Loving My Neighbor

As I am still processing the past month, one women continues to come in to mind; her name is Mukakuimbara. Mukakuimbara was our neighbor and my good friend for the two weeks we were in Swartbooisdrift.

On our first day going out, we passed Mukakuimbara’s home on our way to the kraal. We greeted her and her husband and she asked us how we liked Namibia so far. I told her that it was beautiful and I wanted to stay. She laughed at my big smile and played with my hair, asking me if I would do it like the Himba women. She was so loving and welcoming, and I was just so overjoyed to finally begin building relationships with people in the community. We said goodbye and continued on our way to the crawl to meet the headman there.
After the headman gave us his blessing and protection in the community, we headed back up the hill to our campsite. As we passed Mukakuimbara’s house, I waved from a far. She began calling me over, telling me she had a gift for me (in Hererro). She walked up to me holding a beautifully hand-made necklace. She tied it around my neck and I tried to find the words to thank her. I was on cloud nine. She called me her daughter and told me I could visit whenever she was home.

After that first night I would visit Mukakuimbara before or after dinner some nights with Bende, Kaete, and Maurisio (our translators). We would sit around the fire outside her home and she would tell me about her day fishing or her trip in to town. She would ask if I had a boyfriend or husband and then tell me there would be a lucky guy one day. She would tell me about her struggles getting her government assistance so she could feed her granddaughter and her husband. She would always tell me I was beautiful and tell me I was her daughter. Despite a language barrier overcome by the help of Bende, Mukakuimbara was my good friend.
On the last night, I wrote my friend a letter, thanking her for her kindness and love towards me. I read it to her in Hererro and we were able to laugh and hug one last time.

God tells us to love our neighbor like we love ourselves, and fulfilling this commandment in the most literal sense was just so much fun. Mukakuimbara showed me that love really is a universal language. I saw it in her, and she saw it in me.

I pray that one day I will be able to visit my friend and tell her how God used her in my life. Before this trip I struggled with so many insecurities from believing I was beautiful to believing I was likable. Through my relationship with Mukakuimbara, God reaffirmed these things in my heart. She loved me for who I was even though she didn’t understand most of what I said. She encouraged me by telling me how friendly I was, and how beautiful I was inside and out.

I will never forget my neighbor and what her relationship meant to me. She will forever be in my prayers and exactly.  God knows exactly what we need to hear, our ears and hearts just need to be open to whoever he uses.