Meet Puveri Tjikuua
from Namibia, a country in southern Africa.

For those of us who have never been to Namibia, what is it like?

Puveri: Namibia is a dry and quite hot country because we have the oldest desert in the world; the Namib Desert stretches along the whole west coast of the country.  It’s a beautiful country despite the heat and we have sunny days all year round.

What part of Namibia are you from?

Puveri: I am from Windhoek which is the capital city of Namibia.                                                  

How many language(s) do you speak?  And can you write something in your language for us?

Puveri: I speak three languages.  My native language called Otjiherero, then Afrikaans (a local language mostly spoken in Southern Africa), and English. Something cool in my language?  “Puveri omuturunge.”  It translates to “Puveri is an overcomer”.

What foods do you eat in Namibia?

Puveri: Our staple food in Namibia is maize, meal, and meat and all kinds of dried fruits and vegetables.  We also have a lot of indigenous/traditional drinks made form milk products and fermented cereal-based drinks.

In the USA, a lot of doctors do not know about ichthyosis so what has it been like in your country?

Puveri: I am very fortunate that when I was born my parents had medical aid, so the doctors called in one of the few dermatologists and they did a couple of tests.  I don’t think they were as advanced like in the western world.  They just knew I had ichthyosis but not which type I had.

How did you hear about FIRST?

Puveri: I found out about FIRST through Facebook.  I was looking for ichthyosis groups and I came across the FIRST Facebook page and the link to their website.  That was years ago when I joined Facebook.

Why is FIRST important to you?

Puveri: FIRST is important to me because it was my parents’ first help when I was born.  It was one of the first places where I got to see that I am not the only one out there who has ichthyosis and I can live a full, long life and achieve my dreams despite being affected by ichthyosis.

What are some of your hobbies?

Puveri: I love singing.  I sing in choirs.  I do photography and drawing.

What are your biggest dreams?

Puveri: My biggest dreams?  Wow, the FIRST conference changed a lot of my dreams.  I am more inspired, so my biggest dream is to travel more to meet people living with ichthyosis in both Africa and the world.  Just live the best life I can by working hard and achieving more skills to help others affected by ichthyosis and disability.

Tell us what makes you Puveri.

Puveri: I am artistic.  I am open minded and free spirited.  I am affective in ineffective situations.  In other words, I make things work when things are not going well.

Any final words or thoughts?

Puveri: I would like to tell the ichthyosis community that they have changed my life at the FIRST Conference 2018.  How they accommodated us was out of this world.  I have a family out there I did not know I had.  What they do at FIRST is making a huge difference in my life and the lives of many others.  Keep it up, FIRST community!

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