Conlee Paul Herrera Fry

  • Conlee Fry

Conlee Paul Herrera Fry is a senior from Hockley, Texas currently studying Animal Science in the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences. Conlee’s success in the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences is attributed in part to his experience gained from the visit he and other students took to Namibia which reinforced his desire to not only be a successful student but a well rounded individual connected to a greater purpose through awareness of self and his origins. He aspires to be veterinarian and here is his story in his own words.

I had the privilege to be a part of a study abroad trip to Namibia this past summer. There was one moment during the study abroad that gave Marcus Garvey’s quote deep significance to me in regards to discovering who I am. We visited a small Himba village during our tour of Namibia, and when we arrived the first thing we noticed were the clothing of the Himba women. They wore only small skirts made of cloth around their waist. Their bodies from head to toe were covered with a red clay like substance. They were beautiful, and strong women.  You could see their curiosity of us just as well as our curiosity of them.  One of the Himba women asked me, and the two other PVAMU students, what tribe we came from.  We looked at each other in unison, all of us I’m sure, feeling the same jolt of bewilderment as the question seeped into our minds.  We answered the women as politely as possible. “We don’t have tribes in America, we are just African American”. Just as surprised as we were by her question she was even more so surprised by our answer.  At this point the translator tried to help us understand their confusion. He said. “We understand that we are all black but you must know what tribe you are from”.  The women told us, “Your history is very important. You must know your history in order to know yourself, you must know what tribe you came from we all have a home.” Immediately I thought of Marcus Garvey’s quote. “A people without knowledge of their past is like a tree without roots”. From that point on I wondered just how deep my roots reach, maybe I’ll find out as I search for a great perhaps.