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Hendrick Munembome Elephant Conservation Organisation – MECO

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MECO promotes a better understanding of the complex relationship between humans and wildlife in Namibia, and how we can learn from the animals and the natural world.

Hendrick of MECO specializes in training communities, especially the Himba people, in dealing with desert-adapted elephants and promoting human-wildlife coexistence in rural Namibia. His work focuses on reconciling human-wildlife conflicts and preserving the delicate balance between wildlife and local communities.

As an Indigenous Storyteller, Hendrick uses his knowledge of the Himba culture and their traditional beliefs to help raise awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation.

I Hendrick Munembome, grew under the culture which believes that; to the ELEPHANT you talk to. It is a strong believe that, only special members of the family are entitled to pass these communications like first born person, twins or last born. My culture believes in ELEPHANT observation for many different survival reasons, ELEPHANTS` migration is connected to good or bad rain expectation. When an ELEPHANT eats grass from traditional hut, it’s a belief of drought and hunger ahead. The good thing is that, these events can be shared for preparation tough times amongst community and villagers ahead.

Different cultures and I too believe that when you dream about an ELEPHANT, it is a sign of health and clearing all the bad spirits. In Namibia, most of the traditional cultures namely: Himbas, Zembas, Ovahereros and Khoe-khoegowab just to mention a few, believe that elephants carry messages such as: when an elephant comes around peoples` village and starts rumbling then there will be a death of a famous elderly person or it symbolizes an unusual thing and this is mostly among the Damara people it is also believed is not good to treat with anger as they may take a revenge. Meanwhile for the Himbas, it is believed that elephant(s) can help bring a lost child home unharmed as they are believed to not harm children, it also believed   a pregnant woman sees an elephant`s face, then it is believed that the baby will have an ugly big nose, or anything in the image of an elephant trunk but to avoid that, a woman must throw green leaves towards the elephant. This tribe also believes in sharing the same atmosphere with the elephants as they play a vital role in healing women and children. In contrast, for the San people in a case where a pregnant woman encounters an elephant, both parents of the unborn baby cover their left nostrils with green leaves to avoid the baby from having an ugly big nose.