The Christmas wish of one 33-year-old man who has been living on the streets for almost 20 years is for President Hage Geingob to engage and discuss their plight.
“Some of us want to speak to him, if there will be a solution to our problems. We want to speak to him face to face. Something can be organized, like social workers can pick us up from the streets and go to one place and speak to him (Geingob),” pleaded Basilius Hatzkin, who lives under the Wernhill Bridge and keeps busy with odd jobs to earn an income.
He says he fetches water for vendors who sell under the bridge for a small fee.
Hatzkin says the government recently availed N$ 11.3million to struggle kids for training but asks if the president ever think about them or that they also need employment.
“Does he think that I need a job or place to stay? Is he happy that the struggle kids got money? What about us? The president must attend to our needs like he did with the struggle kids. Talk and listen to us like you are doing now,” remarks Hatzkin, originally from Keetmanshoop moving to Windhoek in 1996.
Hatzkin stated they want to tell the president why they are staying in the streets and to find possible solutions. He is a father of four but doesn’t t live with his children in the streets.
He adds that he is heartbroken when he sees children as young as 12 years on the streets with their parents seemingly not bothered. “How will they be in the further if their mother and father don’t care?” Hatzkin is dreaming for things in the country to change so that no one lives in the streets.
He moved to Windhoek because he didn’t want to be with his family anymore explaining that his family only values those who have an income and looks down on others. He was raised by his mother and has never seen his father, which deeply bothers him.
In addition to his Christmas wish, Hatzkin personally wants a job and to earn a salary to support himself and children. He also wants a place to call home and for the government to offer some assistance to the poor.
Asked how last year’s Christmas was, he replies: “It wasn’t so fine.” Further he wants to revisit the coast, a place he once visited on a school tour many years ago while in primary school. He wants to travel and mingle with different people.
“Now I am thinking of going to Swakopmund for holiday, but I don’t have money. Christmas is almost here. I don’t know how I’m going to spend it. I didn’t budget for anything. I don’t have money and it’s money that helps you budget.”
Despite all these, Hatzkin hopes to be alive on Christmas. Another group of seven young men who also live under Wernhil Bridge say they are waiting for good Samaritans to come and get them and spend Christmas with them like they did last year. Gavin Gariseb (28) says the health ministry officials loaded them on the bus last year and took them for a swim, ate and enjoyed the day together.
Gariseb’s mate, Elton Ghaxab (24) adds that they also looked nice, as they were given clothes and N$100 each. “They preached and prayed four us and we appreciate what they did for us. We expect them to do the same this year,” he says, adding that so far no one has visited or made any Christmas arrangements with them.
In unison, the group mostly wants work, food, clothes, blankets and washing powder. Their dream of getting a job will become a reality when those who offer them jobs push them.
“We want any kind of work, as long as we can support our families,” remarks Ghaxab, adding that some of the group members have children.