NKURENKURU - A family of 14 from Mulemba village in Mankumpi constituency was left dazed and in agony after a blaze reduced to ashes their entire harvest on Monday.
The harvest comprised of mahangu, sorghum and beans.
It was all smiles for the Kavango West region family as they gathered the harvested crops ready for threshing.
Their delight was however short-lived as the fire from a heap of dry vegetation and rubbish spread to their makeshift mahangu storage, destroying the entire harvest.
“We were going to thresh, so when we saw that the place was not clean, we prepared it and gathered the rubbish. After that, I instructed my daughter to burn the rubbish. During the process, I was seated and resting on the other side of the storage, all of a sudden, I heard her screaming that the storage had caught alight,” Johannes Muzimbu the head of the family narrated their ordeal to New Era.
An emotional Muzimbu said despite their attempts to put out the fire, with the help of their neighbours and some cattle herders who rushed to help, their efforts were in vain.
“The fire was too strong that we could not extinguish it, we used water and even sand,” said a dejected-looking Muzimbu.
When this reporter visited the family on Tuesday afternoon, the heat could still be felt coming from the smouldering ashes, an indication of how strong the ruinous inferno was. The family that relies on subsistence farming for survival is now hopeless as all that was left for them is a small quantity of beans that was stored far from the gutted storage.
“I feel my entire body trembling with pain seeing that our harvest has been destroyed by fire. I don’t have the power to look at the ruins of our harvest or look at my children, where will I turn to for help to feed my children?” questioned his equally devastated wife Johanna Tjikote.
The family estimated they could easily have harvested close to 80 bags of mahangu and more beans and sorghum as they received good rains in the past rainy season although good rains only started pouring from December which marked the end of the first half of that season.
“This year, God blessed us with a good harvest, we were not going to suffer,” said Muzimbu. They have made an impassioned appeal to government or any Good Samaritans to assist them with food, as they will face untold hardship.
*Stefanus Nambara is an information officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) based at Nkurenkuru in Kavango West.