A couple of things first:
- Namibia is approx the same size as BC without Vancouver Island
- Population 2.6 million, 50% Ovambo tribe, 43% numerous others, 7% white
- Dry. Nearly all the water supply is (mostly replenishing) groundwater. The north has one of the world’s largest sub-aquifers
- German colonial rule from 1880s to 1920s, then Afrikaner until 1990, stable democracy since independence from SA in 1990
- Economy is minerals, farming, tourism
We left the Orange river with the promise it would be weeks before we saw water again.
We gas up at the Canyon Roadhouse. Very nice. As I write this blog, it turns out to have been the nicest one I’ve seen here so far. An enormous bar. I should have stayed here instead of the large one last night
Into our first town, Bethanie, pop 300. The small hotel here is the oldest structure in Namibia, they claim. A check on wiki more-or-less confirms this. Paved in town to reduce the dust. It has a general store and a post office, where I took the opportunity to buy a ton of credit for the cell carrier, MTC, which I converted to data, since wifi isn’t happening out here.
It was a short day and the owner (of all the buildings), an Afrikaner, and I have a long chat. I have questions.
Answers (the first from wiki)
- Helmeringhausen was founded as a farm by a member of the Schutztruppe, the colonial armed force of Imperial Germany back in the 1890’s.
- It’s big. 22,000 hectares
- Power is from solar, water from a well 4 kilometres away.
- The owner claims this recent well was found by divining. He said the diviner uses anything that feels right, a forked branch, a metal wire, or even a bottle of water. Obviously, in my mind I’m calling huge bullshit on this. He says, to my gentle probe, no diviner, no water.
I resolve to find out more about this. Firstly, the subject is called Dowsing. Here’s the dowsing wiki. Here’s a sensible looking diviner, from web
What BS, I think, after some web research, although some authorities hedge. But over the next few days I decide to find out about the broader subject a bit more, in a country completely dependent on finding groundwater. More 2 posts from now.