We all have our own individual takes on how reality has changed since we became aware of Covid-19, wherever we are in the world. The first commercial flight in many weeks arrived in Windhoek a few days ago and with it, one assumes, the first overseas mail in a long while. My very out-of-date ‘New Yorker’ from earlier this year duly arrived in my post box and it reads, honestly, like a communication from another planet. Even those few short months ago, the pandemic was still a semi-abstract concept for people here in Namibia. In the city where it’s published, the writers and photographers covering the unfolding crisis for the magazine back in May were clearly aware that, to use that overworked word, they were dealing with an unprecedented catastrophe and yet, with the gift of hindsight, their words and images seem – now – to be wholly inadequate to the task of warning what might still be to come.
But over the past few weeks, as the infection rate has risen here at home and the government has responded with what seems to me to be pragmatic, consistent and effective leadership, it’s also been possible to see how – to use another cliche – the worst of times has brought out the best in people. And I’ve been truly humbled by the numbers of perfect strangers reaching out to the ‘Sew Good’ project specifically, and local producers and traders more generally, in an effort to assist in ways that uplift the most hard-hit and impoverished communities and forge connections that will endure and bolster the circular economy – whereby goods are exchanged and repurposed, rather than discarded and replaced anew – after the dark days are a receding memory.
In the ‘All Trousers’ section of this blog you will soon find the details of the businesses that have generously supplied us with donated fabric and other resources so that the craftswomen can continue to keep creating the bags and other items that help to support their families. However, I couldn’t resist including here a photo of the FIVE big boxes of large hessian coffee sacks delivered to town from the coast, for free, courtesy of Two Beards Coffee and Formula Couriers (https://www.facebook.com/twobeardscoffeeroasters/ and https://www.formulacourier.com/). Their selfless determination to see us supplied with a new type of material for upcycling so that we can add to the range of products we offer is just one example of the generosity flowing freely between Namibians right across country.