“I don’t know what I have done to the Lord to go through all this,” agonised a 47-year-old blind woman who narrated her tale of hardship and living alone in a small and dilapidated shack at Mix Settlement located 20km north of Windhoek.
The corrugated-zinc structure she calls her home is run-down, with visible holes from outside and few belongings.
Julia Shilongo who is blind does not have any national documents but she possesses a voter’s card and baptism certificate.
Without national documents she is unable to get a state disability grant, which has complicated her life of hardship.
“I have tried registering for documents but the officials always demand many documents,” said Shilongo. She said her plight worsened after the death of both her parents who passed on while she was still very young.
She said her older siblings have also passed on though she currently still has two other siblings residing at Omuste gwonime in the north.
Shilongo has an older son who lives in the neighbourhood but he rarely checks on his mother.
She does not recall the exact year she lost her sight but she says it was in the 1990s. She was also unable to tell the condition that caused it but told New Era that one night she went to bed and woke up blind with stiff hands and feet.
Last week during a visit to her place, her neighbour, Sesilia Sheefeni, brought her lunch to eat as it is a struggle for Shilongo to perform domestic chores and cook for herself.
She does not have electricity and if she has to cook she uses an open fire to prepare her meals and relies on community members to fetch water for her.
Shilongo relieves herself in a bucket inside her shack and throws the waste outside as she does not have a toilet that flushes. She also bathes inside her shack.
Her neighbours either make use of a nearby riverbed to relieve themselves or erect makeshift toilets in their yards because there are no communal toilets in the area.
“I live a tough life. I have no income. I do not even have any soap to wash my clothes. When I do not get drought relief, I go for many months barely with any food. Like now it has been many months without having received anything,” Shilongo told this journalist.
It was obvious to tell that Shilongo who spends most of her time lonely suffers psychologically for being alone.
She is low-spirited and only awakes when visitors come to her place after 12h00.
Her neighbour Sesilia Sheefeni said Shilongo really needs assistance and that she needs a proper house, a toilet and more blankets to keep herself warm. The Namibia Federation of the Visually Impaired (NFVI) donated a bed to Shilongo as she used to sleep on an old, rusty bed without a mattress.
The NFVI through a donation from Ombaye fishing company also donated a combo of food comprising maize meal, rice, macaroni, cooking oil and sugar to her.
Windhoek Rural constituency councillor Penina Inga Ita told New Era she will personally visit Shilongo in order to address her plight. “It is inhumane,” Ita said yesterday, adding she was previously not made aware of Shilongo’s living conditions.
Ita said she has assisted people to get identity documents to enable them to benefit from government-sponsored grants.
2020-04-29 10:57:33 | 28 days ago