• July 10th, 2020

Down and out for homeless man

“If I get cold, I wear everything,” said a man who has made a facet crawl tunnel his home at Wanaheda playgrounds.
 The unkempt playground is close to a riverbed and it gets extremely cold specifically at night.  
Michael Gawanab (36) informed New Era he cannot sleep unless he smokes cigarettes or drinks a cheap, home-brew concoction, popularly known as tombo.

New Era visited Gawanab on Sunday evening at the park that has housed him for several months. Gawanab shared the park with his friends but it seems they have relocated during winter. 
Asked how he coped last week on Thursday and Friday when it was extremely cold, Gawanab responded, “I didn’t sleep.” 
He said when it gets extremely, cold he makes fire near the tunnel.
He pleaded, “Help me. You can see how I am struggling. If you help me, I will say thank you”.
Gawanab undertakes odd jobs such as cleaning yards in the neighbourhood, and some people sympathetic to his plight offer him some food.
Asked if he had eaten, he said, “I am hungry as I am talking to you”.

During the interview, he ensured the open end of the tunnel is closed to keep the cold at bay. He takes out three blankets and lays them on his mattress and he closed the other end of the tunnel with a plastic bag and thereafter, he crawled inside to sleep. Gawanab said Samora Machel councillor Fanuel Shivute visited him and nothing came out of that visit.  
Attempt to get a comment from Shivute proved futile, as his phone rang unanswered. 

John Pandeni councillor Rachel Jacob, in which the park falls, said he is unaware of Gawanab’s case.  
“If I knew, I would have called City of Windhoek to pick him up. I am hearing about it for the first time from you,” said Jacob. 
City of Windhoek spokesperson Lydia Amutenya said some of the homeless people found sleeping in the open were removed to temporary shelters accommodating the homeless.
When asked about the abandoned and unkempt park, Amutenya said in terms of keeping the park clean, a contractor was appointed last week to clean the park. 
“We will also keep an eye on these facilities to ensure the park is only used for intended purposes,” she said, adding it is one of the newest parks recently developed by the City of Windhoek in 2019.

Selma Ikela
2020-06-17 10:08:14 | 23 days ago

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