
On our return back to Mayana, we called a village meeting to tell them our story and to keep everyone up to date on exactly what had happened. Mostly everyone was supportive. Rumours had been going around that we had been arrested and were in prison so some were very surprised to see us back so soon! This was by far the biggest thing to have happened to the village, so we were treated very well. We were treated to a traditional dance, lead by the Mayana dancing group, as a way to thank us for the work that we had put in to improve the village.
Throughout my trip, I met countless amazing people and made some lifelong friends. They taught me many things (from making good fires to living a life with only the things that matter to you), and I believe that we taught them a lot too. My goal from the start was to be able to make a change in the village, and now that the petition was delivered and news of which is spreading around the country, I believe that big changes are just around the corner for Mayana.
Thomas, Grade 11.