Lusia Lukas and Johanna Aluteni
OUTAPI - Expectant mothers and jobseekers who are mostly Angolan nationals have turned a portion of land next to the Outapi district hospital into an informal settlement.
The area was initially used as squatters’ space by these non-Namibian expecting mothers who claim to have been refused accommodation into the government shelters for expecting mothers.
But jobseekers who are also Angolan nationals have now joined the expecting mothers at the same area, which is not conducive for the livelihood of people.
It is from this spot that they go around to look for temporary jobs within Outapi and nearby villages and come back to sleep at this ‘new location’.
Some expecting mothers are also doubling their roles as they too seek for jobs in effort to make some money to buy food.
Clemensia Elalius, one of the expecting mothers from Okaluheke village in Angola said that, one of the reasons they are refused accommodation was because Angolan mothers bring along families.
“I am not allowed inside the maternity shelter because I came here with my daughter who is taking care of me. Only one person is allowed inside but I cannot be alone, I can’t do much for myself, I need someone to help me,” said Elalius.
They (Angolan nationals) also tend to stay in the shelter for a prolonged period of time, as they travel to the hospital moths before their pregnancies are due.
“The shelter is not full. But it is only for women that are due in two weeks or with medical conditions,” said Benjamin Uahengo, Chief Administration Officer of Outapi district officer.
Uahengo said at present, the Social Security Commission is busy constructing a new shelter and is expected to be completed next month. The shelter will accommodate 200 people.
When journalists visited the site, the deplorable condition under which the mothers are living is evident.
They sleep in the open where they cook, bath and they are often exposed to harsh weather conditions especially during the rainy and winter seasons. The ‘fortunate’ squatters have set up makeshift tents where they live with their families, including children.
The environment is not conducive for human habitation as there are no toilets or clean water.
Some expecting mothers claim that although they are not accompanied by family members and there are vacant beds at the government facility, they cannot afford to pay the N$20 required for accomodation in the shelter.
The little money they have is spend on food. In fact, with the good rain received in the area, the squatters’ food woes are relieved by the seasonal food such as frogs and traditional/wild spinach, known as Omboga which they collect from the surrounding mahangu fields. There are also more job offers as local communal farmers are always in search for casual farm labourers for cultivation.
2020-01-13 07:11:42 | 2 months ago