By Irene !Hoaes
Residents of farm Tsumispark, situated 12 km east of the B1 road on the farm road D1222 between Rehoboth and Kalkrand, now have to survive on a piece of bread and porridge given twice a week.
This is thanks to the efforts of the Silo AME Church at the farm.
“If all goes well, I would like to feed these people at least five days a week,” said a retired teacher at the farm, Amalia Lambert who is in charge of the two-day feeding programme.
Currently, money used to buy these foodstuffs has been secured through donations made to the church.
“The money that these old people get through their pension just goes straight to the local shop, because they have to pay their food accounts that they have at the shop, thus the N$300 pension does not really help much,” said Lambert.
On Mondays Lambert serves the people, mostly comprising of pensioners and their grandchildren, with porridge and tea while on Thursdays she serves them with a piece of home-made bread and cooldrink.
About 77 people are registered on this feeding programme.
Most people in this area are unemployed and heavily depend on good Samaritans for survival.
Lambert says, “There were better times for these people, especially when the railway station was open, as some of them were at least employed and could feed their families.”
Tired of languishing in poverty, some people particularly the youth have deserted Tsumispark as they migrate to other towns in search of employment.
“People are really suffering, people are hungry,” said Reverend Willem Simon Hanse, who initiated the programme.
The suffering in this area prompted Hanse to establish a soup kitchen that feeds pensioners, the unemployed and children.
“The story of Tsumispark makes one cry, if you look at the hopelessness of our people. It is, in my mind, identical to the valley of dry bones in which prophet Ezekiel was placed,” Hanse said.
The rising food prices have not made it any easier for the clergyman and his programme.
Hanse says when he started the initiative in March this year, he used to spend N$800 on foodstuffs per month. Today, he spends not less than N$1?