Omunyekedhi-Eighteen-year-old Thomas Wananya has never stepped into a classroom and laments his social and economic standing that deprived him of an opportunity to get a schooling.
He says his misfortune was compounded by the fact that schools are located 20 kilometres away, which deprived him of an opportunity to fulfil his ambition to become an immigration officer. He is a livestock herder “with no fringe benefits”.
Wananya hails from Omunyekedhi village, situated some 76 kilometres deep into the forest on the north-eastern side of Casablanca in Oshikoto Region. The village is totally isolated with little means of communication, apart from FM radio reception. In addition the area has no proper roads and there is only one clinic at Hedimbi, which is 50 kilometres away.
He has resorted to drinking the traditional brews epwaka and katokere in between herding cattle.
“I drink for fun, just for the sake of drinking, that’s it,” he said when asked what prompted his drinking habits.
He could not say at what age he started drinking but one could tell he is an experienced drinker from the manner he sipped the drink as he narrated his life story to New Era.
He says his only source of income is the N$500 he receives for herding the cattle of a local farmer. As the sole breadwinner he uses the money to feed his impoverished family of six.
He appealed to the government to construct a gravel road in the area as this would make it easier to access basic services, as opposed to now when they rely on footing, “as cars only pass by chance”.