By Michael Liswaniso
EPUPA – President Hifikepunye Pohamba last Friday officially handed over the Ohaihuua village, some 190 kilometres north of Opuwo to mountain-dwelling Ovatue and Ovatjimba communities who have been leading nomadic lifestyles.
The two vulnerable communities have been living a nomadic lifestyle in the high mountains of Epupa under harsh conditions.
They survived on honey, wild fruits and hunting, as a result, the Government intervened to rescue the situation.
The sleepy village that was once bush now boasts a primary school, a clinic and has clean drinking water.
The village has a population of more than 200 people, 62 households and 32 corrugated iron houses built by the Government.
At the official hand over, the President assured the community that the Government would support and uplift the living conditions of the vulnerable community to be on par with other citizens where it concerns services such as education, primary health care and security among others.
“When we first discovered about this … we decided not to send a minister, not even a deputy minister but a third person in our government which is a clear indication of our commitment, …” stressed the President
The President urged the community to work hard. He said with the presence of a community garden should spur the community to produce more food and become self-reliant. He also urged the community to take good care of their livestock.
“The livestock were not given to you to look after for somebody else but given to you to look after for yourselves. I urge you to remain here and build a strong community. Don’t go back to the mountains,” he said.
Each household received a cow and three goats as well as two bulls for the entire community.
“Meat has been brought to you but the livestock are not meat yet, let them multiply and then you will start to harvest them,” urged Pohamba.
He thanked the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Libertina Amathila, for a job well done applauding her as a practical person dating back to the years of exile.
Pohamba noted that he is reliably informed that since the programme started, none of the community members has left the area or raised a complaint about the assistance provided to them so far.
He said he is happy that the community participated in the planning and construction of the houses and thus owning the project.
To date, more than 689 Ovatue and Ovatjimba community members have benefited from the project with the construction of 81 housing units at Otjomora, Otjikoyo and Ohaihuua.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Deputy Prime Minister repeatedly urged the community to take good care of their livestock and keep the environment clean in efforts to kick cholera out.
“When we first came here, there was cholera here but within two days cholera was gone,” said Amathila while emphasising the need for a clean environment.
Senior village headmen, Katerona Tjingee thanked the Government for all its efforts and support to uplift the living standard of his community.
“There is no milk in the mountains, no clean water, no clinic and no school we are happy here…” applauded Tjingee.
Opuwo Mayor, Peter de Villiers, Epupa constituency councillor, Mburura Kasita, Kunene Regional Governor, Dudu Murorua, deputy ministers, Peter Iilonga and Angelika Muharukua graced the occasion. Bullet ya Kaoko, Puvitanda and Onjongo cultural group spiced the occasion with music and dance.
Meanwhile, 18 ventilated improved pit toilets are also under construction within the radius of the Ohaihuua village.
Government has so far spent nearly N$3 million on the project in different communities.