The title may seem slightly odd. The harsh, hot, dry desert… and we want to call it nurturing? It may seem crazy, but we have not lost our minds.
Some may have read the book “Wennes Krieg gibt, gehenwir in die Wüste” or seen the film adaptation, The Sheltering Desert. For those of you who haven’t, here is a quick pro quo.
In the early 1900’s, with the outbreak of the Second World War, two geologists ventured into the Namib Desert. Henno Martin and Hermann Korn avoided arrest in, then South West Africa, by fleeing into the unknown desert landscape. Enabling their passive position on the war.
These two men and their pooch, Otto, lived in the Namib for two-and-a-half-years. While both men were familiar with the desert world, living in it would be very different to studying it. Hunting game for sustenance and spending the evenings listening to a radio. Said radio would become their only connection to the world at war. These men faced dire circumstances both physically and mentally. Yet they survived.
Their experience in the desert allows for awe of the Khoi-San, who lived nomadically by nature. Finding ways to survive no matter where they were.
Unfortunately Martin and Korn’s story does not maintain nomadic effect. When they finally emerged from the desert, they were taken into custody for draft evasion.
While these men did find it difficult to survive at times. And while the emotional and mental drain that joined their physical hardships was unavoidable… many lessons can be learned from their story.
A harsh desert does not need to be hostile. And when you know where to look, you will always find nourishment.
If you have any information on the Sheltering Desert or personal experiences, we invite you to share them in the comment section below.
Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.