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Our SAN-DAL workshop in Namibia burnt down!!!!

aleks nilssen

sandal team.jpg

You know sometimes I wake up scared. Scared that I will not be able to impress you, that I will not reach my goals of reconnecting people to what is important.. Sometimes I wake up scared for the future of indigenous people, of starvation and marginalization, or that my family will not be well, happy or healthy, or that human beings will disappoint me or that I will disappoint them.. But I bet we have all felt like that at some point, but still our mind tricks us to thinking that we are the only ones to think in such a way. We think that we have to pretend or we think that we have to hide our struggles, thoughts or feelings to make other people feel better or not to burden them with our shit. Not once does it strike us that we all might be feeling the same way.

The other day I got the message that the cobbler workshop in Namibia burnt down. A shock! First I thought about the lives and livelihoods of all the people that work in that space, the hunger they are facing over xmas, and the lack of funding I have to help them,  then I thought about the orders from people who are waiting for their pair of sandals, and then after all of those thoughts I felt like a failure because a project burnt down.


But it was never a project that burnt down, it was the buildings, money invested, equipment, solar and tools. Not the project. And then I asked myself.. Am I a hammer? Are the cobblers a sanding machine, is their innovation and talent in the equipment?  And the answer is no. But if that building is a reflection on how we treat indigenous people, nature or earth, well then I admit that I’m terrified

But the things are all dead things, things that can be replaced, things that can with some help for ALL OF YOU can be bought again and rebuilt. Small boulders of rocks can make the mountain look bigger, but the mountain is still a mountain. The San people are still the San people, I am still me and the cobblers are still intensely passionate and talented.. And the clients.. well, they will get the xmas gift of learning about patience and that delivery time sometimes exceeds 10 days.

The project did not burn, but all our stuff is gone. I ask you all to help us to get the stuff that can make the mountain bigger, so that the Cobblers can still make their ancient sandals for themselves and the world, and that they can still continue to support their families and communities in the year to come. And to be able to do that they will need a building, and they will need new equipment and solar. Will you help us?

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