A daily battle for survival

31 July 2019 | Local News

A struggling family of 13 in Kavango West, who survive solely on the pension grant of the head of the house, is pleading for support.

Ewi lyaNooli came across Kambinda Musheshe (70) and his family at Kamalanga village in the Mankupi constituency.

They said their difficult life has been worsened by the current drought situation in the country.

Kamalanga is situated about 100 kilometres west of Rundu.

Musheshe lives with his wife Cecilia Chahungu (56), his daughter Dominga (40) and 10 grandchildren.

The family's homestead consists of three traditional huts and a corrugated structure.

The couple sleep in the corrugated structure, while the rest of the family members have to squeeze into two of the traditional huts.

They all sleep on cloths placed on the ground, as they do not have beds or mattresses.

The family members indicated they have no food stored away. Their last meal was porridge served with a bit of salt and manketti nut oil.

“We don't eat to get satisfied, but just to have some food to chew on,” Musheshe said.

He explained their situation has been worsened by the drought, adding if it had rained they would have not found themselves in the circumstances they are in.

“The drought has really hit us hard. We have no food to eat and now my family has to rely on my pension grant, which does not last a month,” he said.

He indicated that much of his monthly grant is used to buy a 50-kilogram bag of maize, which is not sufficient.

The rest is used to buy things for his grandchildren, who attend school.

Musheshe and his family have been living at Kamalanga for over a year, after moving from Mulemba village, after they were forced to vacate someone else's land.

When asked where the parents of the grandchildren are, he said five of the grandkids are Dominga's, while his other children have moved to various parts of the country in search of better opportunities.

None of his nine children have managed to secure employment, while some are seeking placements at university, and are therefore unable to consistently support him and their children.

“Some of my children are in Windhoek and one is in Angola; they are not working, but they do come from time to time and assist where they can. I know they have not neglected their home; they are simply unable to find jobs,” Musheshe said.

Dominga explained the reason why her five children are not beneficiaries of government social grants is because she recently went to apply for a national identity document (ID), which will assist her to register her children.

She aims to use the grant money to clothe and feed her children.

She said she was married to a farmworker for many years and the importance of an ID was not clear to her at the time. Dominga is yet to collect her ID.

Musheshe's wife suffers from epileptic fits, which started about 10 years ago. He said his wife can experience attacks anytime of the day, which last up to an hour.

During this time, Chahungu does not know what is happening to her.

“She can fall anytime, even as we are speaking to you. She can just fall and start kicking her legs out, which can be the case for about an hour,” Musheshe said.

The attacks happen more often when she is not on medication.

According to her hospital passport, she last received medication on 28 November 2018.





The reason why she did not return to get medication is because she does not have transport money to go to the Rundu state hospital.

Transport to and from Rundu costs her N$140.

Musheshe does also not travel to Rundu when he gets his pension money.

He simply gives his money to someone who is commuting, so they return with the items they need at home. This is to save the transport money.

The family is requesting assistance, in order to survive the drought.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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