Face-to-face with poverty

26 June 2019 | Local News

A family of four from Shiwandamo village in the Rundu Rural constituency is living in abject poverty, a situation that has been exacerbated by the ongoing drought.

Ewi lyaNooli recently came across Thadeus Sinonge (48) and his wife Lucia Kampanza. They are both unemployed.

Sinonge had just arrived home after travelling 12 kilometres to a nearby village, where he managed to get a bit of the traditional spinach known as mutete.

“Life is not good for us; we are suffering. As you can see we have nothing to eat here. At least tonight we are going to cook the mutete and eat it with no porridge,” Sinonge said. He said they have been hit hard by the drought situation, just like thousands of other subsistence farmers around the country.

They have not managed to harvest anything from their mahangu fields. “We are now forced to move from one neighbour to another begging for something to eat,” Sinonge said.

“If it was not for the poor rainfall that we experienced this year, we would have harvested mahangu and mutete and we would have had something to survive on.”

Sinonge said they are waiting on the government drought relief programme to assist them.

“We are praying that next year we experience good rainfall,” he said.

Sinonge said they also have no proper bed to sleep on and are enduring the cold winter without enough blankets.

The family sleeps on a wooden bed and use maize meal bags and cloth as a mattress.





“We do not have enough blankets and our bed has no mattress; this has been the situation for years,” he said. Sinonge is a former security guard who worked in Rundu for seven years.

However, due to his meagre salary, which could not cover his expenses, he opted to acquire a piece of land at the village and ventured into farming.

“I was getting a very small salary and lived in Rundu; it was very difficult. Rent is expensive and that is why I decided to come to the village and try to do something here. Unfortunately things did not turn out as expected, but I am trying to look at ways to provide for my family,” he explained.

Sinonge said the nearest borehole is about five kilometres away.

He said he wants to grow a garden, but the lack of access to water is discouraging.

“I want to have my own garden, but imagine travelling all those kilometres daily, and looking at my age, it is not worth it,” he said.

The nearest clinic is at Rundu, which is about 30 kilometres away.

Sinonge said the nearest school is situated at Likwaterera village, which is about 12 kilometres away.

This forces him to escort his six-year-old daughter, Teofili, to school every morning after she wakes up very early.

Sinonge is calling on Good Samaritans to assist him and his family.

“It is not that we want to rely on people's aid, but circumstances have put us in this situation, and therefore we would like to ask those that can help us to do so. We are suffering here,” Sinonge added.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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