Loide Jason Windhoek-A number of unemployed people from Hakahana informal settlement in Katutura survive from selling firewood. They say they refuse to accept a lifestyle of poverty, but endeavour to make ends meet despite having to travel 25 kilometres to fetch the firewood. Foibe Kazali, Linda Mundundu, Penehafo Aipanda, Andew Nghipangelwa and Sackaria Hailaula narrated to New Era on Sunday from their selling site that people should never underestimate a person’s will to live the life they want. Kazali said she started selling firewood in 1996, which she collected from nearby farms in order to support her family. However, now because the city has expanded rapidly Kazali and her colleagues have to walk up to 28 kilometres to collect the firewood. The group of mostly elderly women said it has become unsafe to fetch firewood in the bush and they have thus invited men to escort them and protect them during the process. “Although we are committed to working hard in order to sustain our families, now the field has become very dangerous. Also, we get suspected of stealing animals when we only have a mission to get firewood,” she said. Supporting Kazali was Nghipangelwa, who said there is now growing suspicion of their activities on the farms. “Now our business is ruined by the criminal activities happening around the areas where we collect firewood. If the criminals see us around, they will think we will interrupt their mission. They’d try to get rid of us from the areas,” said Nghipangelwa. Mundundu said criminals are also now targeting their firewood. “We collect our firewood and drop it somewhere close by and go and collect some more. However, when we return we find the wood stolen. That is what makes our firewood business a bit challenging,” said Mundundu. They are now requesting permission from the government to harvest and collect firewood from nearby farms so that their business would not die. “If there is a little we need to pay it will be fine as long as we are protected rather than taking a risk and be implicated in things that we did not do,” suggested Nghipangelwa. They have also urged local farmers who want to assist them to collect their wood within their premises to come forth. They said they are willing to get identification cards that they will be using to enter in their field if permission is granted.
2018-02-26 09:32:42 6 months ago