Over the past year we have learned a lot about the San mostly from reading on the internet. We have read in many places the issue of alcoholism among the San. One article even said that children as young as 12 were addicted to alcohol. We knew one can’t believe everything on the internet. There have been sad pictures like the ones below.
We now have some first hand accounts of the alcohol problem.
Our team leaders, who are Namibians, have recently moved into Tsumkwe. In an email they shared, “We are going through culture shock. Last night, around 5:00pm, we went to around Shebeens (illegal liquor shops) looking for vegetables. The Shebeens sell a number of items, e.g. groceries, toiletries, and needless to mention beer. As we went through the Shebeens we saw a number of San people who were heavily intoxicated. This evening, one of our closest neighbours came home drunk. He was not even able to greet us.”
Another account came from a young gentleman who help build our team leader’s home. He shared on his blog, “When we first pulled into Tsumkwe the first thing that came to mind was that the village had a very Wild West feeling to it. “Downtown” Tsumkwe was literally just a 4-way intersection with the Tsumkwe General Dealer on the corner (We later dubbed it TGD). We pulled into TGD to get gas and that was when I became a little concerned. They say first impressions can tell a lot. Well my first impression of Tsumkwe was seeing two small older ladies completely fist out dunk fighting while a third lady, just as drunk was jumping in the middle to stop them, but all in vain. So as you can see, my first impression was that this place was going to be full of people who were going to need a lot of help.” You can read his full blog post.
The issue of alcoholism among the San has really burdened my heart. I pray for the San daily and hope some of you are too. It seems all is lost without HOPE. Real HOPE. HOPE that shines into the darkest of places. Jeremy is working at a youth summer camp and I went and joined in worship one evening recently. One of the praise songs has really touched my heart called Raised to Life by Elevation Worship. The bridge says “Sin is strong but Jesus is stronger. Our shame is great but Jesus you’re greater.” I am so thankful Jesus is stronger and greater. It is Jesus who can bring HOPE to the San and break the chains of alcoholism among them. It is the Holy Spirit who will heal their hearts and restore them.