The impoverished San community at Omushiyi village in Omundaungilo are struggling to secure decent shelter and food to sustain themselves.
Speaking to New Era on Monday they appealed to government to provide them with tents to shield them from the rain and storms.
Headman Sadrah Amupolo said the community struggles to get grass to construct houses and have resorted to using blankets and plastic bags to construct their homes.
“There was not enough rain last year, so there is no grass,” Amupolo explained.He said although rainstorms recently descended on the region his group of villagers escaped unharmed.
“We really need assistance, because the storm was so heavy and with houses made of plastic and blankets we could have been hurt,” said Amupolo.
“Our plea has been long overdue, but we’ve not lost hope in our leaders. We believe that one day they will come to assist us,” he said, as he carved a wooden handle for a hoe. He carves these for a living and sells them for N$15 each.
Apart from shelter the San families also appealed to government to provide them with maize and either fish or meat. One villager, named Sakaria, said while they remain thankful for the maize meal they do need some relish to eat the maize with. “How are we supposed to eat the maize if we do not have livestock or money to buy relish?” Sakaria asked.
Fillemon Shalongo said since the beginning of the year they have been collecting traditional cabbage from some farmers’ fields, but are no longer allowed in the fields because people are busy working in their fields.
“People are now cultivating their fields and we’re no longer allowed in the fields,” he said, explaining that the residents at the village have no mahangu fields and no livestock of their own.
Before they vanished into one of the makeshift homesteads two young girls told this reporter that they could not attend school, because they are too hungry.
Councillor of Omundanungilo Constituency Festus Ikanda said the drought is serious in his constituency and not only at Epundo. He said even those who had stored mahangu grains have used up their entire surplus and are awaiting this year’s harvest, the prospects of which look somewhat bleak at this stage.
Image: Hilaria Shimanda is seen preparing lunch in front of the house she shares with her husband.