Afro-haired, Barefoot, Yoga Posing Hydrogeologist
Winnie Nansunga Kambinda, Hydrologist and Yoga enthusiast.
Her fondest childhood memory, is growing up in a small village in Katima Mulilo.
“Playing with my cousins in the middle of our village (fa patelo) till dark! There was always a game or something happening. My family is now fragmented and I feel a sense of loss for the generation of my family that is growing up now as that close family bond has been lost.”
As a Hydrogeologist, she is one of a few black females in the occupation. On many occasions she finds herself the only female on site. As with any male dominated industry, breaking stereotypes is one of the biggest challenges.
“I still get asked what my boyfriend says about my job or why I didn’t opt for an office job instead. One incident that stands out was when I was working in the Kunene region. One of the village elders realizing I’m the only female, asked me which of the men’s tent am I sleeping in. To which I responded that I have my own tent. He then said, it is not allowed for women to sleep by themselves”.
She has had to earn her respect in this industry, as being a female you are seen as fragile and unable to do all the heavy duty jobs.
“When we go into the field I have to constantly prove myself. It was hard at first for them to accept instructions from me. I had to fight to be accepted and be seen as an equal.”
On what she loves most about her job she say,
“I love that I work in the outdoors. Secondly, As Namibia is an arid country, in many places people walk for kilometers for water. I love being able to drill a borehole and bring the water to them, to make their lives a little easier, it makes me feel good. That I have contributed to the bettering a community.”
Getting to Know Winnie.
What do you love about Yoga?
It is very calming. It helps me align with my mind and body. It allows me to listen to my body. It gives me flexibility. I love that i can do it when I’m on the field, in the outdoors.
When do you feel most like yourself?
When I wear my hair in its natural form or when I do something that’s labeled “crazy” because I choose to live outside what we were conditioned to at times re-affirms being myself; like walking barefooted even in public places or when I express love and desire for sex as a woman without feeling shame or my choice of clothing that seems provocative in some circles. Am all for pocking at “taboo” things in a way that gets people in my sphere to realize that we can live a different life.
What would enough look like to you?
Enough would be me working as a hydrogeologist for half a year while traveling to yoga and hiking retreats, pursuing my passion for preservation of culture, food and plants during the other half of the year!