Okahandja Park residents wallow in poverty



An Okahandja Park woman has not eaten for four days because she has no food at home. On Tuesday morning the unemployed Fransina Lamek, 42, who lives with her 18-month-old daughter showed up at her neighbour’s home requesting her to cook for her as she was starving.

Lamek was among two other women and a man, who are in similar situation, who showed up at the community activist’s home in Okahandja Park informal settlement complaining about lack of food, or looking for something to eat.

“I had a little rice at home from which I cooked a little for my daughter but it has now finished. I took 2.5kg maize meal on credit from nearby shops yesterday and told them I will pay them when I get money,” Lamek narrated yesterday afternoon.

Lamek survived from collecting firewood which she sold in the settlement but can’t do that anymore as her daughter was diagnosed with tuberculosis and needs looking after. Her daughter gets a N$250 social grant monthly but the mother added that it barely covers all her basic needs.

“This is not survival, not at all. When I get that N$250, I buy soap, cooking oil, maize meal and then the money is almost finished. When I get the money I also pay for food that I have taken on credit,” said Lamek.

In a similar predicament is 32-year-old Emilia Mupunga, a breastfeeding mother of eight-month-old twins. She also has three school-going children. “The children go to school on hungry stomachs these days. There is no food at home,” said Mupunga, adding that her partner is also unemployed.

She further said she had gone looking for assistance at the councillor’s office in the constituency but it was unsuccessful.
Forty-two-year-old Ndatelela Kashela said it is difficult without food at home as she has to take medication daily.

Kashela said she won’t be surprised if the police come collect dead people who died as a result of hunger in the settlement.
Community activist Cornelia Hangula said what prompted her to call the reporter is the people who showed up at her house but she had nothing to give them.

“This gentleman said I should cook for him. I was at his house and there is nothing (food). My gas cylinder is finished and I don’t have firewood. I don’t have anything today,” stated Hangula who is employed as a security guard.

She further stated she once reported a case to the councillor who ended up spending money from his pocket.
According to an article that appeared in New Era yesterday, Tobias Hainyeko councilor Christopher Likuwa said hunger is a big challenge in the constituency. “On a daily basis people come and cry at my office, saying they are hungry,” he said.


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