Hopeless and no one to turn to

28 August 2019 | Local News

A struggling family of 11 at Ncamagoro village in Kavango West are finding it hard to make ends meet.

They go days without a proper meal, which is part and parcel of their daily life struggles.

Ewi lyaNooli this month came across Maria Musendeka (59), who lives with her daughter Rosalia Itala and her nine children.

They endure a number of challenges, a situation she says they don't know how to overcome.

With none of them employed, the family has to rely on odd jobs they find in the community. They use the little funds they rarely earn mostly to pay their monthly water bill.

Maria, who is originally from Angola, moved to Namibia in the early 1970s and settled at Kapako village, until they moved to Ncamagoro village in the Ncamagoro constituency in 1986.

She has never returned to Angola.

Ncamagoro is situated about 60 kilometres west of Rundu.

At the time of the interview, Rosalia was extracting mangongo tree nuts, which they trade for mahangu.

For a cup of the mangongo nuts, the family is able to secure a cup of mahangu, which guarantees them a meal. The mangongo nuts, once pounded, result in an edible oil, which is mostly used for cooking with meat, while others prepare what they call mudika with it.

With the poor rainfall this past rainy season, the family was unable to harvest anything from their mahangu field. They have also not grown a local vegetable known as mutete, which has worsened their suffering.

“As you can see, I am busy with the mangongo, which I am planning to go and trade for mahangu so that my children can eat,” Rosalia said.

She has eight children. Seven were fathered by her uncle, who left her for another woman.

Rosalia has over the years developed a skin condition, which has affected some of her children as well.

“Both the fathers of my children do not support their children, which left me to try by all means to cater for them by ensuring that they eat,” she said.

Apart from the food shortage, the traditional huts of the family are not well-equipped, as they do not have beds to sleep on.

They also have no mattresses. They sleep on plastic bags, sacks and torn cloths.

The children also do not have enough clothes to wear.

“Our challenges are many, especially those of the children, as they do not have enough clothes and we all sleep on the floor, as we do not have beds or matrasses,” Rosalia said. She also revealed they do not have national identity documents, which means she cannot register her children for monthly child grants. The only documents Rosalia and her mother have are their Catholic baptism cards and election voter cards.

The family are calling on Good Samaritans to assist them with anything that could improve their lives.

“We are suffering and we will appreciate anything that people are willing to assist us with.”

KENYA KAMBOWE