Obviously, you can’t come into a Himba village by chance and without a preparation. I am naturally slow in making contact and I realize they would have liked me to get integrated more quickly. But I did not want to disturb and I also wanted to find my place in the village so as to be natural and open.
I have instinctively used three means. First: looking. Second: smiling. They are very powerful and the mirror effect is guaranteed. Third: my secret weapon, the bike. I create a ritual by following the same route every other day. I also stopped at the same food stands in the street and cycled along the same fields.
Cycling shows my trust towards the others. Not to be protected by the metal body of a car reveals how vulnerable I am and increases opportunities for meeting people. Cycling is less ostentatious and moving silently does not disturb the bush quietness. On the first trip, people hardly notice me. On the second, they have enough time to turn their heads. Little by little, we get acquainted. We greet each other and finally speak to each other. With smiles and friendly looks, links are being created and I can gradually come near the intimacy of their lives, and understand their stories and their dreams.