When I applied for a position with an International Organizations in the 1990’s, I applied for a job vacancy in the South of Namibia. I wanted to help disabled children and children with learning abilities to develop their potential.
I had grown up and been living in Namibia for several years. I spoke three of the local languages, Africans and English as well. I was very young then, but I thought I had what it takes to assist at least some of the Namibian population to have a better life. I definitely had passion and a deep love for the African continent. A very deep love. Still today I do not want to live in any other place.
I was invited for a job interview in Berlin, Germany. I did well and was asked if I would go to Tanzania instead. I said yes, wondering why, and thinking I have to speak to my boyfriend first. He never wanted leave Europe, where I was living since a year and a half. But I did. I was home-sick.
I said yes, when asked. After three days of being assessed by the Development and Donor Organization I was judged suitable and capable for work in Africa. I went home in an overnight train. Riding the whole night, while I heard the noise the wheels made on rails, I thought: Will I like Tanzania ? Will he ? I did not sleep. He bought a map for Tanzania when I was home with him.
Two days later I got a job offer for Nara, in Mali. Nara is in the Sahel. French is spoken. My French was mediocre at the time. I was a child of the South of Africa. But I was home-sick and I said yes again to Nara.
I was told later by some of the elders of Nara: Nara comes from Noara and is an Arab name. There goes the saying that the first woman ever to settle in that region, was called Noara. A woman of beauty and strength. A stubborn woman. The village Nara was named after her. Nobody knows if this is really true. It is just a saying.
And Nara means THE FIRE as well. Nara is the fire and the heat of the Sahel.