Father of three lives under donkey cart

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Keetmanshoop

While a decent house tops the wish list of almost every Namibian, Grade 8 dropout Jan Isaks lives under a donkey cart at Ileni informal settlement at Keetmanshoop.

Isaks, 34, says his life journey is a constant struggle to make ends meet, adding that life has thrown almost everything at him.
He says it has been hard for him to make a living as he struggles to have a steady income and because of this he can’t afford to buy corrugated iron sheets to erect a proper shack at his plot. He thus currently lives under his donkey cart.

The father of three girls also says it’s hard for him to find a good job as he only went as far as Grade 8 and as a result he usually does odd jobs from time to time to make a living.

He narrates that the little he gets is barely enough, because he has to make sure he sends some money to his children first before he takes care of himself.

“I take care of my children first and whatever is left is what I take, that’s why I can’t even afford to buy materials to build a shack,” he stressed, adding that his children’s education is most important.

He says all of his daughters school in Karasburg – they all stay in hostels and are his main priority.
Every month he sends them something from the little money he makes and that, he says, leaves him with little or no money at all to cater for his basic needs.

“I want to build my own shack but the money is not enough … now I need to save and buy the material bit by bit,” he says.
Isaks says in the past he was accommodated by family members but he decided to move to his own plot and be independent and he has since lived under his donkey cart for the last six months, which serves as a both his living and sleeping room.

The cart, which he calls home, is covered with cloth and maize meal bags and inside he keeps his few belongings on a thin mattress, which can barely fit under the cart.

He told this reporter that he does not fear that his belongings will be stolen because the neighbours whom he shares a kitchen with are always around.

He adds that he just makes sure the cart is properly covered when he goes to work.

However, despite the hardships he is optimistic that he will soon be able to build a shack of his own as his current job at a local butchery will see him earn N$1 200 per month and with that he hopes to save and build his shack.

He says that although the salary is not that much, it is steady and far more than the income he used to earn doing odd jobs and thus he will be able to sustain himself and his daughters, while he will also be able to save enough each month to put up a proper shack.

Chatting while sitting on his mattress, the optimistic father says he hopes things will only get better as there is a chance that he will be employed permanently by his current employer and this will mean more income for him.

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